R&F’s Labour News Update: February 23, 2015

CP Rail strike ends | Possible CN Rail lockout | OPSEU rally & OPS bargaining | Living wage | Canada Post fightback | Happy Valley-Goose Bay lockout ends | Bill 1 fight in Nova Scotia | Possible York and University of Toronto Strikes | Oil strike expands | #Bottlesnotcans | BC budget| Chronicle Herald lockout| Yukon’s Bill 12|

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.

Mail theft is on the rise with new CMBs
Mail theft is on the rise with new CMBs
New law to determine health care union representation in N.S.
Keith Doucette, CTV News
February 20, 2015.

The Nova Scotia government will introduce legislation to decide which unions will represent nurses, clerical and support staff in the health-care system after an arbitrator failed to resolve the matter, Health Minister Leo Glavine said Friday. James Dorsey released a report Friday that recommended representation for only two of the four bargaining units being created under legislation passed last fall that amalgamates the province’s health authorities on April 1. Dorsey’s 96-page decision recommended that the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union represent clerical and health-care workers. But he did not assign a union to represent nurses and support staff.

Chronicle Herald locks out pressroom workers
Robert Devet, Halifax Media Co-op
February 21, 2015

As of 4:30 PM today Chronicle Herald management has locked out the 13 workers who run the printing presses at the printing plant on Bluebell Road in Bedford. Management did so even though the pressroom workers had agreed to negotiate concessions. Herald owners want four years of wage freezes and the elimination of job security language, early retirement provisions and existing scheduling arrangements.

CN Rail headed for Monday lockout after union rejects binding arbitration
Ross Marowits, CTV News
February 21, 2015

Canada National Railway says it will lock out almost 5,000 of its employees Monday night amid a deadlock in contract talks. The Montreal-based railway said the lockout of the 4,800 mechanical, intermodal and clerical workers represented by Unifor would begin at 11 p.m. Monday unless the union agreed to binding arbitration to settle contract differences. The union, which has announced plans to begin a strike vote next week after the failure of five months of talks, quickly rejected the company ultimatum but said it was prepared to negotiate this weekend.

10599678_934677206576858_1516034656143254501_nOPSEU says no to Wynne’s austerity agenda
David Bush, RankandFile.ca
February 20, 2015

Over 800 OPSEU members and allies rallied in front of the Ontario Legislature on Tuesday morning to welcome back sitting MPP’s with a strong anti-austerity message. The rally organized by OPSEU and supported by other public sector unions in the province such as AMAPCEO, CUPE, ONA and PEGO, was called to put pressure on the government’s austerity agenda at the bargaining table.

The bargaining between the Ontario government and OPSEU, which represents 35,000 workers in the Ontario Public Service (OPS), has reached an impasse. OPSEU’s previous contract has expired and the government has refused to back down from its concessionary demands despite a 90 percent strike vote from OPSEU members.

Bowman considering ‘Know Your Zone?’ app for Winnipeg drivers
CBC News
February 18, 2015

Mayor Brian Bowman may be considering having a “Know Your Zone?” app created to help keep Winnipeggers in the know, but a local union representative is still encouraging drivers to share their thoughts—and photos—of the city’s snow clearing operations fresh off the first residential parking ban of 2015.

CP Rail strike ends as workers agree to arbitration
Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star
February 16, 2015

A key issue was fatigue for rail workers, and the union is hoping arbitration can bring about a better system to manage the hours and workload for railway employees. “We are reasonably confident of being able to put an end to years of hardship by our members, and to improve the dysfunction system presently in place,” Doug Finnson, president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, said in a statement.

University, CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3 reach tentative deal
James Flynn, The Varsity
February 19, 2015

The University of Toronto and CUPE Local 3902 Unit 3, which represents sessional lecturers and other non-student academic staff, have reached a tentative agreement, the university said in a memo on Wednesday. Details of the agreement will not be released until after a ratification meeting planned for March 2.

Lopsided-generosity-BC-Budget-2015-tw.00111 things you need to know about BC Budget 2015
February 17, 2015

1. Budget 2015 ends the claw-back on child support payments for single parents on welfare. This is estimated to put $13 million in the hands of some of the poorest British Columbians. It’s a good step forward, but it is very very small. $13 million is three hundredths of one percent of the provincial budget. In contrast, the richest 2% of British Columbians are getting 17 times more (or $227 million) with the phase out of the tax bracket at $150,000.

