R&F.CA LABOUR NEWS UPDATE – NOVEMBER 24, 2014

Kinder Morgan protests | Regina civic pension plan settlement | Sask employers fined for violations | Wildcat lockout costs Saskatoon | Frontier Centre supports child labour | Austerity or solidarity in Quebec | Division in Ontario’s labour movement | CBC protests | Health and safety in B.C. | NAV Canada settlement

Massive crowd on Burnaby Mountain, as Kinder Morgan injunction takes effect

Vancouver Observer, November 17, 2014

What started as a trickle of oil-pipeline protesters two months ago has spilled into a massive anti-Kinder-Morgan movement on Burnaby Mountain, if Monday night’s crowd is any indication.

More than 800 people showed up at 4pm – the exact time a B.C.-Supreme-Court-ordered-Kinder-Morgan injunction took effect.

It is now illegal for protesters to interfere with the company’s controversial pipeline survey work for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.  The RCMP were everywhere, but neither they nor the court order seemed to stop the crowds from expressing their anger at the project.  Youth, seniors, native, non-native all showed up in force.

For Quebec’s unions it’s either solidarity or austerity

RankandFile.ca, November 19, 2014

When the Liberals were elected in Québec last April, most progressives knew that it marked the start of a difficult four years.

The Liberals had only been out of power for 18 months. In 2012, they were tossed from office by an electorate that was fed up with corruption and austerity measures, most clearly demonstrated by the massive protests that marked the late winter and spring of 2013. The PQ had wavered while in office, triggering an election over the divisive Values Charter in a bid to win a majority. It was clear during the election campaign that the Liberals stood a good chance of re-taking power.

Why libraries — and library users — need librarians and other library workers to be union members

Rabble.ca, November 14, 2014

Doug Ford? Doug Ford? Who is Doug Ford again? 

I think he’s Rob Ford’s brother?

OK. Who is Rob Ford?

Didn’t I say back in the summer of 2011 that Margaret Atwood — and, by contrast, we all know who Atwood is — was the best thing that ever happened to Doug Ford?

Ford, in case you’ve forgotten already, was the former Toronto city councillor and sometime candidate for mayor of that city, elder brother of the frequently stupefied and nationally embarrassing mayor of the same last name.

PSAC members ratifiy three-year contract with NAV Canada, total wage hike of 6%

Winnipeg Free Press, November 19, 2014

OTTAWA – The private company that provides air traffic control and other civil navigation services in Canada says members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada have ratified a new three-year collective agreement with the company.

The 265 members of the union range from clerical, customer service and general labour and trade workers to engineering and scientific support service employees.

The agreement, retroactive to Jan 1, 2014, runs until December 31, 2016 and provides wage increases totalling six per cent over the life of the contract.

Unions, First Nations seek ‘whistleblower’ protection during Mount Polley dam collapse probes

Vancouver Sun, November 19, 2014

Unions representing government inspectors and engineers and Mount Polley mine workers, supported by First Nations, called on the B.C. government Wednesday to provide “whistleblower” protection to workers who provide information to an expert panel appointed by the government.

The three-member expert engineering panel recently made an unusual call for public submission on the cause of Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley gold and copper mine tailings dam collapse.

The collapse on Aug. 4 at the mine in the Central Interior released millions of cubic metres of water and tailings containing potentially toxic metals. The spill, among the largest in the world in the past 50 years, sparked widespread concerns about the long-term effects on the Quesnel Lake watershed and has put intense scrutiny on tailings dam safety in British Columbia.

Thousands demand end to hospital cuts

St. Catherines Standard, November 21, 2014

Roger Montpetit is normally a relatively quiet 11-year-old — but Friday afternoon, on the steps of Queen’s Park in Toronto, he felt like a celebrity.

Thousands of people, most of whom he did not know, shouted his name in unison: “Roger! Roger! Roger!”Despite nervous jitters, the Grade 7 student at Welland’s Plymouth Public School stepped up to the podium joining medical professionals, labour leaders, and political representatives speaking at a rally organized by the Ontario Health Coalition to demand that the provincial government preserve hospital services across the province.

Changes loom for mail service in Aurora, Newmarket

Aurora Banner, November 20, 2014

Door-to-door mail delivery is coming to and end in some parts of Aurora and Newmarket.Affected residents have been receiving letters from Canada Post during the last few days, notifying them that their mail delivery will be changed to community boxes beginning next fall.About 9,454 home addresses in Newmarket and 4,769 home addresses in Aurora will be affected as part a Canada Post plan announced last December.

Koch Brothers Are The Largest Land Owners Of Canada’s Tar Sands

Think Progress, March 20, 2014

The Koch Brothers are known for many things — their vast financial empire, their conservative political ideology, their active political involvement, their support of the Keystone XL pipeline — but their Alberta, Canada land ownership has not been as widely discussed. A Washington Post feature has brought this subject back to attention as the Keystone XL debate heats up and discussion over the relationship between the Koch Brothers and their Republican allies takes on even greater significance in an important election year.According to the Washington Post, which uses a report from the activist group the International Forum on Globalization as a foundation, a Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres in the northern Alberta oil sands, an area nearly the size of Delaware. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy.

