R&F’s Labour News Update: March 2, 2015

UofT TAs on strike | Air Canada bargaining woes | Nova’s Scotia’s Bill 1 | Alberta education cuts | OPS bargaining | Failing rail safety | Winnipeg municipal workers | Hay River strike | Canadian mining crimes | LA teachers rally | Wisconsin right-to-work law

1,000 University of Toronto TAs pack Convocation Hall to overwhelmingly vote down a tentative agreement and strike against poverty wages.
1,000 University of Toronto TAs pack Convocation Hall to overwhelmingly vote down a tentative agreement and strike against poverty wages.

University of Toronto Teaching Assistants reject deal and go on strike
Gerard Di Trolio, Rankandfile.ca
February 28, 2015

On Friday evening February 27, University of Toronto graduate student teaching assistants (TAs) overwhelmingly voted at a mass meeting of over a 1,000 people to reject a tentative agreement reached between their union, CUPE Local 3902, and the university’s administration earlier that day. Approximately 6,000 Unit 1 TAs are now on strike and pickets will begin on Monday, March 2.

Air Canada files for premature conciliation against Unifor 2002
Unifor, February 26, 2015

Air Canada’s rushed application for conciliation is premature and a departure from previous bargaining patterns, says the union representing over 4,100 Customer Sales and Service Agents. “We’re eager to negotiate in good faith and there are lots of items to discuss,” said Cheryl Robinson, President of Unifor Local 2002. “But Air Canada appears eager for government interference early in the process.”

Pressroom workers walking a picket line outside Halifax's major daily newspaper the Chronicle Herald. #boycott the Herald online and in print until these workers get a fair deal. Photo by Suzanne MacNeil.
Pressroom workers walking a picket line outside Halifax’s major daily newspaper the Chronicle Herald. #boycott the Herald online and in print until these workers get a fair deal. Photo by Suzanne MacNeil.

Bill 1 rollercoaster continues in Nova Scotia
Shay Enxuga, Rankandfile.ca
February 27, 2015

The Liberals’ election promise of restructuring healthcare in Nova Scotia has turned into a prolonged battle between the government and the province’s four healthcare unions.

Alberta budget cuts could see up to 2,500 teaching jobs lost
Trevor Howell, Calgary Herald
February 23, 2015

Deep spending cuts in the upcoming budget could leave school boards wrestling with $500 million less in funding and up to 2,500 fewer educators in classrooms across the province, says the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

Rankandfile.ca interview: Ontario Public Service bargaining and mobilization
February 25, 2015

Last week RankandFile.ca interviewed Roxanne Barnes and Myles Magner from OPSEU at the union’s rally against Premier Wynne’s austerity agenda. Barnes, OPSEU’s chair of the Central/Unified bargaining team for the Ontario Public Service (OPS), and Magner, the regional Vice President of OPSEU Region 5, offer insight about the union’s bargaining and mobilization strategy for the OPS contract fight.

Crown Holdings strikers demand Liberal MPP's speak up against corporate abuse of Ontario workers defending wages of next generation (Feb.27, 2015)
Crown Holdings strikers demand Liberal MPP’s speak up against corporate abuse of Ontario workers defending wages of next generation (Feb.27, 2015)

CN Rail: Ratification Divided
Andy, CN conductor, February 24, 2015
February 24, 2015

As the membership of USW Local 2004 whimper over the ratification of Canadian National Railway’s (CN) offer, it has become abundantly clear that our USW leadership has completely missed the mark with negotiations. One has to ask, “Why, amidst CN’s record profits of over $844 million in the last quarter, are we still presented with an offer that required concessions of the USW local 2004 membership?” This is just one of the critical questions that has gone unaddressed by the union leadership.

CN derailment shows new Tory safety regulations are inadequate
Paolo Loriggio, Globe and Mail
February 23, 2015

An investigation into the recent derailment in Ontario of a freight train carrying crude oil suggests new safety standards introduced after the Lac-Megantic, Que., tragedy are inadequate, Canada’s transport investigator said Monday.

Winnipeg municipal workers’ union launches campaign for public snow-clearing
CBC.ca, February 23, 2015

The City of Winnipeg has said that this winter 80 per cent of snow clearing labour has and will continue to go to contractors, leaving the remaining 20 per cent to city crews. CUPE Local 500 has launched a public campaign and hotline for Winnipegers to report their satisifaction with the private snow clearing operations.

Hay River strike continues as mayor tries to encourage scabbing
Mike Gibbins, My Yellowknife Now
February 26, 2015

Union officials are accusing Hay River mayor Andrew Cassidy of trying to divide the community by encouraging striking town workers to cross the picket line. 30 town employees have been on strike since February 9 over a wage dispute.

Canadian government protecting rights-violating Canadian mining corporation in Mexico
MiningWatch Canada and United Steelworkers
February 25, 2015

A report based on internal documents obtained from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, and published Wednesday by MiningWatch Canada and the United Steelworkers, claims Canadian diplomats in Mexico did nothing to stop mining abuses. According to the document, the Embassy in Mexico complicit in Toronto-based Excellon Resources’s efforts to avoid redressing a violated land use contract and poor working conditions.

Los Angeles teachers hold mass rally and threaten strike
Deirdre Fulton, CommonDreams
February 27, 2015

An estimated 15,000 teachers and their supporters rallied in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, threatening to strike should union and school district representatives fail to reach an agreement to reduce class sizes, raise teacher pay, and eliminate the existing system for evaluating educators.

Wisconsin passes right-to-work law amidst labour protests
Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post
February 25, 2015

Spelling more trouble for organized labor in the U.S., Republican legislators in the Wisconsin state Senate approved a right-to-work bill here on Wednesday, sending the measure to a GOP-controlled Assembly where it’s also expected to pass. Republican leaders chose to fast-track the bill in what’s known as an extraordinary legislative session, allowing for less debate than usual.

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