RankandFile.ca Labour News Update: October 20, 2014

Alberta Healthcare workers protest | EI reform fiasco | Sex work | Home daycare strike | Saskatoon transit lockout ends | Mount Polley disaster | Conflict at OFL  | Pensions study | Fight for Canada Post | US Steel tentative agreement | Woodgreen strike | Newfoundland union pensions | Bill 3 protest leader suspended | IKEA lockout| 

Busses to resume Monday as city withdraws lockout notice
CTV Saskatoon
October 18, 2014

Busses will be up and running in Saskatoon starting Monday. City council voted in a special meeting Saturday to withdraw a lockout notice to the transit union. “The Labour Relations Board ruling has created a large degree of uncertainty,” Mayor Don Atchison told reporters Saturday night. “It is because of our concern for our employees, transit riders and the citizens of Saskatoon that we have decided to end the lockout. We do not want to put them in the middle of a long drawn-out legal dispute.” Full bus services will resume Monday with the city offering free transit until Oct. 31. Union president Jim Yakubowski told CTV in a phone interview bus drivers were on board to get back to work.

canada-post-protestCanada Post sorting centre stormed by home mail delivery supporters
CBC News
October 17, 2014

About 50 protesters angry with Canada Post’s decision to end door-to-door mail delivery in urban areas stormed a mail sorting centre just outside Montreal Friday morning. The protesters, members of the Industrial Workers of the World union, entered the non-commercial building at 7 a.m., but were promptly escorted out. The union does not represent mail carriers, but organized the protest to show solidarity with the workers. They continued the protest outside the Repentigny sorting centre.

Ronald Martin, firefighters’ union head, suspended over Bill 3 protest
CBC News
October 14, 2014

Ronald Martin, the head of the union representing Montreal firefighters, has been suspended for his role in the violent Aug. 18 protest at Montreal City Hall. “It’s deplorable,” a visibly angry Martin told reporters after he was notified of the sanctions. He said nothing would stop him from acting as the president of the Montreal firefighters’ union, despite the six-month suspension without pay ordered Tuesday by the city.

U.S. Steel’s Hamilton contract extended to 2017
Greg Keenan, Globe and Mail
October 15, 2015

Wages, benefits, pensions and working conditions will not change for the next 30 months at the U.S. Steel Canada Inc. operations in Hamilton, Ont. under a tentative contract deal reached between the company and its unionized workers. The stand-pat agreement was reached earlier this week before the three-year contract expired and just weeks after the company was granted protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

WoodGreen workers walk off the job
Zach Ruiter, NOW Magazine
October 17, 2014

Some 500 social service workers for WoodGreen, a social services agency walked off the job October 9. Their union, Workers United Local 154, represents personal support workers (PSWs), early childhood educators, cleaners, English as a second language (ESL) teachers, social workers, and refugee resettlement workers operating out of 32 locations. Key issues are staff wages and benefits for part-time staff. Workers have been offered a 1.25 per cent wage increase that barely offsets the cost of living. And $15 extra vision care for employees with benefits. WoodGreen PSWs earn $16.38 an hour. Pay for other jobs at WoodGreen vary from $12 to $39 an hour.

The Fight for Canada Post is Escalating
Dave Bush and Doug Nesbitt, RankandFile.ca
October 17, 2014

This would give strength to the many local campaigns underway across the country. Grassroots efforts by CUPW locals working alongside other labour activists, seniors, home dwellers and disability rights activists, have been sustaining and building public opposition. With over 70 municipalities lined up against the loss of home delivery and job losses. The fight against the cuts at Canada Post is far from over.

Mediation between IKEA and teamsters set to resume tomorrow
Paula Baker, Global News
October 19, 2014

Veteran mediator Vince Ready is set to resume negotiations between IKEA and the Teamsters Union tomorrow in an effort to reach a collective agreement between the two parties. Ready agreed to resume the mediation process after a number of pre-conditions were met, according to an IKEA press release. Both parties have agreed to provide Ready with binding recommendation powers if negotiations breakdown during the mediation process.

Steelworkers push for work safety resolution
Monica Lamb-Yorski, Williams Lake Tribune
October 15, 2014

The local United Steelworkers union local wants the city to adopt a resolution demanding the federal government enforce the Westray Amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code. On May 9, 1992, 26 miners died underground in a “preventable and tragic” mining accident in Nova Scotia, said Bob Macnair during a presentation to Williams Lake city council. It took 12 years, but in March 2004, the Steelworkers lobbied and brought in Bill C-35, which received a unanimous vote by all parties in the House of Commons. An endorsement, which Macnair said by today’s standards is considered unusual. The union has put its pedal to the metal and made similar presentations to communities across Canada.