Montreal says no to community mailboxes
CTV News
February 18, 2015

Mayor Denis Coderre wants a moratorium on community mailboxes in Montreal and says the way Canada Post plans to install them is not going to work. Canada Post announced in Dec. 2013 it would put an end to home mail delivery, with the crown corporation blaming rising costs and falling mail volume for cutting door-to-door delivery. Coderre said he wants more consultation with Canada Post before it sets up 50,000 community mailboxes in the city. One idea, he said, was rethinking the need for mail delivery five times a week.

Lockout in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., ends
Metro News
February 17, 2015

The Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador has accepted an agreement reached with its outside workers. The deal ends a month-long lockout in the town. The town council voted to accept the three-year agreement in a public meeting Tuesday. The agreement was accepted by town workers last week and will see a wage increase of 11.5 per cent and a cost-shared defined benefit pension plan.

Harper’s cuts to postal service are bad election strategy
Mike Palecek, Rabble.ca
February 4, 2015

In the future, when people ask where Stephen Harper went wrong, the pundits will say that he messed with the postal service. This might be the place where a union rep such as myself would do some chest-thumping about the militant history of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). I could talk about the other Prime Ministers who took on the postal workers and lost. I could talk about the fight for maternity leave, or jailed union leaders… But it is not simply CUPW that is hitting back against Harper.

How to drink beer and support striking workers too
Ella Bedard, Rabble.ca
February 19, 2015

For social justice-minded people, it can be hard to navigate the ethical landmines in todays consumer markets. Should you buy local or organic? Fair trade, union made or sustainably packaged? Ideally, you want all those qualities rolled into every product, but it’s not always that simple.

The Canada Post Fight: News Round-Up
Doug Nesbitt and David Bush, RankandFile.ca
February 20, 2015

Fourteen months have passed since Canada Post announced its radical overhaul of the postal service. Canada Post is still sticking to its plans of eliminating home delivery across the country, cutting 8,000 jobs, jacking up prices, and closing sorting depots across the country. In fact, Canada Post has accelerated the number of home delivery cuts in 2015 in anticipation of the federal election. They want this project to feel inevitable, no matter who wins the election.

Bill 12: Union members pleased with proposed changes to pension bill
CBC News
February 20, 2015

Public sector employees were braced for a showdown at a public meeting in Yellowknife last night, but the tension broke when MLAs made it clear they want Bill 12 to establish a defined benefit pension plan. Last night, MLAs reviewed Bill 12, the Northern Employee Benefits Services Pension Plan Act, which could affect the pensions of around 1,100 public sector workers and teachers in the territory last night. Unions have been concerned about a section allowing retirement benefits to be potentially clawed back.

Unions representing CBC/Radio-Canada employees shocked by Harper’s remarks
Canadian Media Guild
February 17, 2015

As representatives of employees of CBC/Radio-Canada, we are shocked by prime minister Stephen Harper’s inappropriate remarks targeting thousands of people who work for Canada’s national broadcaster. The Prime Minister’s public accusation that “many Radio-Canada employees detest conservative values” is absurd and unfounded. Thousands of people work at the CBC/SRC across Canada, and their political opinions are as varied and as private as every other Canadian. For the Prime Minister to single out and disparage a group of workers for not supporting his values, is tantamount to schoolyard bullying, in our view, unbecoming of the office.

Working while Black website aims to chronicle struggles of Nova Scotians
Global News
February 20, 2015

The website, Working While Black in Nova Scotia, is aiming to collect stories of racism experienced by African-Nova Scotians in the workplace and begin a dialogue about the realities of racism in Nova Scotia.

Groups across Ontario say decent wages must include paid sick leave and a $15 minimum wage for all workers
February 17, 2015

Community groups and trade unions are hopeful that the Ontario government’s promise to review employment standards and labour law will result in meaningful improvements to work and wages across the province.

“It’s clear that current minimum employment standards are insufficient to provide workers with a pathway out of poverty,” said Alastair Woods, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. “We need to ensure that a $15 minimum wage applies to all workers in the province, regardless of the sector in which they work or the age or educational status of the workers.”

USW-Oil-Strike-Grows-Sign-Petition-For-Safe-Refineries_blog_post_fullWidthU.S. Oil Workers’ Union Expands Biggest Plant Strike Since 1980
Lynn Doan and Barbara Powell, Bloomberg News
February 21, 2015

The United Steelworkers, which represents 30,000 U.S. oil workers, called on four more plants to join the biggest strike since 1980 as talks dragged on with Royal Dutch Shell Plc, negotiating a labor contract for oil companies. The USW, with members at more than 200 refineries, fuel terminals, pipelines and chemical plants across the U.S., asked workers late Friday at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur refinery in Texas, the nation’s largest, to join a nationwide walkout on Saturday, and issued notices for three other plants to go on strike in 24 hours.

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