RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour News Update: September 15, 2014

Postal workers and supporters deliver thousands of postcards opposing the cuts to home delivery at Lisa Raitt's Milton riding office. September 12, 2014.
Postal workers and supporters deliver thousands of postcards opposing the cuts to home delivery to Lisa Raitt’s Milton riding office. September 12, 2014.

BC teachers | Baristas Rise Up | Bombardier strike | Federal minimum wage | Federal PS bargaining | Regina pensions | Cameco lockout | Native court workers | Edmonton senior care layoffs | Temporary foreign workers | Ontario mines safety report | Kellogg’s London

Striking BC teachers 99.4 percent for binding arbitration
Tamsyn Burgmann, CTV News
September 11 2014

Jim Iker, president of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, announced Wednesday night that 99.4 per cent of the 30,669 teachers who cast ballots Wednesday voted to end the strike through binding arbitration. The provincial government has twice rejected the process as a way to end the strike, saying a negotiated settlement is the best method even after a mediator declared the two sides remain far apart. Earlier in the day, nine unions banded together and announced $8 million in interest-free loans for financially struggling members of the teachers’ union.

Baristas Rise Up in Toronto
David Bush, RankandFile.ca
September 11, 2014

On August 15 workers at SPoT Coffee in downtown Toronto voted on joining the Service Employees International Union local 2. After reading up about Baristas Rise Up, barista Dave Clark met up with some of his fellow employees to talk about the possibility of unionizing. For Clark, who had been working for SPoT Coffee on and off since 2011, the reason he wanted to unionize was simple: “it was about having a voice, having the ability to be on a level playing field and to sit down with our employer. Rather than just ask for things that will never be delivered, we wanted the ability to negotiate.”

Tom Mulcair proposes $15 minimum wage
CBC News
September 13, 2014

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says he will put the idea of a $15 an hour minimum wage to a vote in Parliament when it resumes next week. The NDP plan would start the minimum wage at $12-an-hour, which would gradually rise to $15 by 2019. This would only apply to federally-regulated industries — which includes modes of transport such as railways and ferries, phone services, broadcasting, banks and mining.

Striking Bombardier workers vote 85 percent to accept new contract
CBC News
September 12, 2014

It will be back to business for Bombardier Transportation and more than 900 striking workers in Thunder Bay. A total of 85 per cent of workers who voted Friday morning cast ballots in favour of the new contract. The Thunder Bay plant builds subway cars and streetcars for the Toronto Transit Commission, as well as cars for the GO train regional commuter train service. Their union says the contract avoided “a long list of concessions” originally demanded by the Montreal-based Bombardier.

Tony Clement wants to cut public service sick days to five
Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen
September 11, 2014

The Conservative government proposes to slash public servants’ paid sick leave to five days a year and introduce an unpaid seven-day waiting period before they qualify for new short-term disability benefits. Under the proposal, the government wants to get rid of the accumulated sick-leave bank, estimated to be worth about $5.2 billion in unused sick-leave credits. It also wants to eliminate the 15 days of paid sick leave public servants now receive under their collective agreements and replace that with five days, or 37.5 hours, a year.

Native court workers’ strike vote signals push for parity
September 12, 2014

Workers at the Native Court Workers and Counselling Association of BC have voted 98 per cent in favour of strike action if necessary to support their demand for parity with other Aboriginal workers in the province, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union announced today.

In 2003, the B.C. Liberal government passed the Community Services Labour Relations Act, which created a sectoral bargaining unit for CSSEA members who provide aboriginal services. But the native court workers were never brought into this agreement, due to a lack of commitment to funding by the government.

Alberta senior care home company lays of 157 support staff
Global News
September 5, 2014

A company that operates five long-term care homes for seniors in Edmonton is laying off nearly 160 support staff. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says Shepherd’s Care Foundation issued layoff notices Thursday to 157 staff and announced it will contract out the jobs. The union says Shepherd’s Care has refused to disclose the name of the contractor taking over the provision of services. It also says laid-off workers are not being offered any opportunity to reapply for their jobs.

Temporary foreign worker dies in freak accident, leaves behind chilling testimony
Brigitte Noël, Emilie Dubreuil, CBC News
September 9, 2014

A video uncovered by Radio-Canada paints a grim picture of the working conditions one temporary foreign worker allegedly experienced on an Ormstown, Que., farm. Mexican worker Ivan Guerrero drowned in May on the farm where he worked. Police ruled his death an accident. Following his death, a local group dedicated to helping migrant workers shared a video they say they recorded with Guerrero last year. On a stark background, the worker speaks directly into the camera, addressing the hardships he says he faces at work.

Honour Our Deal Heats Up in Regina
Andrew Stevens, RankandFile.ca
September 10, 2014

On the evening of September 8, nearly a thousand community members, City of Regina employees and retirees packed Regina’s Conexus Arts Centre to discuss the state of the Regina Civic Employees Superannuation and Benefit Plan. A month ago, workers were stunned as the Saskatchewan Superintendent of Pensions announced that it was considering winding up the plan because of a funding shortfall. The plan represents 4,000 current employees – including teaching assistants, librarians, firefighters, bus drivers, city workers and managers – and over 3,000 retirees. The Plan has been in place since 1958.

Mines safety interm report recommendations frustrates Sudbury union leader
CBC News
September 11, 2014

A union leader in Sudbury say a progress report about mining safety from the Ministry of Labour is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. United Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand agrees the interim mines safety report shows progress, but he wanted the report to lay out plans to better deal with water in underground mines. “After the double fatality at Stobie mine, that was a big issue for us,” Bertrand said. “But I understand that it takes time. Sometimes it takes a little bit more time than we expect.”

Cameco reaches tentative agreement with locked-out workers
The Star-Phoenix
September 12, 2014

Cameco Corp. has reached a tentative agreement with 535 workers locked out of a northern Saskatchewan uranium mine. The uranium giant locked out the workers at its McArthur River and Key Lake facilities Aug. 30 after contract negotiations failed and workers issued a strike notice. It was the first lockout in the company’s history.

Kellogg layoffs draw ire of union supporters
Sean Mayer, London Community News
September 13, 2014

Even though the doors won’t close for a final time until the end of the year, Friday (Sept. 12) marked the last shift for about 300 junior workers at London’s Kellogg plant. Approximately 180 workers remain employed for the time being, but it was still a solemn day that several in the community wouldn’t let pass unnoticed.

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One thought on “RankandFile.ca Weekly Labour News Update: September 15, 2014

  1. Can you publicize the Save Canada Post rally set for Toronto, September 20, 1 pm at Lawrence and Bathurst, in front of the office of Tory Finance Minister Joe Oliver?

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