On EI Conservatives and Liberals on the same page
Lana Payne, The Telegram
October 18, 2014

As much as the federal Conservatives detest Liberals, they have no problem stealing their bad habits. Bad habits like across-the-board corporate tax cuts and then more across-the-board corporate tax cuts that benefit the richest corporations in Canada, like banks and oil companies. Tax cuts that emptied federal coffers and produced dubious results. Bad habits like: using/abusing EI funds to pay for election goodies that have nothing to do with helping the unemployed or strengthening the labour market.

Seniors, disabled join union’s legal challenge over Canada Post’s end of home delivery
Globe and Mail
October 16, 2014

Seniors’ groups and organizations for people with disabilities are joining the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in a planned legal challenge to preserve home mail delivery. Canada Post wants to phase out home delivery in an effort to cope with a revenue squeeze from falling mail volumes. The postal workers union said the Federal Court challenge, which has not yet been filed, will argue that doing away with home delivery is a decision for Parliament, not Canada Post.

Bill C-36: No safety or security for sex workers
Cheryl Auger, Rabble.ca
October 17, 2014

The Protection of Communities and Exploited persons act, Bill C-36, passed in the House of Commons last week. The vote was 156-124. The bill follows a Supreme Court decision in December, which ruled that several provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws were unconstitutional.
Bill C-36 is based on a belief that sex workers are universally victimized, yet many of its provisions will contribute to sex workers’ rights violations.

How the NL government and its unions solved their pension problem
Hans Rollman, Rabble.ca
October 16, 2014

In a country characterized by increasingly confrontational labour relations, an unlikely story of cooperation and negotiation emerges. Are there lessons for the rest of the country?
It took two years of wrangling — and over a decade to get to the wrangling stage — but on September 2, 2014, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced that it had reached an agreement on pension reform with five of its employees’ labour unions.

OFL conflict: what’s at stake?
Pam Frache, Socialist.ca
October 16, 2014

Conflict has re-emerged within the leadership of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL). At a time when we need a united labour movement to build solidarity with workers who are fighting back on picket lines, to oppose provincial and national austerity, and to defend against anti-union legislation, some sections of the trade union bureaucracy have re-ignited another internecine battle among labour leaders that threatens to internalize and demoralize rank-and-file trade unionists.

Quebec Home daycare strikes set for Monday
Montreal Gazette
October 17, 2014

The leader of the province’s largest union representing home daycare workers denounced the provincial government on Friday for cancelling a session of negotiations just two days before Monday’s province-wide strike. “The behaviour of Family Minister (Francine Charbonneau) at the negotiating table is completely out of sync with her words in front of the media,” Kathleen Courville, president of the Fédération des intervenantes en petite enfance du Québec (FIPEQ-CSQ), said in a statement. “She has said that she wants to negotiate, that discussions must take place at the table, but she refuses to meet us under the pretext of our rotating strikes.”

img_2009Healthcare workers protest stalled negotiations at Health Minister Stephen Mandel’s campaign office
Leah Holoiday, Metro
October 15, 2014

More than 100 front-line healthcare workers marched in front of Health Minister Stephen Mandel’s campaign office Wednesday, shouting for the former Edmonton mayor to intervene in contract negotiations. After talks between the province and the Health Sciences Association of Alberta were stalled last week, HSAA president Elisabeth Ballermann said it’s time for the new minister to give Alberta Health Services a straightforward directive. “We’re here to tell Stephen Mandel, who is our health minister who is not elected, Alberta Health Services needs to get a mandate from government to negotiate with 17,000 of our members who are waiting for a contract,” she told media Wednesday.

In Wake of Mount Polley, Union Wants New BC Safety Regime
David P. Ball, The Tyee
October 14, 2014

It took a spate of deaths in Nanaimo’s coal mines to create a ministry devoted to regulating the industry in 1877. Since that era, the provincial department’s authority over mine health and safety has endured — and subsequent worker protection laws explicitly excluded mines to this day. But after the near slaughter of workers by the Mount Polley mine tailings dam disaster this summer, the union representing many miners in B.C. is warning about worker safety in the industry.

Union activity in Great Britain escalates in demand for fair pay
Natasha Turner, New Internationalist
October 16, 2014

Unions have co-ordinated strike action across Britain this week in a call for fair pay and protection of services. Monday morning saw workers from the National Health Service (NHS) out on the picket lines. On Tuesday, despite the London Underground workers’ strike being cancelled and an injunction being taken out against a planned Further Education (FE) walk-out, some action took place in London. On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people took part in PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) strikes. Action this week will culminate with ‘Britain Needs a Pay Rise’, a demonstration in London and Glasgow on Saturday.

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