R&F’s labour news update – December 15, 2014

USW 9176 members and supporters held a Day of Action at Beer Stores across Ontario on December 13, encouraging people to by bottled beer instead of cans to protest the treatment of workers on strike at Crown Holding’s factory in Toronto. The strike has been going on for sixteen months. USW

Tembec, Unifor agree to end Quebec strike
The Canadian Press
December 9, 2014

MONTREAL — Tembec and Unifor have signed a tentative agreement aimed at ending a strike that began Nov. 26 at its lumber mill in Temiscaming, Que.

Tembec (TSX:TMB) says the 650 unionized employees at the facility will vote on the four-year agreement Wednesday.

The forest products company also said the bargaining committee for Unifor Local 233 intends to recommend unanimously that its members approve the deal.

Senators ready to pass union bill despite drafting errors
Jordan Press, Ottawa Citizen
December 12, 2014

Federal workers who want to unionize could face delays in becoming a certified bargaining unit because of mistakes in a private member’s bill that the Senate nevertheless appears ready to pass.

Health care workplace violence an epidemic, says Ontario nurses’ union leader
Steve Mertl, Yahoo News
December 10, 2014

There are some professions with an expectation you might encounter violence in your working day. A soldier in wartime. A police officer. A nightclub bouncer. A nurse.

Wait, a nurse?

Nurses and others in the healthcare sector face what one union leader calls an epidemic of violence in Canada’s hospitals and long-term care facilities at the hands of patients, but he says little is being done to improve their safety and security.

NL Hydro rejects ‘union busting’ allegations
Ashley Fitzpatrick, St. John’s Telegram
December 8, 2014

Statement issued by IBEW Local 1615 cries disrespect towards workers. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is dismissing accusations of “union busting” efforts, as claimed by IBEW Local 1615 earlier today.

Kellogg’s London officially ends cereal production today
CBC News
December 10, 2014

Today marks the last day of full production at Kellogg’s breakfast cereal factory in London, Ont.

The last day of scheduled work in the plant is Dec. 23.

The company has been in London for 100 years. The plant closing this month is 75 years old. It has made more than 20 different products and packaged them all in-house.

Divisions in labour movement undermine effort to stop Harper

Larry Savage and Stephanie Ross, RankeandFile.ca
December 11, 2014

There is no shortage of reasons for the labour movement to organize against the re-election of the Harper government. On the labour rights front, the Conservatives have aggressively used back-to-work legislation to end or preempt legal strikes, attempted to undermine unions’ political capacity through onerous and one-sided financial disclosure laws, and attacked collective bargaining rights and working conditions in the federal public service. EI coverage rates are at their lowest since the program’s inception in 1940. The government failed to significantly improve public pensions or invest in a national child care program, and instead rolled out a tax break for the wealthiest based on a 1950s vision of the family. The Conservatives have backed Canada Post’s decision to end door-to-door mail delivery, and have cut thousands of decent and important public service jobs. Meanwhile, precarious employment and income inequality continues to expand unhindered. All this offers union activists plenty of motivation to put all their energies into #StopHarper efforts in 2015.

Ex-Tim Hortons temporary foreign workers fear deportation after whistleblowing
CBC News, December 9, 2014

Two whistleblowers who exposed problems with Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program at a Tim Hortons franchise in Fernie, B.C. are nervously awaiting a government decision on their fate.

Jona and Chris Pineda have applied to stay in Canada with their three children, but may soon be deported to the Philippines after changes they helped to bring to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“I’m hoping for my family, especially for my kids, to stay here. My kids love Canada,” said Chris Pineda.

Government-managed projects could save Ontario money: Auditor-General
Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail
December 9, 2014

Public-private partnerships have cost Ontario taxpayers nearly $8-billion more on infrastructure over the past nine years than if the government had successfully built the projects itself.

The revelation, from Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk, comes as Premier Kathleen Wynne stakes the province’s future on a vast construction program that will see dozens of new schools, bridges and subways built over the next decade. And it suggests Ms. Wynne can build that infrastructure more cheaply as she wrestles down a $12.5-billion deficit.

Cutting Emissions Needn’t Kill Jobs, Says Oilsands Labour
Geoff Dembicki, The Tyee
December 8, 2014

By the end of this month, Alberta will say whether it plans to make its climate laws stronger. The timing is terrible, according to Alberta Premier Jim Prentice. The recent oil price drop means “it’s time for caution.”

Even a small increase to the modest carbon tax Alberta enacted in 2007 can cause “immediate” impacts to investment and jobs, he warns.

You might expect the top labour leader in a province of oil and gas workers to agree. But Gil McGowan is tired of hearing warnings that stronger climate action must always come at the expense of jobs. Such a tradeoff, in his opinion, is “a load of bunk.”

Unions argue against N.S. law to cut bargaining units for health workers
Canadian Press
December 9, 2014

HALIFAX – Public sector unions in Nova Scotia are telling an arbitrator that a provincial law that shrinks the number of bargaining units for health-care workers is unconstitutional.

Susan Coen, a lawyer for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, says the law breaks charter rights that guarantee the right to association.

The Health Authorities Act merges the number of health districts from 10 to two by April 1.

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