RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour Update – June 23, 2014

BC Teachers Strike| CUPE 1764 Strike| Boycott IKEA| OSSTF/ETFO solidarity with BCTF| CUPW Halifax Rally| Crown Holdings Strike| $14 Minimum Wage| WSIB Surveillance| Saskatchewan Teachers| TFWP Changes|National Aboriginal Day|


Durham workers on strike
Durham workers on strike

Durham inside workers reject offer, strike continues

Kim Brown,Toronto Star – June 22

Durham Region inside workers will continue to strike after voting to reject the region’s latest amended collective agreement just after 12:15 a.m. Sunday morning. CUPE Local 1764, which represents around 1,600 region employees including child care workers and paramedics, has been on strike since Thursday morning, pending a successful negotiation of a new collective agreement. Pauline Hopley, the president of Local 1764, attended four different meetings scheduled throughout Saturday to collect votes on a revised final offer from Durham region. Union members were encouraged to reject the offer.

Saskatchewan Working People Celebrate National Aboriginal Day
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour – June 20

Since 1996, June 21st has been an occasion for people across Saskatchewan, and across the nation, to
celebrate National Aboriginal Day. Tomorrow’s commemorative events will encourage people to
celebrate First Nations, Métis, and Inuit cultures, to recognize the invaluable contributions that aboriginal peoples make to our way of life, and to renew a commitment to ensuring that aboriginal peoples across the nation achieve true equality.“National Aboriginal Day is an extremely important occasion,” said Tracy Seidel, Chair of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s Aboriginal Committee. “Not only is it an opportunity to celebrate the many contributions that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people have made, and continue to make, to our everyday lives, but also an opportunity to raise awareness of the many obstacles that aboriginal people continue to face. One of the SFL Aboriginal Committee’s greatest concerns, for example, continues to be violence against aboriginal women.”


CUPW rallies against the cuts at Canada Post
CUPW rallies against the cuts at Canada Post

Halifax rally protests move to end home mail delivery
Ian Fairclough,Chronicle Herald – June 19

About 50 postal workers and supporters held a rally Thursday morning outside the main post office on Almon Street in Halifax to protest Canada Post’s plan to eliminate home delivery in areas across the country.The rally came the day after the Crown corporation announced that about 35,000 addresses in Halifax and Dartmouth will be switched to community mailboxes in the next year. Up to 10,000 addresses in Bedford and Sackville are scheduled to be moved to community mailboxes by the end of this year.

Why teachers across Canada are so angry
Wendy Stueck and Caroline Alphonso, Globe and Mail – June 21

On the picket line, Vici Thomson shares his concern, and she agrees that, in many ways, the problem is money – but not in the way that Premier Clark seems to feel. She says teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars every year on everything from books to school supplies and even furniture for their classrooms because they feel they must. “We’ve done too many [contracts] where we accepted something in lieu of addressing classroom issues,” she says. “You can’t keep doing that – I think people are hunkered down and ready to go the distance this time.”

Jason Kenney’s temporary foreign worker changes not enough
Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star – June 20

Employment Minister Jason Kenney is trying to reform the unreformable.The federal government’s temporary foreign workers program, invented by the Liberals and expanded by the Conservatives, was always a bad idea. It still is. It subverts Canada’s long-held approach to immigration by creating two classes of newcomers. And it allows employers to avoid paying higher wages. Kenney’s reforms dance around the edges. But ultimately, they solve neither problem.

IKEA Richmond workers call for Canada-wide boycott
Doug Nesbitt, RankandFile.ca – June 19

Over 140 locked out workers at IKEA Richmond have signed a petition calling on the Canadian Labour Congress, Teamsters Canada (their union), and all trade unionists to start a Canada-wide boycott against the well-known corporation. The workers have been locked out for over 13 months in an effort to stop concessions, including a highly flawed and subjective productivity-based wage system and the weakening of benefits. IKEA is waging this battle despite record profits in 2013. As one of only two unionized IKEA stores in Canada, IKEA Richmond sets the wage and benefits standards across the country. If IKEA Richmond workers lose, all IKEA workers lose.

Teacher strikes make British Columbia better
Michael Stewart, Rabble.ca – June 20

In my adopted home of British Columbia, I can see what would have happened if Ontario didn’t kick Harris’s neoliberal thugs out of office in 2003. Public education has been starved in this province for thirteen years. Perhaps you know the statistics: B.C. invests $1000 less per student than the national average. It has the worst student-educator ratio in Canada. B.C. has 1443 fewer specialized teachers, despite more designated students needing support. According to the BCTF, salaries rank ninth in Canada — while the cost of living in most parts of the province is through the roof. Meanwhile, child poverty, homelessness and food insecurity are becoming trademark afflictions for British Columbia and it is teachers — our teachers — who will be at the front lines helping the children affected.

More Breweries Targeted in Campaign to End Crown Holdings Strike
USW, June 19

Workers forced on strike by can-making giant Crown Holdings are expanding their campaign to end the dispute by picketing more breweries that buy Crown cans. The Toronto workers were forced on strike nine months ago by massive concessionary demands from Crown, a U.S.-based multinational. Rather than negotiate a fair settlement, Crown has recruited replacement workers to try to operate the plant and break the union.The strikers, members of the United Steelworkers (USW), have already been picketing major Crown customers such as Molson Coors, Labatt, Cott, Baxters and Bonduelle.


Activists unfurl 40 foot long petition in favour of raising the minimum wage to 14 dollars
Activists unfurl 40 foot long petition in favour of raising the minimum wage to 14 dollars

Fight for $14 still going strong after Ontario election
Orion Keresztesi, RankandFile.ca – June 20

The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage rallied outside of the Ministry of Labour this past Wednesday at noon. It was an energetic crowd of 75 to a 100 people, a mixture of minimum-wage-earning members of the Workers’ Action Centre and their allies from Toronto anti-poverty organizations and the labour movement. It was the latest in a steady series of monthly rallies and outreach blitzes the campaign has been organizing since March of last year.

Saskatchewan teachers reject second contract offer
CBC – June 16

It’s the second time in less than a year that Saskatchewan’s teachers voted no to a tentative agreement. In October, they voted 73 per cent against a deal that would have seen them receive a pay hike of 5.5 per cent plus a one per cent lump sum payment. In a news release, the STF said its members say the most recent deal “did not contain sufficient resources” and did not properly address such concerns as the school year, school day and workload matters.

Workplace Safety Insurance Board steps up spying on clients, documents show
Patty Winsa, Toronto Star – June 16

This type of surveillance by the WSIB used to be a rarity, typically ordered when the insurance board received a tip from a caller, according to legal experts. But documents obtained by the Star suggest the WSIB is spying on clients claiming to be seriously injured, now more than ever and often without cause. “Now that we are conducting more surveillance related to misrepresentation of level of disability where we don’t have an actual allegation, e.g. call record, there have been lots of questions from compliance specialists around what constitutes sufficient grounds to warrant surveillance,” states a 2011 internal email from Bob Thomas, an employee in the WSIB’s regulatory services division.

ETFO to Contribute $1 Million to Support Striking British Columbia Teachers, while OSSTF donates another $100,000.

OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Executive has approved a donation of $100,000 to the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), who are currently engaged in a full-scale, province-wide strike. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) is contributing $1 million to the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) to support their strike effort. BCTF has been bargaining with its provincial employer association and the BC government since February 2013. BC teachers have been without a salary increase since 2010 while most other provincial public sector employees have received cost of living increases.

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