R&F.ca Labour News Update – November 17, 2014

Thousands march in Montreal to protest Radio-Canada job cuts1117 city manifCBC
Nov. 17, 2014
Toronto Star

MONTREAL—Supporters of CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada have a message for the federal government: no more cuts. Thousands marched through downtown Montreal on Sunday as part of a series of protests across Quebec as well as in Moncton, N.B.

Nicolas Bedard, who organized the Montreal event, said Quebecers value Radio-Canada and want to ensure it gets adequate funding. He said the public broadcaster is vital for a healthy democracy.

Radio-Canada employees, union members, and local politicians were among those who took part in the Montreal demonstration.
CBC/Radio-Canada announced in June it would slash 1,000 to 1,500 jobs over the next five years.


Orangeville mental health workers protest as potential for regionwide strike looms

Workers of the Canadian Mental Health Association's Waterloo Wellington Dufferin branch picket near the association's Orangeville office on Nov. 15.
Workers of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Waterloo Wellington Dufferin branch picket near the association’s Orangeville office on Nov. 15.

Workers hold information rally outside Orangeville branch on Saturday Nov. 15
Chris Haliday
Nov. 15, 2014

The largest community mental health and addictions agency in Ontario is preparing for a potential strike.

Information rallies were held at four offices of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CHMA) Waterloo Wellington Dufferin (WWD) branch on Saturday (Nov. 15), including the one on Brenda Boulevard in Orangeville, where employees protested in a sign of solidarity to management.

Represented by OPSEU Local 291, nearly 300 mental health workers, about 15 to 18 of which work in Orangeville, have been bargaining a new contract for more than a year.

CAWLS (Canadian Work and Labour Studies) Call for Proposals

Nov. 14, 2014

Call for Proposals 2015 Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies annual conference
“Whose Ideas?: Capital, Labour and the Battle for the Workplace”
University of Ottawa June 4-5, 2015
As part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Download the call for proposals here.

The conference organizing committee invites submissions for participation in the 2nd annual conference of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies. The committee welcomes proposals for single papers, multiple paper panels, roundtables and/or workshops. The participation of researchers in union and community settings is encouraged. The Congress theme, “Capital Ideas,” challenges our intellectual community to think about the relationship between labour and capital today and the role played by ideas and ideologies in contemporary class struggles. Some of the questions that will be tackled during the conference include: • What are the ideas of capital about work and labour, and how are they affecting work? • How are capital’s ideas internalized by workers and their organizations? • How do workers challenge the ideas of capital and generate alternative ideas about work, labour, and social and economic life?

Striking Workers Seek Equal Pay at Court

The Prince George Citizen
Nov. 14, 2014

Native court workers based at the Prince George courthouse staged a one-day strike Thursday in support of a quest to have their pay increased to a level they say is equal to others doing similar work.

The starting salary for the position is only $31,800 a year, compared to $45,100 for a comparable classification, according to the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union which represents 22 native court workers provincewide. Their job is to help aboriginal clients navigate the criminal court system.

Running for Secretary-Treasurer of the BCFed – Interview with Aaron Ekman

Nov. 13, 2014

Melissa Moroz, a union activist in Unifor local 467, interviewed Aaron Ekman, the northern regional coordinator with the BC Government and Service Employees Union, about his candidacy for Secretary-Treasurer of the British Columbia Federation of Labour. The BCFed’s convention will take place in Vancouver from November 24 to 28.

Walmart Workers Stage first-ever sit-in strikewalmart2

Nov. 13, 2014

Workers at a Los Angeles Walmart began the first sit-down strike in the company’s history at around 2 p.m. on Thursday. The strike is to protest their low wages and a culture of retaliation at the company. The protestors have been chanting “Stand Up, Live Better! Sit Down, Live Better!” and covering their mouths with tape to symbolize efforts to silence protestors, according to a press release from OurWalmart. Community members are also planning to join the protest later in the evening.

The protestors are asking to be paid a living wage of $15 an hour and to be given consistent, full-time hours. “I’m sitting down on strike today to protest Walmart’s illegal fear tactics and to send a message to management and the Waltons that they can’t continue to silence us and dismiss the growing calls for $15 an hour and full-time work that workers are raising across the country,” Kiana Howard, one of the strikers, said in the press release. Workers have also been raising concerns about understaffing.

Running for President of the BCFed- Interview with Irene Lanzinger

Nov. 12, 2014
Crystal Warner, National Vice-President, BC/YT, of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union, interviewed Irene Lanzinger, the Secretary-Treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour, about her candidacy for President of the BCFed. The BCFed’s conventionwill take place in Vancouver from November 24 to 28.

BC teachers win pregnancy leave case at Supreme Court of Canada

BC Teachers’ Federation
Nov. 12, 2014
In a welcome move, the Supreme Court of Canada sided with the BC Teachers’ Federation today in its efforts to defend pregnancy leave rights immediately after oral arguments were made. The Supreme Court of Canada issued its unanimous decision from the bench, agreeing with the union that denying parental benefits to birth mothers, because they received pregnancy benefits, was discriminatory.

“This victory at the Supreme Court of Canada is not just for teachers,” said BC Teachers’ Federation President Jim Iker. “This is a victory for all working women who are pregnant or may become pregnant in the future. The Supreme Court of Canada said employers cannot discriminate against pregnant women and that benefit plans for new parents must be consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On behalf of all BC teachers I want to thank our in-house BCTF lawyers, Robyn Trask and Diane MacDonald, for their excellent work on behalf of our members.”

PS jobs disappearing faster than expected, report says

Kathryn May
Ottawa Citizen
Nov. 11

Canada’s Conservative government has wiped nearly 37,000 people off the federal payroll and reduced key services for Canada’s veterans and the unemployed and budgets for food safety in the “rush” to pay for its promised tax cuts, according to a new report.

The report, by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, concludes that the Conservatives are able to realize their promised surplus and tax breaks at the expense of front-line services, corroded by steady spending cuts that will continue for another two years — even after the books have been balanced.

Conservatives make big spending cuts to transport safety while touting safety

The Record
Bruce Cheadle
Nov. 10, 2014

OTTAWA — The Harper government has made dramatic cuts in spending on aviation, marine and rail transport safety over the past five years, even as it was touting new safety measures in the transportation sector.

The latest figures from the federal government’s public accounts show actual spending by Transport Canada on marine safety has plunged 27 per cent since 2009-10, while aviation and rail safety spending are both down 20 per cent or more.

Budget cuts to marine and rail safety have come over a particularly sensitive period, during which oil-by-rail shipments increased exponentially and the government spent millions promoting the safe transport of oil by tankers on Canada’s coasts in order to bolster pipeline approvals.

Last month, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced that 10 additional rail safety auditors would be hired across Canada in response to last year’s horrific oil train crash in Lac Megantic, Que., which claimed 47 lives.

Raitt says Transport Canada has plenty of budget room to handle the new hires without additional funding.

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