R&F Labour News Update – July 6 2015

Ontario Loblaws strike | Pearson wildcat strike | C-377 | London, Ontario vs Austerity | C-59 court challenge | Air Canada bargaining | PEI minimum wage | Halifax Water | Nunavut power workers | Toronto taxi drivers | LiUNA endorses Liberal | Janitor union-busting | Wage theft Ontario | OPSEU CarePartners strike | Corner Brook firefighters | Lac-Mégantic

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt still refuses to call a public inquiry into the Lac-Mégantic disaster that killed 47 while Transport Canada was failing to enforce safety standards and the cost-cutting rail companies were “self-regulating”


Larger strike at Loblaws delayed by bargaining
Ahmad Hathout, Globe and Mail
July 5 2015

Loblaws and the United Food and Commercial Workers union representing 26,000 of its employees reached a breakthrough in the impasse that prompted a strike at nine stores and imposed a deadline for a strike at another 60. After two days of negotiations, UFCW said on Friday it appeared to have reached an agreement for Loblaws to amend the June 2 offer and has changed the strike deadline for 60 stores in the Greater Toronto Area to 12:01 a.m. July 11 from 12:01 a.m. July 5.

Pearson fuelling workers wildcat strike over subcontracting switch
CBC News
July 3 2015

Almost 200 flights were cancelled at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Friday after workers assigned to fuel aircraft called in sick, joining an unsanctioned job action that has hit Air Canada the hardest. Consolidated Aviation Fueling Services saw less than half of its expected employees show up for morning and early afternoon shifts at Pearson today. Some 300 fuelling workers with Local 2413 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers expect to lose their jobs this October after Air Canada opted to switch providers.

The anti-union C-377 has been rammed through the Senate by Harper's unelected buddies.
The anti-union C-377 has been rammed through the Senate by Harper’s unelected buddies. Learn more about the truth behind Bill C-377 here.

Public service unions file charter challenge over legislated sick leave changes
CBC News
June 29 2015

Federal public service unions have filed a legal challenge to the budget bill C-59 passed earlier this year arguing that the bill’s plan to overhaul sick leave and disability programs violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Bill C-59 would give the government the ability to act before the conclusion of bargaining, something unions argue contravenes the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

Advances for Air Canada workers or an opportunity lost?
Andrew Stevens, Rankandfile.ca
June 30 2015

With record profits, growing share value, and an end to Air Canada’s “pension crisis”, labour peace in being secured between Air Canada and its major employee groups. But is this a sign of advancement for workers or the legacy of concessions dating back to the company’s bankruptcy a decade earlier? Most importantly, was Air Canada’s renewed prosperity and the government’s attention to the upcoming election an opportunity lost for Unifor and its members in the airline industry?

Toronto Taxi drivers threaten strike over Uber during Pan Am Games
Ann Hui, Globe and Mail
July 2 2013

Sajid Mughal, whose iTaxiworkers Association represents more than 500 cab drivers in Toronto, told reporters Thursday “the message we’re getting from the drivers is that we should shut down the city.” Taxi officials in Canada’s largest city said Thursday that the industry is “on its last legs” and threatened to “shut down” Toronto during the Games if police and Mayor John Tory don’t crack down on the ride-sharing company Uber, which cab drivers allege operates an illegal taxi service.

LiUNA endorses Liberals at Canadian Conference
Chris Gosse, Rankandfile.ca
July 1 2015

Canada’s biggest construction union, the Laborer’s International Union of North America (LiUNA) recently held their Canadian Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland and endorsed Liberal candidate Seamus O’Regan in the next federal election. O’Regan is running in a riding (St. John’s South) currently held by NDP MP Ryan Cleary, who is very informed about working people’s issues. Cleary is a far stronger candidate when it comes to helping constituents oppose Harper’s anti-labour agenda. So why has LiUNA not supported the traditional party of labour?

After four straight months of economic contraction, Joe Oliver is still in denial about the economy.
After four straight months of economic contraction, Joe Oliver is still in denial about the economy.

Wage theft puts woman at “rock bottom”
Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Toronto Star
June 30 2015

Two-and-a-half years later, Chelsea Phelan-Tran is still waiting, even after the Ministry of Labour ruled she was legally owed the money. But the ministry still hasn’t managed to collect it, and appears to no longer be trying. “It’s money that I deserve, it’s money I worked hard for,” says Phelan-Tran. “It’s heartbreaking that this how our government is treating us.” Last year, 63 per cent of all orders to pay issued to employers by the Ministry of Labour went uncollected, according to figures requested by the Star.

Fighting austerity in London, Ontario
Gerard Di Trolio, Rankandfile.ca
July 2 2015

London, Ontario has become a flashpoint showing the destructive intersection of austerity and neoliberal economic policy that has transformed Southwestern Ontario into Canada’s rustbelt. The latest showdown in the city highlights the austerity that has been taking its toll on the public service. 750 members of CUPE Local 101 representing the city’s inside workers have been out on strike for nearly six weeks. The sticking points not only include wages, but issues of benefits, scheduling, and seniority rights.

Halifax Water picket lines now featuring chickens!
Shay Enxuga, Rankandfile.ca
July 3 2015

Halifax Water Workers are staying strong on the picket lines. CUPE Local 227 (outside20150702_093752 workers) and CUPE Local 1431 (inside workers), representing collectively over 300 workers, have been locked out now for six weeks as they try to defend their pensions. Management is proposing massive rollbacks that could see workers’ pensions slashed by up to 30 percent.

Fourth picket hit by car in CarePartners first contract strike
Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer
July 3 2015

Another striker has been hit on the CarePartners picket line in Simcoe. This incident is the fourth since the home-care workers went on strike 85 days ago. OPSEU Local 294 represents 60 home-care workers and support staff in Norfolk and Niagara Region. Negotiations between CarePartners and the union are at a standstill. Union shop steward Linda Tracey says the main sticking point is the manner in which home-care nurses are paid. The union wants an hourly rate while the private health-care provider would like to continue paying nurses by the visit.

Nunavut energy workers threaten strike action
Nick Murray, CBC News
July 3 2015

The more than 140 unionized employees at the publicly-owned Nunavut power company Qulliq, who have been without a contract since the end of 2013, rejected the latest offer from the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Finance in a vote held on June 16. Bill Fennell, president of the Nunavut Employees Union, says Qulliq Energy Corporation workers are prepared to serve strike notice as early as Wednesday.

Union busting against janitors at Halifax TD Centre
Elizabeth McMillan, CBC News
July 3 2015

The union representing cleaners working in the TD Centre in downtown Halifax are accusing the building’s property management company of going with a non-unionized cleaning company just as the current janitors’ health benefits are kicking in. “It is really frustrating to see that the workers that make the place clean and presentable to others are not getting the benefits,” says Omar Joof, who spoke on behalf of the group Janitors for Justice of SEIU Local 2.

Corner Brook firefighter president suspended for criticizing service cuts
Diane Crocker, Western Star
July 3 2015

The president of the local firefighters union in Corner Brook has been suspended for comments he made in the media about the removal of a back-up fire truck in the city. Peter Daniels, acting president of the local union, made comments to the Western Star after a back-up pumper truck was taken off service in June, meaning the city’s firefighters could no longer respond to calls outside Corner Brook.

PEI minimum wage increase is not enough
Angela Walker, CBC News
June 30 2015

The minimum wage on P.E.I. goes up on July 1 from $10.35 an hour to $10.50. The announcement of the increase was actually made back in December but is just coming into effect now. P.E.I. Federation of Labour president Carl Pursey said it’s a step in the right direction but should be much higher.

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