Divided Ontario labour in need of a revolt

RankandFile.ca, November 21, 2014

At a time when the right is escalating its attacks on workers’ rights across the country, labour leaders seem to be a lot more interested in parochial turf wars than the deteriorating conditions of the working class.There is no place where this turf war is more pronounced than at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), Canada’s largest labour federation. Let’s be clear, this war is not over financial misconduct or bad management at the OFL but about politicking and the drive to protect the status quo within our movement.

Families of sawmill blast victims denied publicly-funded lawyer for inquest

Globe and Mail, November 18, 2014

The families of four men killed in sawmill blasts in northern B.C. say they cannot fully participate in a coroner’s inquest after the provincial government rejected an appeal to allow them legal representation.Although the request is unusual – the province says there is no precedent for a publicly funded lawyer for individuals in a coroner’s inquest – the inquiry is also atypical.

Multiple protests across Canada against cuts to CBC/Radio-Canada

Canada Media Guild, November 17, 2014

CBC protests

CBC/Radio-Canada supporters gathered in Montreal, Matane, Sept-Îles, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Rimouski, Gaspé and Moncton in New Brunswick to protest against deep cuts and job losses at the Crown corporation.

Alberta’s Bill 3 will amend Personal Information Protection Act

Labour Reporter, November 19, 2014

Alberta opened its fall legislature this week, and with it, introduced a slew of legislation including Bill 3, which would change how unions use personal information of private sector employees.Otherwise known as the Personal Information Protection Amendment Act, Bill 3 was brought to the table in the throne speech delivered on Nov. 17, which outlined Premier Jim Prentice’s agenda.The proposal would amend the province’s current Personal Information Protection Act which establishes rules for the collection, use, disclosure and protection of personal information of organizations and includes protections for personal private sector employee information and regulation of non-commercial activities.

Heinrichs: Young workers hampered by labour laws

Regina Leader Post, November 19, 2014

Labour laws are meant to protect workers from exploitation and to ensure their safety, but closer examination shows that when it comes to teenagers, the laws are not always doing people a favour.Age restrictions for workers vary from province to province. In 2008, Dairy Queen restaurants in Saskatchewan got into trouble for having 15-year-old staff members, and teenagers expressed dismay at being forced out of their jobs for being younger than age 16. Fortunately, the provincial government modified the law so that 14-and 15-year-olds can now work after completing a worker readiness certificate course.

Unifor Local 101R applies for conciliation at CP Rail

Press release, November 18, 2014
On November 13th and 14th, the union met with the corporation in Winnipeg to review and discuss the grievances originating in the Prairie Region. While we have had limited success in reducing the significant grievance load, there remains a large number of grievances outstanding, not only in the Prairie Region but across the system.We will continue to be consistent in our demand that the corporation treat our shop floor representatives and members fairly and with respect. We will be persistent in our challenge of the corporation’s continuing desire to mete out unwarranted or excessive discipline and unjustified suspensions and terminations.

Cabtec, Precision Wood Products fined for violations

Regina Leader Post, November 21, 2014

REGINA — Cabtec Manufacturing Inc. and a numbered company operating as Precision Wood Products pleaded guilty to 16 charges under the Saskatchewan Employment Act and were fined $11,200 in Regina Provincial Court on Nov. 13, according to Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.Charges were laid against the companies as a result of an anonymous complaint filed with the Employment Standards Division’s compliance review unit for failure to pay overtime to employees.

Civic pension agreement brings end to standoff

Regina Leader Post, November 21, 2014

REGINA — A fix to problems surrounding the deficit-laden Regina Civic Pension Plan might be at hand after a 14-hour negotiation session on Thursday.On Friday, the employers’ group (representing the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant, Regina Board of Education, Regina Public Library, Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and City of Regina) and the Pension and Benefits Committee (PBC) announced they had come to an agreed proposal. The proposal will be sent to Monday’s city council meeting for support in principle and also to the PBC membership on Wednesday before being submitted for review by the Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA). The pension plan had been threatened with possible termination by the FCAA deputy superintendent if a viable solution wasn’t proposed by Nov. 30.

Lost revenue from illegal lockout inflates city deficit

The StarPheonix, November 22, 2014

The Saskatoon Transit lockout and decreased ridership are contributing to a projected $1.8-million transit deficit in 2014, city administration predicts.The city’s year-end projections estimate the 29-day transit lockout and subsequent two weeks of free service resulted in $2.2 million of lost revenue, which was offset by $1.4 million in savings on expenses such as transit worker salaries and fuel.The provincial labour relations board, which ruled the lockout illegal, has ordered the city to reimburse transit workers for their losses – costs the union estimates to be in the ballpark of $1 million. The city has said it will appeal the decision.

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