R&F Labour News Update – June 8 2015

RankandFile.ca at the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies

R&F editors met at the second annual CAWLS conference in Ottawa, June 4-5, 2015. On Friday, David Bush, Doug Nesbitt, and Andrew Stevens presented, “Labour journalism renewal? Reflections on the short history of RankandFile.ca”. The full program can be found on-line. Join CAWLS next year in Calgary! Follow presentations at CAWLS on Twitter #CAWLS2015. RF CAWLS

City has no say on super mailboxes
Peterborough Examiner, June 2, 2015

City councillors want the facts about super-mailboxes.

The large community mailboxes – the kind already in use in new subdivisions in Peterborough – are about to be installed across the city now that Canada Post is going to use them instead of door-to-door delivery.

But councillors heard Monday night that the city has no say in where these exactly mailboxes will be installed in the city.

Meanwhile the city may also be on the hook to clear the snow around the mailboxes and pick up the little caused by people tossing flyers on the ground when they pick up their mail.

There’s no need for cuts to postal service
The Record, May 29, 2015

Canadians still want their letters, parcels and packages delivered to their doors. That’s the majority of Canadians, by the way.

Two-thirds of us have mailboxes in apartment lobbies, at the end of our rural driveways, or right by our doorsteps.

The “only one-third still has it” argument is as bogus as the other misinformation Canada Post churns out to scare people into believing our money-making post office needs to be cut. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Construction of Sarnia power plant beset by worker safety problems
Globe and Mail, June 5, 2015

Around noon on a Thursday in April, a vertical support beam gave way inside a power plant under construction near Sarnia. The floor above the beam, on which the plant’s turbine was sitting, pressed down with 100 tonnes of force, putting a crack in a column and sending dozens of workers fleeing for safety.

Right-wing interest group claims on public sector wages baseless
CUPE, June 5, 2015

Claims that public sector workers make significantly more than their private sector counterparts are simply untrue. The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing over 630,000 workers across the country, mostly public sector workers, says its own research disproves recent claims by a right-wing interest group.

Walmart Workers Fast to Fight Closures
Labor Notes, May 29, 2015

Labor Notes
Photo: Labour Notes

With tents and sleeping bags in tow, workers set up camp outside a Los Angeles Walmart this week and held a one-day fast to protest the corporation’s retaliation against their organizing.

Walmart recently closed five stores, including one in Pico Rivera, California, where workers were especially active in OUR Walmart, the Food and Commercial Workers-backed effort to boost standards at the retail giant.

N.W.T. government fined $115K for workers’ asbestos exposure
CBC News, June 5, 2015

The Northwest Territories government has been fined $115,000 after workers contracted to do repairs at Yellowknife’s museum were exposed to asbestos without proper protection.

At one point a government supervisor held a meeting about the possibility of asbestos contamination in the room where the asbestos contamination was suspected, and none of the people in attendance was wearing protective clothing.

This is the second time in a year the territorial government has been fined under the Safety Act. In July 2014, the government was fined $75,000 and one of its contractors $7,500 in relation to a 2012 workplace accident on the Abraham Francis ferry near Fort McPherson, N.W.T.

Ontario teachers gearing up for fall job action
The Star, June 7, 2015

Ontario’s teacher unions say work-to-rule, followed by one-day or rotating strikes, will happen this fall if no collective agreements are worked out between now and the start of school.

Leaders of the four teacher unions — representing public elementary and secondary teachers, Catholic and French — met Thursday night in downtown Toronto to map out possible co-ordinated job action, as all are expected to be in strike position by September.

The bully in the workplace
RankandFile.ca, June 5, 2015

“Air Canada’s Customer Sales and Service Agents are the stars of a tightly orchestrated pre flight and pre-boarding process”, reads Air Canada’s En Route magazine. This very strategically placed article was printed in the May issue of En Route in the midst of contract negotiations. Although one would be led to believe that Air Canada has respect and praise for its’ front line employees, this could not be further from the truth. In recent months Air Canada’s over 3400 customer sales and service staff have been threatened with job outsourcing, as has already happened in London Heathrow. The company has even prepared for a strike by training replacement workers from the security company Garda.

As Air Canada’s first female pilot retires, 95 per cent are still men
CTV News, May 25, 2015

As Air Canada’s first female pilot retires after 37 years on the job, she says she is surprised how few have followed her pioneering career path.

“They have thousands of applications,” says Capt. Judy Cameron says of her airline, “not that many are from women.”

Cameron made front-page news in 1978 when she started her job with the national airline. At the time, most women did not work outside the home and aviation was especially male-dominated.

It’s official – second class citizenship goes into effect
B.C. Civil Liberties Association, June 3, 2015

Last Friday, part of Bill C-24 went into effect, officially creating a two-tier citizenship system. As a result of this new law, dual citizens and people who have immigrated to Canada can have their citizenship taken away while other Canadians cannot. The government’s press release last week tried to justify this discriminatory law by raising the threat of “jihadi terrorism,” but Bill C-24 could easily be used against non-terrorists—for example, a journalist who is convicted of a “terrorism offence” in another country for reporting on human rights violations by the government.

Unions resist as federal government seeks changes to employee sick leave provisions
Rabble.ca, June 5, 2015

As the federal government approaches its summer recess, one of the Conservative government’s top priorities is to get the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-59, passed in both the House and the Senate. Public service unions are watching the progress of the bill closely, and preparing to fight for the rights of public employees.

Young Greek radicals don’t just want power – they want to remake the world
The Guardian, June 7, 2015

At some point, as the Greek crisis lurches to its crescendo, Syriza – the radical left party – will call a meeting of something called a central committee. The term sounds quaint to 21st-century ears: the committee is so big that it has to meet in a cinema. You will not be surprised to learn that the predominant hair colour is grey.

These are people who were underground activists in a military dictatorship; some served jail time, and in 1973 many were among the students who defied tanks and destroyed a junta. But they think, speak and act in a way shaped by the hierarchies and power concepts of 50 years ago.

Michelle Rempel, Jason Kenney Tweet About Tim Hortons, Not TRC
Huffington Post, June 6, 2015

Two federal cabinet ministers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on a Tim Hortons controversy this week, but not on a landmark report into Canada’s residential school system.

Alberta Conservative MPs Michelle Rempel and Jason Kenney, both voracious tweeters, jumped into the fray of the #BoycottTims campaign Thursday.

Federal unions ready to fight budget Bill C-59
Ottawa Citizen, June 3, 2015

Unions representing Canada’s public servants gave a Senate committee a dry run of the legal challenge they will launch if the budget bill that overrides federal labour laws is passed.

The leaders of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada told senators on the national finance committee Tuesday that the 17 federal unions will “take every legal avenue” to challenge Bill C-59 if passed.

Toyota organizing drive renewed as Corolla production stops
RankandFile.ca, June 4, 2015

The April 15 announcement that production of the top selling Toyota Corolla would no longer be built in Canada has reignited the union drive at Toyota’s assembly plants in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario.

The current drive was launched in late 2013, and began to cool down late last year. However it has been workers at Toyota, and not Unifor’s organizers who are behind this renewed push.unifor

unifor“All of this ramping up of activity is in response to the workers’ desires. They called us,” says Unifor organizer Bob Van Cleef. “Obviously the messages we’ve been providing the workers over the years has resonated, because as soon as the Corolla announcement was made the workers responded by coming to us.”

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