RankandFile.ca Labour News Update: October 13, 2014

Rail safety | EI reform fiasco | Bill C-377 | NGF Guelph strike | Saskatoon transit lockout | Live-in caregiver program | Good Jobs Summit | Pensions study | ETFO anti-racism | Canada-Korea Free Trade | Ontario health and safety | Dalhousie post-docs

Rail Safety

New Teamsters TV Commercial on rail safety

Train cars that burned in Saskatchewan same as Lac-Mégantic
October 9, 2014

Rail companies fight new rules to prevent crew fatigue
John Nicol and Dave Seglins, CBC
October 7, 2014

Freight train drivers report falling asleep on the job
John Nicol and Dave Seglins, CBC
October 7, 2014

Brucex11 RGB_13EI reforms cost 9000 jobs; EI surplus being used to pad budget by $4.5 billion
Les Whittington, Toronto Star
October 9, 2014

The federal government’s handling of employment insurance will reduce job creation by 9,000 jobs over the next two years and force Canadians to pay $4.5 billion more in EI premiums than needed, the parliamentary budget officer says. The study also takes aim at Oliver’s recent decision to reduce EI premiums for small businesses, which will cost Ottawa $550 million over two years. The PBO estimates this move will add only 800 net new jobs in the economy between now and 2016, which means the jobs are being created at an average cost of $550,000 per person year.

Public Lecture on Bill C-377: Working in the Shadows for Transparency
Andrew Stevens and Sean Tucker, RankandFile.ca
October 10, 2014

On Oct. 8, University of Regina faculty members Sean Tucker and Andrew Stevens delivered a public lecture about the development of Bill C-377. If implemented, the legislation would require trade unions to publicly disclose detailed financial information about their activities as well as information about the proportion of time union leaders engage in political and lobbying activities.

290266NGF scabs sent packing in Guelph
Scotty Hertz, RankandFile.ca
October 10, 2014

A fierce demonstration of worker solidarity was evident on the picket line at Guelph’s NGF Glass in the early hours of October 9th. Workers from a wide range of industries, sectors and unions braved the coldest morning of the fall so far to support the 28 striking members of Workers United Local 2641 (an SEIU affiliate), who hit the sidewalk on September 30th.

MORE: For coverage of the second day of turning back scabs, check out Ella Bedard’s report at Rabble.ca

Foreign nannies fear losing their pathway to permanent status
Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star
October 9, 2014

Anticipating drastic changes to the federal government’s live-in caregiver program, advocates are demanding that Ottawa begin granting permanent status to foreign nannies as soon as they arrive. Advocates said people attending closed-door consultations hosted by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander over the summer were offered a carrot in lieu of automatic permanent residency: making the live-in requirement optional and allowing nannies to work part-time so as to be able to attend classes and upgrade their skills.

10689984_871730352837797_467052624581666896_nUniversity of Saskatchewan faculty give locked out bus drivers $10k
CTV Saskatoon
October 8, 2014

Locked out Saskatoon bus drivers received a morale boost of sorts this week. The University of Saskatchewan’s faculty association presented the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615, which represents the city’s transit workers, with a $10,000 cheque. The cheque was the association’s way of returning support the faculty received from city bus drivers during a faculty strike.

Good Jobs or Bad Strategy? A report back from the Good Jobs Summit
Alex Hunsberger, RankandFile.ca
October 9, 2014

From Oct. 3 to 5, approximately 1000 participants gathered at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto to engage in a discussion about what is happening in the job market – what are good jobs, why are they disappearing, and how can labour and its allies turn the tide?

Defined contribution pensions plans more costly, study says
Janet McFarland, Globe and Mail
October 8, 2014

Converting large public sector pension plans into defined contribution savings accounts for employees could cost governments up to 77 per cent more to provide the same retirement benefit for workers, a report argues. Governments considering converting their traditional defined benefit (DB) pension plans would face higher administration costs because defined contribution (DC) plans cannot be run as efficiently.

ETFO responds to right-wing attack against anti-racism workshop
October 9, 2014

Ontario’s largest teachers’ union is defending its decision to hold a workshop on “white privilege” at an upcoming convention, saying it has never been afraid to tackle controversial issues. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, which has 76,000 members, has a posting on its website looking for presenters for a workshop called “Re-thinking White Privilege.”

Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement is a bad deal for workers
Gerard Di Trolio, RankandFile.ca
October 7, 2014

The NDP, to its credit, has opposed FTAs with Colombia and Honduras over human rights concerns. But this concern with the well-documented human rights violations in these countries obscures how globalization, through FTAs, works to undermine labour standards even in advanced economies.

The Ontario government must do more to protect co-op students
Josh Mandryk, Toronto Star
October 6, 2014

Two weeks ago 17-year-old Adam Keunen was killed in an accident while on a high-school co-op placement. Adam’s death marks the third death of a student engaged in work-integrated learning in the last 10 months in Ontario. In Ontario, students engaged in unpaid work-integrated learning programs are not covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act or the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act students receive protections only in certain circumstances.

Dalhousie post-doctoral fellows join PSAC
Frances Willick, Chronicle-Herald
October 9, 2014

About 150 employees voted to join the union, a PSAC spokesperson said on Thursday. Post-doctoral workers are those who have finished their PhD and are working contract positions in research or teaching. Unlike tenured professors, who often make more than $100,000 a year, post-doctoral workers usually make between $25,000 and $45,000 a year. Their benefits are often substantially lesser than those of tenured or non-tenured professors, and they often don’t get paid for overtime.


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