RankandFile.ca’s weekly labour news update – August 4, 2014

Regina city pension plans | Solidarity with Palestinians | Foreign workers | Pension plans and CPP | Union busting, 1980s style | CUPE in Detroit | Feminists in Canadian history … or, feminist erased from Canadian history | BC teachers strike | Bombardier strike

Regina council silent on pension plan
Natascia Lypny, Leader-Post
July 29, 2014

Monday’s city council meeting overflowed with retirees and working Reginans aiming to put pressure on the City of Regina to come to a deal regarding their precarious civic pension plan.

After three hours of wading through other agenda items, though, they left disappointed. Chair of the Civic Pensions and Benefits Committee Kirby Benning’s brief presentation to council regarding the filing of the Regina Civic Employees’ Superannuation and Benefit Plan 2013 Annual Report passed without questions or discussion by council members.

Pensions 101: From workplace plans to CPP
RankandFile.ca
July 30, 2014

The Bombardier strike in Thunder Bay by 900 Unifor members has been sparked by yet another attempt by a profitable corporation to rollback the pensions of workers, specifically future hires. In the interest of providing readers a thorough understanding of the various types of pensions, RankandFile.ca`s Doug Nesbitt conducted this extended interview with Kevin Skerrett, pensions researcher for the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

The new world of retirement: Security for the rich, risk for everyone else Linda McQuaig, iPolitics.ca
July 30, 2014

Quaint as it now seems, not long ago this was considered a good basic plan: Work hard all your life and then retire with a comfortable pension.

In recent times, a new plan has replaced it: Work hard all your life and then all bets are off.

Federal public service under attack
Peter Votsch, Socialist Worker
August 1, 2014

As they approach the end of their current collective agreements, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) faces a federal government bent on attacking those who provide public services, and bent on rolling back the gains of the past.

PSAC, which includes 17 component unions, all of which work for federal government agencies, will begin bargaining new collective agreements in early 2015, as their current agreements run out at the end of the year.

Foreign Workers and labour organizing in Quebec 
RankandFile.ca
July 31, 2014

The constellation of Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs and the role of advocacy organizations like the Immigrant Workers Centre – An interview with Enrique “Kike” Illanes

Model program – Or mistake?
RankandFile.ca
July 29, 2014

Reflections on the development of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) – An interview with Karl Flecker

A Year After the Deadly Bangladesh Factory Disaster, How Much Has Changed?
Josh Eidelson, The Guardian

One year after a deadly factory disaster cost Bangladesh certain U.S. trade privileges, its government and business leaders are pushing to get them back. But the officials’ behavior prompts questions about how much has really changed in Bangladesh.

CUPE takes part in water convoy to Detroit
CUPE news release
July, 2014

One-thousand litres of public water were greeted with cheers in Detroit, where over 120,000 citizens are locked in a water and human rights crisis.

Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, joined Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and other activists in a convoy from Windsor to Detroit to deliver the water, as a show of support and solidarity with people in Detroit who have had their water cut-off.

Voters4Gaza

The three major political parties in Canada are currently competing with one another over who supports Israel more. This must change. We vote for Gaza.

Canada’s journalists cowed into silence while colleagues die in Gaza
Andrew Mitrovica, iPolitics
July 31, 2014

Like most teenagers, journalists believe they are invincible.

This is, of course, a dangerous delusion. To date, perhaps as many as nine journalists have been killed while telling the world the ugly truth about what is happening to the children, women and men enduring the daily, relentless shelling in Gaza.

Feminist disappears from public history under Harper government
Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press
July 27 2014

The Harper government has spent millions to commemorate the War of 1812 and other episodes from Canadian history, but has also erased at least one inspiring piece of the past.feminists_history

Therese Casgrain, a feminist icon and Quebec heroine who died in 1981, has been quietly removed from a national honour, to be replaced by a volunteer award bearing the prime minister’s banner.

McMASTER McMaster Professors inspired response to University’s ultimatum to its lowest-wage workers 
August 1, 2014

Open letter to Patrick Deane, President, McMaster University

Dr. Deane,

The undersigned members of the McMaster University community write you today to express deep concern and strong disagreement with the ultimatum that McMaster University has delivered to its lowest-wage workers in recent union negotiations. To force some of the most vulnerable members of our community to choose between a living wage and retaining their jobs is an unacceptable tactic. The university should commit to paying all of its full-time workers a living wage immediately. There is no excuse for requiring a full-time worker to live in poverty, and as a university community dedicated to the fulfilment of human potential, McMaster University should be leading the way on this issue.

The Strike That Busted Unions
Joseph A. McCartin, New York Times
August 2, 2011

THIRTY years ago today, when he threatened to fire nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers unless they called off an illegal strike, Ronald Reagan not only transformed his presidency, but also shaped the world of the modern workplace.

B.C. teachers’ strike: parents to get $40 a day if strike continues
CBC
July 31, 2014

The B.C. government is offering the parents of each public school student under the age of 13 years $40 a day if the provincial teachers’ strike is not over by the start of classes in September. Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced Thursday the cash will be paid using savings made from not having to pay teachers during the strike. The program will cost the government about $12 million a day, which is about the same amount of money it costs to run the school system, said de Jong.

U.S. Steel ‘getting set up to do something’
Steve Arnold, Hamilton Spectator
July 30, 2014

U.S. Steel’s president says the struggling company’s Canadian plants are “challenged” money losers that have to be reshaped. Mario Longhi told industry analysts Wednesday the former Stelco operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke are squarely in the sights of the company’s cost-cutting plan, but “no decisions have been made” yet about restructuring. Longhi spoke to analysts in a conference call to explain the company’s $18-million second-quarter loss — a sharp improvement from the $60-million loss stock watchers had predicted, and the $78-million loss for the same period last year.

Bombardier Thunder Bay picket line injunction bid delayed
CBC
July 31, 2014

A Superior Court judge in Thunder Bay has delayed a decision on a request from Bombardier Transportation for an injunction to enforce picketing guidelines. The company went to court Thursday to argue that striking workers are not following a picket line protocol agreed to by the union and ordered by another judge last week.

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