RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour Update – July 7 2014

Climate Activists Mourn Victims of Lac-Mégantic Tragedy
Jon Queally, Commondreams
July 6, 2014

Groups: ‘Lac-Megantic’s struggle is a grim reminder to us all: Big oil will stop at nothing to extract, transport, and burn every drop of oil in the ground.’lac-megantic

On the one year anniversary of the oil train derailment and explosion that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, residents of the community and family members of the victims commemorated the horrific tragedy with a solemn ‘silent march’ in the early hours on Sunday.

A ceremony was held at a local church before hundreds of people walked through the town’s center and crossed the tracks where the deadly train, carrying heavy bitumen crude and left unattended outside of town, lost the rail in the early hours of July 6, 2013 and exploded near local shops and a bar where many were gathered.

Mass picket to defend Canada’s postal service!
When, September 20, 2014, 1 PM
511 Lawrence Ave W Toronto

Join a Mass Picket to Defend Canada’s Postal Service! Demand that Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver (MP for Eglinton-Lawrence) and the Stephen Harper government cancel the plan of Canada Post to eliminate door-to-door delivery of mail and increase the price of postage.

Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC) Submission to Federal Consultation on Target-Benefit Plans

Union Syndicate.
June 23, 2014

The Congress of Union Retirees of Canada [CURC] is the recognized voice for retired trade unionists in Canada. CURC acts as an advocacy organization to ensure that the concerns of retirees and senior citizens are heard and addressed. Specifically, CURC’s purpose is to petition legislators for the introduction and support of legislative measures to improve the health and welfare of all retired persons; and to fight for the rights of retired persons to have an equitable standard of living. Since its foundation in 1993, CURC has advocated for private and public sector pension reform as one of its highest priorities.

Public Works fined $300,000 in fatal heating plant explosion
Chris Cobb, Ottawa Citizen
July 2, 2013

Public Works and Government Services Canada was fined $300,000 Wednesday for numerous safety violations discovered after a fatal 2009 heating plant explosion on the shore of the Ottawa River

The federal department was also ordered to pay a total of $45,000 in victim surcharges.

Jobs Gone Bad: Reality TV Workers Organize
Jenny Brown, Labor Notes
July 2, 2014

Tricky bosses, faked timecards, excruciating hours, dangerous scrapes… It sounds like fodder for a reality TV show, perhaps “America’s Next Worst Job.”

But workers say these are the conditions in reality TV itself, known more formally as the nonfiction television industry.

“We are told to be loyal, that this is normal,” said Lauren Veloski of the long unpaid hours she worked for several production companies. “You should anticipate that your workday will be 12 hours long,” one employer informed her.

Ottawa won’t appeal landmark child-care ruling
Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star
June 27, 2014

Ottawa is ending its fight to overturn a groundbreaking human rights ruling that says Canadian employers must try to accommodate parents struggling to meet child-care needs.

Canada Border Services Agency notified former Toronto airport customs officer Fiona Johnstone Thursday that it is not seeking leave to appeal her case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

It means Johnstone’s 10-year battle with the agency for a work schedule that allows her to make child-care arrangements is over and her case is now the law of the land.

We are Oshawa: Bringing back social movement unionism
Tiffany Balducci, RankandFile.ca
July 4, 2014

In the birthplace of the modern Canadian labour movement, We Are Oshawa is reconnecting with its namesake’s deep social unionist roots. We Are Oshawa is a grassroots, membership-based organization that seeks to make progressive issues a priority in Oshawa. The group was conceived by a tapestry of labour and social movement activists from diverse backgrounds.

Canada’s Third Way
Gerard Di Trolio, Jacobin
July 3, 2014

Thomas Mulcair finally did it.

After years of speculation from left-wing activists and even the mainstream Canadian media, the leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) was quoted comparing the party’s approach to that of Tony Blair and New Labour.

This hardly comes as a shock to those of us who watched the NDP change its constitution’s preamble at its 2013 convention, with the required two-thirds majority voting for the alteration. The previous preamble from the mid-1980s, which called the NDP a democratic socialist party and called for social ownership of the economy, was replaced with a more conservative declarationthat rejected social ownership and relegated democratic socialism to merely a “tradition.”

Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front

Naveena Sadasivan, Nation of Change
July 3, 2014

For the last eight years, Pennsylvania has been riding the natural gas boom, with companies drilling and fracking thousands of wells across the state. And in a little corner of Washington County, some 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, EQT Corporation has been busy – drilling close to a dozen new wells on one site.

Viewpoint: How New York Transit Workers Broke the State Pattern
Steve Downs, Labor Notes
June 25, 2014

Officers and staff of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 were holding a contract strategy session when we got the news.

It was July 2011, and the big AFSCME local (CSEA) that represents blue-collar and clerical workers at the state of New York had just agreed to a five-year contract. They would get no raises for three years, followed by 2 percent in the fourth and fifth years; big increases in costs for medical coverage, over $5,000 annually for most; and unpaid furlough days, among other givebacks.

Supreme Court Rules Against Union Fees For Some Home Care Workers
Krishnadev Calamur, NPR
June 30, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that some public employees cannot be required to contribute to unions.

In a 5-4 ruling split along ideological lines, the court recognized a category of “partial public employees” who cannot be required to contribute union bargaining fees. The court said the current practice, which permits automatic deductions, violates the First Amendment rights of those nonmembers who disagree with the union’s positions.

The Politics and Economics of Inequality

The Aspen Institute
June 30, 2014

Why Harris and Hobby Lobby Spell Disaster for Working Women
Sarah Jaffe, In These Times
June 30, 2014

Retail sales and home healthcare work are two of the three fastest-growing jobs in this country. That’s an important consideration when looking at the decisions the Supreme Court handed down today in Harris v. Quinn andBurwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services v. Hobby Lobby Stores: If you are not affected by these rulings yet, you well could be in the future.

Both 5 – 4 decisions were written by Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative Catholic from New Jersey appointed by George W. Bush, and both rested on narrowly tailored legal arguments that just happen to cut wide enough to impact groups of workers who are almost exclusively female. Harris creates the special designation of “partial public employees” for publicly-funded home healthcare aides who work both for the client and for the state—who are 90 percent female, most of them poor, immigrants, and of color. Hobby Lobby, meanwhile, in deciding whether an employer with religious beliefs can be required to provide health insurance that covers contraception, singles out women by targeting its arguments towards workers who use birth control—but not any other form of healthcare.

These 23 Charts Prove That Stocks Are Heading For A Devastating Crash
Jesse Colombo, Forbes
July 1, 2014

Following the bull market pattern of the past five years, the U.S. stock market continues to climb to new highs while shaking off all reasons for pessimism as well as the warnings of skeptics. Stock market bulls are becoming increasingly brazen as they drive the market to nosebleed heights, which is convincing a greater number of people into believing in the economic recovery. Unfortunately, the public is being fooled because the U.S. stock market and economy is experiencing another classic central bank-driven bubble that will end in a calamity, erasing trillions of dollars of wealth.

As you will see from the charts in this article, there is so much proof that the bull market is actually a dangerous speculative bubble that it is simply undeniable. Despite what the cold, hard facts show, legions of pundits, economists, and investors are coming out of the woodwork to deny the existence of what is one of the most obvious bubbles in history. This widespread denial is what happens when emotions trump logic and reasoning.

Teamsters working to improve public safety in the armored car industry
July 4, 2014

Two Teamsters representatives met with the advisors of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney at the end of June to discuss how to improve the safety of workers in the armored car industry.

This meeting took place shortly after a shooting on June 19, 2014, that left one Garda armored car guard injured.

“Although the Toronto shooting is an emotionally charged issue, we chose to discuss the matter rather than cause a public uproar or make unreasonable demands,” said Jim Chalmers, director of the Armored car division of Teamsters Canada. “We have a place at the table and we plan to use it to bring about concrete action.”

Air Canada and Transport Canada prevent CUPE from attending crucial evacuation tests for passenger safety

Air Canada and Transport Canada collaborated in preventing a CUPE health and safety representative from attending crucial passenger evacuation tests held recently. Air Canada is seeking an exemption to operate with a ratio of one flight attendant for every 50 passenger seats instead of the current regulatory ratio of one flight attendants for every 40 passengers.



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