RankandFile.ca’s weekly labour news update – August 18, 2014

University of Windsor faculty strike vote | Bombardier Strike | Quebec public sector workers’ pension fight | Cameco workers vote to strike | Kellogg’s plant closure | Ontario Teachers | Temporary Foreign Workers Program | Regina workers pension fight | Canada Post |


Striking Unifor 1075 members occupy Metrolinx GO transit office in Toronto. Photo from Unifor 1075
Striking Unifor 1075 members occupy Metrolinx GO transit office in Toronto. Photo from Unifor 1075

Striking Bombardier workers briefly occupy Metrolinx office
Brian Platt, Toronto Star
August 14, 2014

One month after they went on strike, workers from the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay occupied a Metrolinx office in downtown Toronto on Thursday, demanding a meeting with company executives. A Metrolinx spokesperson met with the workers and promised to bring their concerns to upper management. The workers say Metrolinx should be concerned about the safety of transit vehicles from the Bombardier plant, given the vehicles are currently being built by management.

Faculty Votes 81.4% in Favour of Strike
Travis Fauteux, The Lance
August 14, 2014

University of Windsor faculty has voted 81.4 per cent in favour of a strike, with fall classes set to begin in just three weeks. Last month, Windsor University Faculty Association (WUFA) members agreed to hold the strike vote after administration imposed new terms and conditions on faculty. Talks between both parties began to fall apart and this strike vote came about in hopes that a strong message will spark a new round of negotiations. WUFA president Anne Forrest said the vote does not guarantee a strike, but is intended to increase the association’s bargaining power and bring both parties back to the table before classes start in September.

Want your mail delivered? You’ll need a doctor’s note
Mike Palecek, Rabble.ca
August 15, 2014

There is another ridiculous twist in the continuing saga of Canada Post’s plan to cut home mail delivery, close post offices and attack its workforce. The roller coaster ride this crown corporation has taken us on has had some bizarre turns since last December when they announced their five-point plan. From rows of mailboxes being installed in Fort McMurray and pulled out when pictures turn up online, to the CEO’s comments about seniors appreciating the exercise of having to walk to their mailbox, Canada Post management is demonstrating not only that this is a terrible plan, but it is a plan that is being implemented by terribly incompetent people.

Bombardier strikers take their struggle to the streets of Toronto
Gerard Di Trolio, RankandFile.ca
August 14, 2014

Striking workers at Bombardier’s assembly plant in Thunder Bay have taken their struggle to the streets of Toronto to make sure people across Ontario understand their situation. A number of information pickets will be set up in the coming days at several subway and GO Transit stations as well as Bombardier’s aerospace facility in Toronto. The union is trying to tie the issue that investing in public transit in Ontario should lead to good paying jobs in the province. ”Good transit should lead to good jobs,” says the piece of literature being handed out by members of Unifor Local 1075. Local 1075 has been out on strike since July 14, and has only had two hours of discussions with Bombardier. Unifor Local 1075 President, Dominic Paqualino, described the single two hour meeting as being Bombardier simply asking if the union was ready to accept concessions.

Documents show feds allowed companies to underpay temporary foreign workers
CTV News
August 15, 2014

The federal government gave companies across Canada approval to hire temporary foreign workers for less than market wage in 2013, the Alberta Federation of Labour says. The union said Friday it has obtained internal government documents that show Ottawa sanctioned companies to underpay temporary foreign workers last year, despite rules requiring employers to pay foreign workers the prevailing market wage for their region and skill set. According to the documents, 3,700 foreign workers were paid less than what a Canadian would earn, with more than 2,100 positions in Alberta alone. According to the documents, temporary foreign workers were brought in to fill positions in at least a dozen different sectors, including trucking, health care, and automotive mechanics.

Ontario high school teachers prepared to ‘fight back’ against austerity
Louise Brown, Toronto Star
August 14, 2014

The head of Ontario’s high school teachers’ union said he wants to win “real improvements” through upcoming contract talks with school boards and Queen’s Park, but stopped short of specific demands on wages or working conditions. In a speech Thursday to 400 local leaders, President Paul Elliott of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) warned “We are going to stand together and fight back against an austerity agenda because enough is enough” — yet stressed he hopes to avoid the labour turmoil that disrupted schools two years ago. “We want to move towards a fair deal; we’re not looking for disruption,” said Elliott, who said he believes the new, more formal central bargaining process being used for the first time this fall will be more fair than the last round of negotiations, in which the province imposed a wage freeze and limited union rights.

b821471832z-1_20131210191412_000_ga514prqb-7_contentKellogg’s to close right before Christmas
August 14, 2014

The end dates for workers at London’s Kellogg’s plant are now firmly set, with 300 workers finishing Sept. 12 and the final 180 closing the plant Dec. 23. Glancing at her workplace of nearly 23 years, Georgina Cook now knows she will leave here — for the last time — just two days before Christmas. “It’s an emotional roller coaster. You have good days, you have bad days, some days it’s not like it’s real, other days it’s very real!” She is just one of about 500 workers to be impacted when production stops on Kellogg Lane. Roughly 300 junior employees will leave Sept. 12, the remainder in December.

Regina Civic Pension Plan talks break down, says union
August 13, 2014

The dispute over Regina’s Civic Pension Plan appears no closer to being resolved. Kirby Benning, chair of the Pension and Benefits Committee, said the City has walked away from negotiations. “Instead of working with plan members to finalize a proposal on dispute resolution, the City has decided to go its own way and turn its back on the work we have done together in the past,” Benning said in a news release. “It has made it clear that it does not want to negotiate a timely dispute resolution mechanism or jointly promote the signed deal we have.”

Montreal’s white collar workers threaten Bill 3 strike
CBC News
August 14, 2014

The union representing Montreal’s white collar workers says it’s prepared to mount a general strike against Quebec’s proposed pension reform legislation, Bill 3. The threat is the latest step in the union’s campaign against the controversial bill. Among other provisions, Bill 3 would see municipal workers pay a greater share of their pensions. Montreal’s white collar workers are responsible for processing everything from building permits to municipal taxes and a strike could affect those services. To date, union members have been expressing their opposition to the proposed legislation by wearing pyjama bottoms or jogging pants to work on Mondays. Starting next week, they’ll do so every day.

Saskatchewan Cameco workers vote to strike
CBC News
August 12, 2014

Cameco workers at two Saskatchewan uranium facilities have voted for strike action. According to the United Steelworkers Local 8914, workers at McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill recently voted 92 per cent in favour. The union represents 540 employees at the two facilities. The number of workers who voted wasn’t immediately available. Cameco, one of the world’s largest producers of uranium, is based in Saskatoon. Both sides are still in bargaining until Aug. 28. If there’s no progress by that date, the membership will take strike action, the union says.

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