R&F Labour News Update, May 11 2015

Flin Flon mining strike | NDP victory in Alberta | Conservative anti-unionism | Unifor Local 2002 Protests | B.C. Teachers | TFWs | Westray | CUPW Election

Education Support Workers Not Satisfied with Offer
SEIU, May 7, 2015

The education support staff of South East Cornerstone School Division have voted to reject the offer presented to them by the Board.

“This is not the fair and reasonable agreement we were looking for,” said Maureen Jackiw, Administrative Assistant and SEIU-West Bargaining Committee Chair of Southeast Cornerstone. “Our members have voted and rejected these terms because they feel that the Board is still not meeting their needs.”

Conservative budget bill sets up battle with federal unions
Globe and Mail, May 7, 2015

The Conservative government is giving itself new powers in the latest omnibus budget bill to impose controversial sick leave changes to the public service, a move that sets up a battle with federal unions just months before the October election.

The budget bill tabled Thursday, C-59, has 157 numbered pages, which is less than half the size of both budget bills tabled last year. However Thursday’s bill continues the pattern of jamming budget bills with a wide-range of substantive measures, including entirely new laws.

Air Canada employees protest at Ottawa airport
May 7, 2015

Air Canada employees staged a quiet protest at the Ottawa airport Thursday afternoon in the midst of labour strife. Unifor Local 2002

Cheryl Robinson, the president of Unifor local 2002, the union representing Air Canada employees, said about 75 Ottawa members met in the departures area of the airport around 1:30 p.m. for the demonstration.

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations across the country since talks with Air Canada broke down in March, Robinson said.

Chipman, N.B., residents protest ambulance cuts
CTV News, May 9, 2015

Nearly 100 people in Chipman, N.B., spent Saturday on picket lines, protesting proposed cuts to local ambulance services.

The village found out last month the provincial government plans to eliminate one of two ambulances stationed there, citing low usage.

“The Government of New Brunswick (was given) information that there was only 175 calls in the Chipman area and it didn’t warrant two trucks in the area. But the second truck in Chipman is very seldom in Chipman,” said CUPE local president Judy Astle.

Paramedics say the ambulance serves many surrounding communities.

IAM traffic delays lead to speculation of Hudbay injunction
Flin Flon Reminder, May 9, 2015

Striking Hudbay tradespeople were preparing for a possible injunction to end their traffic slowdowns yesterday after failing to reach an agreement with the company on picket line protocol.

IAM Local 1848 vice-president Blair Sapergia said a letter from Hudbay hinted at an injunction to end the union’s tactic of delaying drivers entering company property through the main gate.

The letter, sent to IAM on Tuesday, does not mention the word “injunction” but does demand the union restore “full and unimpeded access” to Hudbay property before 4 pm Tuesday – a deadline that was not met.

Work stoppage at Halifax Water ever more likely
Halifax Media Coop, May 10, 2015

This Saturday unionized workers with Halifax Water Commission met at a Dartmouth hotel to prepare for a strike or lockout that could start any day now.

The main issue is pensions.

ONTC prez comments ‘dumbfound’ union prez
BayToday.com, May 8, 2015

Unifor Local 103 President Andy Mitchell says he is dumbfounded by comments made yesterday by the acting President of Ontario Northland to a gathering of Northern Ontario Mayors.

“To publicly state that Ontario Northland has not changed in 113 years demonstrates either a lack of familiarization with ONTC or a deliberate scheme to undermine its value and purpose, with the ultimate intent to rebrand the sell-off of the ONTC as transformational” said Mitchell.

“What Ontario Northland is bleeding from is industry knowledge, leadership and political will” said Mitchell.

Stephen Harper vows foreign workers will not become ‘permanent underclass’
Toronto Star, May 8, 2015

Canada will not allow the creation of a “permanent underclass” of foreign workers filling jobs here for long periods with no hope of citizenship, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says.

