R&F’s Labour News Update: February 9, 2015

Every Monday, R&F.ca provides a summary of the past week’s labour news. Here are some of the major stories hitting the Interwebs.

If you haven’t yet, check out these fabulous pieces featured last week on R&F.ca:

THE POLITICS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO STRIKE – Charles Smith
THE DEPRESSING WORLD OF CALL CENTRE EMPLOYMENT – Dylan Hackett
FOR EQUAL PAY & QUALITY HEALTHCARE: THE CCAC STRIKE – Matt Davidson and Doug Nesbitt

Teamsters vote for strike action at CP Rail
Kenora Daily Miner and News
Feb. 8, 2015

Teamsters union workers could be picketing outside the Kenora CP Rail station as early a next week following a strike vote in Calgary over the weekend.teamsters

Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) members voted 93 per cent of strike action on Saturday, Feb. 7. In Kenora, 110 CP Rail workers are represented by Teamsters Canada Local 132.

The workers are employed as locomotive engineers, conductors, trainmen and yardmen throughout Canada, including Kenora.

Migrant construction workers sue Ottawa for discrimination
Nicholas Keung
Toronto Star
Feb. 7, 2015

More than 150 migrant construction workers are suing Ottawa, claiming they have been discriminated against under a program that invites them to work in Canada but welcomes only English-speaking candidates when it comes to letting them stay on permanently.

The workers from Italy, Portugal and Poland have been employed in Canada on work permits for at least two years. But under the Federal Skilled Trades (FST) program, they must pass a language proficiency test to be considered for permanent resident status.

B.C. Liberals spent $350,000 on social media during teachers’ strike
Michael Smyth
National Post
Feb. 6, 2015

The Christy Clark government spent more than $350,000 on tweets, Facebook posts, Google ads and other online messages during last year’s bitter teachers’ strike.

The online campaign was directed under contract by KIMBO Design Inc., the same Vancouver “branding agency” that worked on Clark’s Liberal leadership campaign and designed the party’s logo.

When teachers went on strike last May, Clark called on the company again, this time to get the government’s message out to the public — at taxpayers’ expense.

Striking CCAC workers worried about impact to patients
Tyler Cula
The Observer
Feb. 5, 2015

Six days into a strike by some CCAC workers across Ontario, there’s been minimal impact at Bluewater Health, an executive says.striking

“There’s been minimal or no disruption to date,” said Lynda Robinson, vice-president of operations at Bluewater Health.

“Certainly there have been additional processes that have been put in place to ensure that there’s no … significant patient impact,” she said. “But I would suggest that Bluewater Health has not seen any impact at this point.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s no impact locally, said Janet Griffin, Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) representative in Sarnia.

Everyone must go: Target’s final days a struggle for remaining employees
Josh Elliot
CTVNews.ca
Feb. 5, 2015

As Target Canada begins to liquidate its assets, a number of its 17,600 employees are taking to the Internet to anonymously share their gripes about the company that will soon leave them jobless.

Target Canada launched its court-supervised liquidation process on Thursday at 133 stores across the country. The hotly-anticipated sale is already drawing large crowds of bargain hunters, which means Target will have to lean heavily on its soon-to-be-unemployed workers to move stock and address customers’ questions. Morale among those employees is understandably low.

Some of those minimum-wage employees have expressed their anger and disappointment with Target through social media, but are unwilling to do so publicly for fear of losing their last few weeks of employment.

Growing PTSD crisis among Canada’s first responders
CBC
Feb. 5, 2015

Across this country, an ambulance siren tells us someone’s in distress, the police, the paramedics, the firefighters need to get somewhere fast. They careen by in a blur, we don’t see their faces and we don’t see them after, when the crisis or trauma that called them out lingers and won’t let them go. Today, three first responders living with PTSD share their stories.

Power to inspect TFW employers without a warrant hasn’t been used
Bill Curry
Globe and Mail
Feb. 5, 2015

The Conservative government’s clampdown on the temporary foreign worker program promised a “massive” increase in inspections – including the power to search work sites without a warrant – but documents show this now year-old inspection power has never been used.

The reason: It hasn’t been necessary, according to the Employment Minister.

Brad Wall open to using ‘notwithstanding clause’ over labour ruling
Saskatchewan could invoke clause in response to Supreme Court ruling against province
CBC News
Feb. 4, 2015

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is open to using the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ notwithstanding clause to address his government’s essential services legislation, which the Supreme Court has ruled violates charter rights. Saskatchewan’s labour legislation prohibits some public-sector employees from striking.

On Wednesday, Wall said he will try to recraft the legislation to conform with the court’s ruling, but he is ready with a backup plan.”If it looks like we cannot do that, then the only option we would have is to use the notwithstanding clause and simply say to the Supreme Court that we want to put public safety and welfare at the foremost, as our top priority for the people of Saskatchewan,” Wall said.

Strikers critical of Sudbury CEO’s pay raise
Carol Mulligan
Sudbury Star
Feb. 3, 2015

The Ontario Public Services Employees Union has taken aim at the chief executive officer of the North East Community Care Access Centre for accepting a 16% salary increase in 2013, while the wages of nurses’ and other health professionals working for CCACs were frozen.sudbury

OPSEU, which has 130,000 members, is lending its support to about 3,000 nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and other health professionals on strike against nine CCACs in Ontario.

New trucking commissioner tasked with keeping trucks rolling at B.C. port
The Province
Feb. 3, 2015

VANCOUVER – The union representing container truck drivers at Canada’s largest port claims the person who’s been hired to improve their members’ working conditions is in a “blatant conflict of interest.”

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation Todd Stone announced Tuesday the appointment of Andy Smith as the container trucking commissioner.

His appointment comes a week after Port Metro Vancouver announced changes to its licensing system, which excluded some companies that once hauled cargo.

Wrigley Canada to close Toronto gum factory, lay off 383 workers
CTV News
Feb. 3, 2015

TORONTO — Wrigley Canada is closing its Toronto gum factory next year, putting 383 people out of work.

The company says the plant will be shut down in March 2016.

Wrigley says those affected will be offered severance package, career transition support and paid time to attend other job interviews and counselling.

All production from the Toronto plant will be shifted to its facility in Gainesville, Ga.

B.C. court blocks union busting
Michael Mui
24 Hours Vancouver
Feb. 2, 2015

British Columbia’s highest court has sided with workers in a failed union-busting attempt where the Labour Relations Board determined Mexico had conducted “improper interference” over how employees voted in the decertification campaign.bccourt

Mexico had argued state immunity barred the LRB from adjudicating the conduct of a foreign state. In a Jan. 30 decision, the B.C. Court of Appeal, however, determined the LRB was exercising its powers properly — since the case has to do with the rights of foreign workers in B.C.

The case involves workers at Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd., a farming business, and foreign workers with union UFCW Local 1518.

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