Labour news update: August 17, 2015

Opposition to Canada Post ‘super mailboxes’ fanned by election
CBC News, August 15, 2015

David Heap has knocked on a lot of doors over nearly five decades, but the community activist in London, Ont., can’t remember ever getting a response like the one he’s received about Canada Post’s plans to end urban door-to-door delivery and put up neighbourhood super mailboxes in many places across the country.

“People come across the street … and say: ‘Hey, could we have that sign about saving door to door? Have you got a letter I could sign?’ says Heap, an organizer with Londoners for Door to Door.

Pro-Tory group seeks to fly Canadian voters in from Israel
Toronto Star, August 12, 2015

Conservative leader Stephen Harper could be in line for a late-campaign boost in support from a group raising money so that Canadian citizens living in Israel can cast a ballot in the election and encourage Jews to get to the voting box.

The gesture is intended as political payback for a politician viewed as an unabashed ally of the Jewish state, one who has proven himself to be “Israel’s best friend among world leaders,” according to the fundraising campaign.

The online crowdsourcing effort has already solicited more than $4,700 to fly voters for the final week of the Oct. 19 election.

NDP would lead a minority government if elections held today, Tories slip to third: Léger poll
National Post, August 15, 2015

The NDP would lead a minority government and Thomas Mulcair would be Canada’s prime minister if elections were to be held today, a new poll by Léger suggests.

Support for the NDP party nationwide is at 33 per cent, as compared to 28 per cent for the Liberal Party and 27 per cent for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, the survey of 2,095 Canadians conducted Aug. 10 to Aug. 12 for the Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir found. Harper launched the federal elections on Aug. 2. Voters go to the polls Oct. 19.

Airport taxi protests quieter after court injunction
Ottawa Citizen, August 16, 2015

Airport Taxi drivers spent Saturday and Sunday picketing in reduced numbers after Friday’s injunction that limits demonstrations at Ottawa International Airport.

The injunction says drivers in a labour dispute with their representative company, Coventry Connections, and airport management are limited to 20 pickets in a fenced-off area that the demonstrators are calling “a cage.”

Late Sunday, driver Amarber Sohi said the drivers are frustrated but obeying the injunction.

If you get a call from the “Voter Outreach Centre,” it’s the Conservative party
Ottawa Citizen, August 12, 2015

Telephone solicitors working for the Conservative party are again identifying themselves with the generic-sounding name “Voter Outreach Centre” in calls to potential supporters.

Websites that track unsolicited calls list numerous accounts from people who received these phone calls from numbers in Saskatchewan, Ottawa, British Columbia and the suburban Toronto area since the campaign began.

The name might confuse some voters, but the calls appear to be compliant with CRTC rules because they also refer to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and/or the Conservative party. Many who reported on the sites said the callers identified themselves as phoning on behalf of Harper as well as the Voter Outreach Centre.

Alberta group to campaign against Toronto NDP candidate Linda McQuaig
Toronto Sun, August 12, 2015

An Alberta business group is coming to town to campaign against Toronto Centre NDP candidate Linda McQuaig because of her anti-oilsands comments.

The Alberta Business and Taxpayers Coalition (ABTC) will be in the downtown riding next month to urge voters to support anyone but the NDP star candidate. The group pledged Wednesday to knock on doors, drop literature and robocall against McQuaig.

Duffy scandal: Who said what, when?
CBC News, August 14, 2015

How emails from the Duffy trial compare to statements from Stephen Harper and his spokesperson

Watch the full coverage at CBC News on-line.

Harper was kept in loop as PMO tried to manage Senate scandal, Duffy trial told
Toronto Star, August 13, 2015

Stephen Harper maintains he knew nothing about the $90,000 cheque cut by his former chief of staff for Mike Duffy, but emails released Thursday show the Conservative leader was kept in the loop as his office tried to manage the Senate scandal.

The emails, released at the Duffy trial in Ottawa, show more of the behind-the-scenes efforts by Harper’s top staffers to manage the scandal’s fallout.

Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, wrote on Feb. 18, 2013 that the prime minister should be briefed on their efforts to clarify Senate residency requirements. The plan appears to have been getting Conservative senators to strike a committee to clarify the rules.

Turning an issue into a campaign
Labournotes.org, August 14, 2015

Sandi walks up to you, the steward, just as the hallways start filling with noisy high schoolers heading for the bus. She is ready to blow her top, and over the din she tells you her supervisor is demanding that she continue driving special labournotseducation students in her own car—long a part of her job as a teaching assistant—despite a recent warning from her insurance agent that she’s not covered for it.

“He told me if I refuse to drive, I’m fired,” she says. “I’ve been in this job seven years, never any problem. Can he do that?”

London’s EMS tab going up $387,000
London Free Press, August 13, 2015

London taxpayers will pay $387,000 a year to beef up ambulance coverage in the far reaches of Middlesex County, thanks to changes pushed through by the union representing paramedics.

The added hit isn’t the first: the city must pay about $135,000 extra a year because of a deal inked by the former council that changed the way costs are split between the city and the county.

If that doesn’t set off an alarm, consider this: City taxpayers pay about 85 per cent of local costs for ambulance service, even though staffing levels suggest the real city share is between 75 per cent and 80 per cent — no small difference when the total local cost is nearly $14 million.

Weekend Video: Harper’s economic record
RankandFile.ca, August 15, 2015

Rhetoric clashes with reality when it comes to Stephen Harper’s economic record. Not only is it bad, it’s actually the worst of any prime minister since World War II. Unifor economist Jim Stanford explains.

Province-wide blitz shows majority of temp agencies on wrong side of the law
Toronto Star, August 12, 2015

Almost 75 per cent of temporary agencies audited by the Ministry of Labour this year broke the law — with the top three offenders based in the GTA, according to a detailed breakdown requested by the Star.

Of the 50 temp agencies visited by the ministry in its latest inspection blitz, just 13 were violation-free. The remaining 37 failed to live up to a range of their duties under the Employment Standards Act, including paying overtime, public holiday pay and vacation pay.

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