RankandFile.ca Labour News Update: October 6, 2014

Workers marching in Halifax against Bill 1
Workers marching in Halifax against Bill 1

Nova Scotia’s Bill 1 | US Steel | Montreal firefighters | Saskatoon transit lockout | EI Reform | Migrant farm workers | Lac-Mégantic & rail safety | Edmonton senior care workers | Mount Pearl lockout | Guelph glass strike | UWindsor tentative agreement | Hong Kong strikes for democracy

Nova Scotia’s Bill 1

Nova Scotia Liberals vs. Workers Round 2: The Battle over Bill 1
Shay Enxuga, RankandFile.ca
October 3, 2014

Bill 1 passes, solidarity restored
Robert Devet, Halifax Media Co-op
October 3, 2014

VIDEO: NSGEU Labour lawyer Ray Larkin breaks down Bill 1

VIDEO: NSGEU Vice-President targeted by racist police attack at Bill 1 protest

Glavine skips debate, won’t meet with unions on his own merger bill
Michael Gorman, Chronicle-Herald
September 30, 2014

10385474_851756598202253_1837615128350521771_nSteelworkers and Ontario government to fight US Steel’s funding plan
Greg Keenan and Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail
October 3, 2014

The United States Steel Corp. plan to provide financing for its Canadian unit in creditor protection is running into strong opposition from the Ontario government, the United Steelworkers union and other participants in the restructuring talks.

Montreal City Hall fires firefighters for City Hall pensions protest
October 2, 2014

The City of Montreal has fired six firefighters for their role in a protest at city hall in August. Hundreds of municipal workers stormed city hall on Aug. 18, trashing council chambers and interrupting a meeting to protest Bill 3 — the province’s proposed pension reform legislation. In addition to the six firefighters who will lose their jobs, Desrochers says another 57 city employees are facing suspensions ranging from one week to six months.

The Politics of Saskatoon’s Transit Lockout
Andrew Stevens, RankandFile.ca
September 30, 2014

On September 29, RankandFile.ca spoke with Jim Yakubowski, President of Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 615, about the ongoing lockout of city transit workers in Saskatoon. ATU Local 615 represents 330 drivers, mechanics, and support staff who operate and maintain the city’s bus fleet. It has been nearly two weeks since the City of Saskatoon locked out transit workers in an effort to force concessions on the defined benefit pension plan.

‘Medical repatriation’ puts injured migrant farm workers out of sight, out of mind
Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star
October 4, 2014

Between 2001 and 2011, 787 migrant farm workers were terminated and sent back to their country of origin for medical reasons. More than 41 per cent of those workers were sent back because of medical or surgical conditions, including cancer, neurological conditions, back problems and gastrointestinal problems such as stomach pain, hernias and appendicitis. While one-quarter of these workers were fired because of injuries such as tobacco poisoning or broken limbs, three female workers lost their jobs after they became pregnant. Only 1 in 50 of the injured or sick workers left at their own will.

CP Rail CEO Hunter Harrison attacks new regulations after Lac-Mégantic
Eric Atkins, Globe and Mail
October 3, 2014

Regulators have “overreacted” to the fatal derailment in Lac-Mégantic by imposing needless regulations on the rail industry, says Hunter Harrison, chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. In the interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Harrison said train speed has nothing to do with safety, and that he would never compromise safety in the interest of profits.

EI Reform: Robin Hood for the Rich
Doug Nesbitt, RankandFile.ca
October 2, 2014

On September 11, Minister of Finance Joe Oliver announced a cut to small business Employment Insurance premiums. The 15% cut would affect businesses under 25 employees, or paying under $15,000/year in EI premiums. After the premium cut expires in 2017, the Tories plan an across-the-board cut to EI premiums for both employers and employees. Who actually benefits from these changes? Workers? The unemployed? Or employers and the rich?

The Last Shift: Edmonton senior care workers’ jobs contracted out; union busted
Edmonton Journal
October 3, 2014

Support workers at five Edmonton Shepherd’s Care seniors centres worked their last shift Friday after the organization began contracting out their jobs to an outside company. Almost 160 staff unionized with the Alberta Union of Publice Employees, who held positions in housekeeping, cooking and maintenance received layoff notices in early September. Shepherd’s Care confirmed at the time the staff would be replaced by workers from a third-party contractor to save money.

Tentative agreement reached between University of Windsor faculty and employer
Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star
October 2, 2014

A tentative collective agreement was reached between the University of Windsor and the Windsor University Faculty Association late Thursday night, both sides reported after midnight, October 2.

Mount Pearl locks out CUPE municipal workers
September 30, 2014

The spectre of a labour disruption has been hanging over Mount Pearl for several weeks. On Sept. 18, nearly 90 per cent of the 140 workers that CUPE represents voted in favour of a strike mandate. Bob Martin, president of CUPE Local 2099, which represents the city’s inside and outside workers, said Tuesday morning that the lockout came as a shock to workers.

Guelph workers strike at NGF glass plant
Vik Kirsch, Guelph Mercury
September 30, 2014

More than two dozen unionized glass products manufacturing workers went on strike early Tuesday at NGF Canada on York Road, a former Owens Corning plant near Guelph’s downtown. The Japanese-owned firm was asking for concessions the 26 members of Workers United Local 2641 were unwilling to make, president Susan Taylor said from the picket line, where colleagues carried signs reading “no contract, no peace” and “educate, agitate, organize.”

Thousands strike to support Hong Kong democracy protests
Michelle Chen, The Nation
October 1, 2014

According to the latest Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions figures, some 10,000 workers across all sectors have downed tools. As unions representing industrial, service and professional workforces rallied alongside the youth and condemned police suppression of the demonstrators, Hong Kong labor echoed the former colony’s long legacy of worker militancy. In a call for mass strikes, the HKTCU declared, “Workers must stand up against the unjust government and violent suppression…. To defend democracy and justice, we cannot let the students fight the suppression alone.”

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