Harper made the comments Friday during an appearance with Philippine President Benigno Aquino as he justified a clampdown on the temporary foreign worker program in Canada.

Because of a four-year limit imposed on how long temporary foreign workers can remain in Canada, thousands of workers are now being forced to return to their homelands.

Omni drops multi-language newscasts as impact of streaming services is felt
Toronto Star, May 7, 2015

Omni Television says it is introducing interactive half-hour current affairs programs to replace multi-language newscasts that will go off the air in B.C. and Ontario.

The move comes as parent Rogers Media Inc. cuts 110 jobs from its television operations, mainly at its Omni multicultural stations. The subsidiary of Toronto’s Rogers Communications said it will no longer produce Omni newscasts starting on Monday.

Alberta: NDP wins…now let’s organize!
RankandFile.ca, May 5, 2015

The NDP victory in Alberta presents a real opportunity for the labour movement and wider working class to make substantial gains. The defeat of the 44-year Tory dynasty gives energy to those fighting for social justice inside and outside the province. However, the election of a majority NDP government by no means ensures those gains will be made.

While the NDP ran an effective campaign, it was circumstance that created the conditions for them to harness what is largely a protest vote. Falling oil prices, an economic crisis in the province, and the blatantly corrupt PC machine did plenty to anger voters. And the 2012 election already showed the PCs were on thin ice. Prentice’s arrogance and blaming Albertans for his own party’s colossal mismanagement of government funds was the last straw.

Interview with Mike Palecek, CUPW presidential candidate
RankandFile.ca, April 30, 2015

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is holdings its convention this May 4-7 in Toronto. It is also the union’s 50th anniversary. CUPW was founded in 1965 by an incredible wildcat strike against an oppressive employer, horrible working conditions and a failed employee association.

Fifty years later, the union is facing enormous challenges as Canada Post’s management seeks to eliminate door-to-door mail delivery across the country, deliver thousands of pink slips, and prepare the public service for wholesale or piece-by-piece privatization. On top of this, both the urban and rural collective agreements expire over December and January of 2015-2016, only weeks after a likely federal election.

Shredding at legislature prompts Alberta privacy commissioner to weigh in
Edmonton Journal, May 7, 2015

As delete buttons and shredding machines get a workout at the Alberta legislature this week, the office of the province’s privacy commissioner admits there is no formal enforcement process to ensure valuable records aren’t being turned into confetti.

While staff working in ministers’ offices are expected to follow rules governing the destruction of documents, the privacy commissioner does not have the authority to monitor what gets shredded after an election, spokesman Scott Sibbald said.

Weekend Video: Westray
RankandFile.ca, April 25, 2015

To commemorate all those who have been injured or killed at work, RankandFile.ca presents to you the 2001 documentary, Westray.

In this feature documentary, filmmaker Paul Cowan offers an innovative, moving account of the Westray coal mine disaster that killed 26 men in Nova Scotia on May 9, 1992. The film focuses on the lives of three widows and three miners lucky enough not to be underground that day when the methane and coal dust ignited. But their lives were torn apart by the events.

Ottawa Delays Data on Foreign Workers
The Tyee, May 8, 2015

Canadians will have to wait until the end of June or longer to find out the full effects of the Tories’ changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, despite the government’s promise to release information about it every three months.

The Harper government has said it would post data on the number of foreigner workers approved through the program on a quarterly basis, but still hasn’t released information from the last quarter of 2014.

The Temporary Foreign Worker program was subject to public outcry that employers abuse the program by using it to pay lower wages by hiring foreign workers instead of Canadians.

ETFO outlines elementary teachers’ work-to-rule campaign
CBC News, May 8, 2015
Ontario elementary teachers will begin a work-to-rule campaign on Monday in which they won’t write report card comments or undertake any activities related to provincial standardized testing.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which represents some 76,000 teachers and has just been through eight months of unsuccessful negotiations with the province, announced its job action plans at a news conference Friday afternoon.

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