R&F’s Labour News Update – February 2, 2015

Supreme Court on right to strike | Quebec municipal pensions | Ontario CCAC strike | Saskatoon transit | Port Metro Vancouver truckers | Paramedics’ mental health | West Van nursing home layoffs | IKEA Richmond | Federal workplace childcare | Tim Hortons

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A Constitutional Right to Strike Comes to Canada
Professor David Doorey, Law of Work blog
January 30, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in SFL v Saskatchewan is that the Constitutional right to strike came to Canada carried on the sails of Justice Dickson’s dissent. The case challenged draconian legislation enacted by the Saskatchewan Party that gutted collective bargaining rights of public sector workers, and permitted employers to unilaterally decide which employees would have a right to strike and which would not.

Read the full decision here

Coalition of Quebec municipal unions file legal challenge against pensions bill
Linda Gyulai, Montreal Gazette
January 28, 2015

A coalition of 79 municipal unions in Quebec launched a legal salvo against the provincial government’s pension-fund law on Wednesday. Members of the coalition filed the first two of a dozen motions in Quebec Superior Court seeking to have Law 15 (formerly Bill 3) struck down as unconstitutional. It retroactively requires municipal employees to contribute half the cost of their pension plans, and caps pension plan costs.

Three thousand Ontario CCAC Health Professionals on Strike
Ontario Nurses’ Association
January 30, 2015

CCAC Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) Bargaining Units have been seeking very small wage increases equal to the percentages given to the other 57,000 members of ONA in the hospital, public health and long-term care sectors. The CCAC members had a two-year wage freeze in their last contract, which expired March 31, 2014. Nine of the 10 Bargaining Units have voted to strike. Workers at Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant have ratified a new agreement.

Temporary foreign workers rights hotline launched
Andrew Stevens, Rankandfile.ca
January 27, 2015

A confidential hotline has been created to help temporary foreign workers get answers about their rights, both under the federal program and at work. “Temporary foreign workers have rights just like Canadian workers, and we intend to ensure that they are enforced across the country,” said Wally Ewanicke, an organizer with Unifor. “The new hotline is a confidential resource for workers who need answers about their rights at work.”

Port Metro Vancouver truckers protest as 600 to lose jobs
Justin McElroy, Global News
January 31, 2015

Dozens of Port Metro Vancouver truckers and their families rallied in Surrey to protest the imminent loss of over 600 jobs. Every year, around 165 companies receive port licenses from Port Metro Vancouver through a yearly application process. This year, that number is 68 – and it’s left about 600 drivers without jobs, and with plenty of questions.

527 Days: Reflections by IKEA Richmond workers
David Bush and Doug Nesbitt, Rankandfile.ca
January 29, 2015

In early December, delegates at the opening day of the BC Federation of Labour convention gave a well-deserved standing ovation for the IKEA Richmond workers who were locked out for 527 days. While those workers were rightfully praised for standing tall against a bully boss, what is less well understood is their actual experience of the lockout and opinions of the deal that ultimately ended it. Here is what they learned, in their own words.

Edmonton paramedic’s suicide prompts calls for change
CBC News
January 28, 2015

The Alberta Paramedic Association is calling for changes in how its members are debriefed after a “critical stress incident.” The call comes after the suicide of Edmonton paramedic, Greg Turner, earlier this week. His suicide appears to be part of a troubling national trend. At least four Canadian paramedics have committed suicide this month alone, 34 in the past nine months.

More than 230 workers at West Vancouver nursing home to lose jobs
Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun
January 27, 2015

More than 230 staff at West Vancouver’s Inglewood Care Centre will lose their jobs May 31 when Carecorp — a subcontractor that provides resident care and support at the nursing home — terminates its agreement with the facility’s owner, the Hospital Employees’ Union said Tuesday. The latest contract flip comes as the Labour Relations Board prepares to make recommendations on a first collective agreement between HEU and Carecorp. “Carecorp said they are ending their commercial contract,” said HEU’s Bonnie Pearson. “They don’t give reasons. We’re in first contract negotiations, so one can assume that one is related to the other. It’s simply to avoid unionization. The average wage for a care aide (at Inglewood) is $16 an hour, anywhere from two to five dollars below what others in the industry pay.”

How the Tories are killing federal workers’ childcare
Doug Nesbitt, Rankandfile.ca
January 28, 2015

How could a childcare centre created for the children of federal workers and sponsored by the federal government go bankrupt? Wasn’t the Universal Child Care Benefit helping? To tell the story of Tupper Tots, RankandFile.ca sat down with Shellie Bird, an Ottawa childcare worker and education officer with CUPE Local 2204, the union representing Tupper Tots workers.

Saskatoon transit union, city head back to labour board
Andrea Hill, Star-Phoenix
January 29, 2015

The City of Saskatoon and its transit union will appear before the provincial labour relations board Friday to debate the future of transit workers’ pension plan. City council legislated changes to the plan in September, at the beginning of a month-long transit lockout. The union wants those changes — which include hikes to contributions by both employees and the city — to be reversed. The labour relations board ruled in October that the city was not in a legal position to lock out workers or make changes to their pension plan. It forbade any further changes to the plan.

Tim Hortons confirms 350 job cuts as workers say they were blindsided
Sophia Harris, CBC News
January 29, 2015

Two days after news of mass layoffs at Tim Hortons broke, the company finally confirmed late Thursday how many people were laid off, telling CBC News that about 350 lost their jobs this week. Previously, the company had refused to specify how many employees had been laid off. The job cuts are mainly at the company’s headquarters and regional offices.

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