RankandFile.ca Labour News Update: September 22, 2014

Workers at Richardson Milling north of Saskatoon were locked out on September 9. They are represented by UFCW Local 1400.
Workers at Richardson Milling north of Saskatoon were locked out on September 9. They are represented by UFCW Local 1400.

BC teachers | Bill C-377 | Montreal pensions protest | Saskatoon transit lockout | Alberta pension bills | Nova Scotia’s Bill 37 | US Steel bankruptcy | Richmond IKEA lockout | Cornwall wildcat strike | Winnipeg municipal workers | Calgary parks privatization

BC Teachers’ strike

BC Teachers’ Strike – Lessons Learned
Tara Ehrcke, Staffroom Confidential
September 20, 2014

Three Lessons From the BC Teachers’ Strike
Tom Kertes, The Tyee
September 19, 2014

BC Teachers Tentative Agreement – Yes or No?
Tara Ehrcke, RankandFile.ca
September 17, 2014

Tories revive anti-union Bill C-377 that sparked Senate rebellion
Joan Bryden, Globe and Mail
September 21, 2014

Conservative senators are making a bid to cut short debate on private members’ business just as the Senate is about to revive debate on a controversial bill that would force unions to publicly disclose details of their spending. In June 2013, the Senate sent C-377, sponsored by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, back to the House of Commons with amendments that effectively eviscerated the bill, which critics have called unconstitutional, undemocratic and an invasion of privacy. The timing has sparked suspicions that the Harper government wants to whisk bill C-377 through the Senate, avoiding the scrutiny that prompted senators, including 16 Conservatives, to gut the bill the first time it came before the upper house.

Montreal pension protest draws 50,000 into the streets
CBC News
September 21, 2014

Thousands of unionized municipal employees took to the streets of Montreal on Saturday in the largest protest yet against the Quebec government’s proposed pension reform legislation, Bill 3. The mass march attracted an estimated 50,000 demonstrators from around Quebec and closed Sherbrooke Street to traffic as the protest made its way toward the offices of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

Alberta government prorogued, spelling end to pension bills
CBC News
September 18, 2014

Alberta’s legislature was prorogued Thursday morning — a move that has killed two controversial pension bills the province says will not be reconsidered. Prorogation means that the two pension bills — Bill 9 and Bill 10 — will die on the order paper. The government says it will not reintroduce those bills in the next sitting. The bills, which would make significant changes to private and public pensions, was met heavy resistance from labour groups.

City of Saskatoon locks out transit workers
Jason Warick, The Star-Phoenix
September 21, 2014

After two days of last-ditch negotiations, the City of Saskatoon has locked out its transit workers – leading to a shutdown of buses around the city. The lockout of the Amalgamated Transit Union 615 went into effect Saturday just before 9 p.m. After 11 months of unsuccessful labour negotiations, the city served a lockout notice to the transit union Thursday afternoon. The main point of contention between the city and transit union is changes to the defined benefits pension plan.

Nova Scotia unions launch legal challenge against anti-strike Bill 37
CBC News
September 16, 2014

The four unions that represent health workers in Nova Scotia and the province’s labour federation have banded together to launch a legal challenge against a Nova Scotia law that outlaws an all-out strike by health workers. Premier Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government passed Bill 37 — known as the Essential Health and Community Services Act — in April as a way to end a strike by 2,400 registered nurses in the Capital District Health Authority.

Steelworker union: US Steel filing is ‘bankruptcy fraud’
Jeff Green, CBC News
September 18, 2014

Steelworker union Local 1005 says the recent court filings by U.S. Steel is “bankruptcy fraud” and a path to abandoning Hamilton altogether—not only ditching the liability of its pensioners, but the cleanup costs of leaving the city, too. Union head Rolf Gerstenberger made the statement at Local 1005’s headquarters at Barton and Kenilworth, questioning the company’s motives, repeatedly recalling a $58-million settlement U.S. Steel was has agreed to pay for price-fixing case in July for actions dating back a decade, and calling the process of bankruptcy protection theft.

Wildcat strike in Cornwall: Morbern workers cite health and safety concerns
Cornwall Seaway News
September 19 2014

Dozens of Morbern employees abruptly walked off the job Thursday, demanding changes within the vinyl plant when it comes to worker safety. As many as 200 members of United Steel Workers Union local 9343 parked their cars along Boundary Road and are refusing to enter the plant until their demands are met. The union members are miffed because one of their own has been suspended by the company for improperly ensuring a dock plate was removed from a tractor-trailer at the loading dock, said USW president Tom Mullin.

Vince Ready to mediate in IKEA’s 16-month lockout of Richmond workers
Gordon Hoekstra, The Province
September 21, 2014

Picket lines went up in May of 2013 after the workers rejected company offers, and after the company had issued a limited lockout. All issues remain on the table, including wages, benefits, permanent staffing positions, action taken against workers during the strike and the status of more than 30 workers who crossed the picket line. Of the 300 striking workers, seven have been fired by the company for alleged infractions, including blocking traffic.

Winnipeg’s municipal health & safety initiative backfires
Aldo Santin, Winnipeg Free Press
September 20, 2014

A City of Winnipeg initiative to reduce the number of hours lost from injuries has backfired, with more workers injured for greater periods of time, at skyrocketing costs. The audit found while city hall put a workplace-safety plan in place, it has no minimum safety standards. In addition to lacking minimum safety standards, the report found the city lacks performance data to determine if departments are complying with provincial safety regulations.

Calgary looks at contracting out park services to save $3 million
Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald
September 16, 2014

Calgary Parks and councillors are setting tables for conflict with its outdoor workers union, after embracing a major review that says the city could save $3 million by offering maintenance contracts to private firms and finding other efficiencies. Those forays into third-party contracts also drew public protest campaigns from Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 37, the parks staff union. Charlton supports the review’s findings, and would likely let unions compete for any job contracts it offers to private landscapers.

UAW strike in Indiana auto parts plant defeats two-tier contract
David Barkholz, Automotive News
September 16, 2014

The union struck on September 13 at a Lear Corp. plant in Hammond, Ind., that makes seats for Ford Motor Co.’s Chicago Assembly Plant. By September 15, the 760 Lear workers of UAW Local 2335 were back on the job. In hand was a tentative contract that met their primary demand: an end to a two-tier wage system that pays new hires less than veteran workers for the same jobs. A ratification vote is set for this Sunday. There are two things worth noting in this matter. Two-tier wages will be under attack when the UAW begins contract negotiations with the Detroit 3 next year. And second, the union is more likely to go nuclear with a strike than at any time since 2007.

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