R&F Labour News Update: April 6 2015

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Alberta labour laws violate Charter | Quebec anti-austerity protests | Foreign worker exodus expected | Air Canada talks breakdown at Pearson Airport | Funding slashed at Transport Canada for safety | Don’t give a no-bid contract for the Spadina subway extension | Paul Rochette’s family responds to charges against Vale | Cleaners at Halifax airport in legal strike position | Viking Air lays off 100 in North Saanich | Sarnia SGS strike injunction for pickets | Kitimat municipal strike battle of the fact sheets | Saying goodbye to laid of workers at Nipissing University


Court of Queen’s Bench rules Alberta labour laws violate Charter of Rights
April 2 2015

The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled that two provincial labour laws violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has given the government one year to fix them.

Justice D.R.G. Thomas ruled that Section 96 of the Labour Relations Code and Section 70 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act – both of which take away the right to strike for tens of thousands of public-sector workers — violate the Charter.


Quebec students, unions, teachers march against government cutsimage
CBC News
April 2 2015

Thousands took to the streets Thursday afternoon in Montreal to protest the Quebec government’s cost-cutting measures.

Unlike the 2012 protests in Quebec, which centred on a proposal to increase tuition fees, students this time around are focused on what they call the province’s heavy-handed austerity measures.


Foreign Worker Exodus Expected As New Rules Kick in
David P. Ball, The Tyee
April 1 2015

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will force the removal of tens of thousands of workers from the country starting today.

This will have an immediate impact not only on workers who have been in the country for more than four years, but also on industries that use foreign workers such as restaurants, construction and the agricultural sector.


Air Canada talks break down after GTAA meddlingSaturday-300x200
April 1 2015

TORONTO, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ – The Greater Toronto Airport Authority’s (GTAA) campaign to convert middle-class jobs to low-wage work has led to a halt in talks between Air Canada and customer sales and service agents.

“The GTAA has derailed national negotiations and threatened airport operations from coast to coast,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President.

The GTAA is demanding that all work involving servicing passengers requiring wheelchair/special assistance be outsourced at Pearson International Airport. This demand would result in a 50% pay cut for approximately 130 workers.


Funding slashed for all safety programs at Transport Canada
Amy Minsky, Global News
April 1 2015

OTTAWA —The Conservative government is slashing funding for all safety and security programs at Transport Canada, with a significant chunk coming out of safety oversight initiatives, planning documents show.

The amount of funding set to be clawed away varies between programs — the budget for transportation of dangerous goods is going down 32 per cent while the budget for aviation safety is dropping 9.2 per cent, for example — but all are seeing decreases, just as the wreckage of Air Canada Flight 624 was pulled off a runway in Halifax and the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic continues to rebuild.


Don’t give Bechtel a no-bid contract for Spadina subway project warns ATU Local 113
ATU Local 113
March 31 2015

TORONTO, March 31, 2015 /CNW/ – The union that represents 10,000 Toronto Transit Commission operations and maintenance staff is warning that the decision by TTC CEO Andy Byford to give U.S. engineering giant Bechtel an $80 million sole-source, no-bid contract to take over management of the troubled Spadina Subway Expansion project is short circuiting public procurement policies in a misguided attempt to gain a few months on a critical segment of infrastructure that will likely last more than a hundred years.

“We’re not disputing that TTC management needs to be saved from its incompetence,” said Bob Kinnear, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113. “We’re troubled, however, that a company with an apparently sketchy record like Bechtel is being cast as the saviour in this civic drama of taxpayer fleecing.”


Paul Rochette’s family reacts to charges against Vale
CBC News
April 2 2015

Now that a total of 17 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were laid against Vale, two supervisors and a worker in the death of an employee last year, the family of Paul Rochette has come out swinging.

Rochette, 36, died of severe head trauma on April 6 while working at the Copper Cliff Smelter. A 28-year-old man was also injured in the same incident at the site.


Taking workers to the cleaners
Robert Devet, Halifax Media Co-op
March 30 2015

(KJIPUKTUK) HALIFAX – For the cleaners working at the Halifax airport, members of Teamsters Canada Local 927 , better wages and benefits are the number one priority.

Their collective agreement expired in the spring of 2014 and they have been in a legal strike position for the last three months.

Viking Air lays off, 116 mostly at North Saanich plant
Andrew Duffy, Times-Colonist
April 3 2015

North Saanich-based Viking Air Ltd. is cutting production and laying off 116 employees, saying some of its customers are unable to pay for aircraft they have ordered and the pace of future sales is slowing.

The company, which manufactures Twin Otter aircraft at facilities in North Saanich and Calgary, announced Thursday it is cutting its staff to 432 people.

About 100 people are being laid off at Viking’s operation in North Saanich.


Sarnia SGS strike continues as injunction limits pickets
Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer
April 2 2015

 A two-week strike by unionized workers of SGS Canada, a company providing loading and unloading services to Imperial Oil in Sarnia, continues.

Unifor national representative Glenn Sonier said Thursday there have been negotiations since the strike by approximately

35 members of Unifor Local 672. Workers have been without a contract since October.

On Thursday, Imperial Oil was granted an injunction in Sarnia Superior Court limiting the picketing at the Imperial site.


Union Responds to District “Fact Sheet” as Kitimat Municipal Strikes Drags On
John Crawford, CJFW FM
April 2 2015

The battle of press releases continues between the district of Kitimat and the union representing striking municipal workers.

Unifor Local 2300 has issued a point-by-point response to the District’s latest news release on the bargaining impasse between the two sides.

On Monday, the District said it retracted all its original demands, while the union has held firm on the 90-plus demands it started out with.


Nipissing union saying good-bye to laid off workers
March 31 2015

Laid off workers will be sent off in style tomorrow as the  Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) and the Nipissing University Faculty Association (NUFA) are co-sponsoring an “Appreciation Day” for all limited term faculty, administrative staff, and support staff whose positions have been terminated.

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