Labour News Update: Monday, Aug. 23, 2015

Harper’s retirement policies | Better scheduling win at Loblaws | Salvation Army labour history | Closing research libraries | Strike deadline for CUPE ed. workers | Workers and the election | Jump in EI claims | Super C grocery workers unionize | Why Black votes matter | Panhandlers join union | 36 years in poverty and pain


Document raises questions about Harper retirement policies
Finance Canada review of Canada’s retirement system says Canada scores poorly among OECD countries

Dean Beeby
CBC News 
Aug. 23, 2015

Canada scores poorly among developed countries in providing public pensions to seniors, according to an internal analysis of retirement income by the federal government.

And voluntary tax-free savings accounts or TFSAs, introduced by the Harper Conservatives in 2009, are so far unproven as a retirement solution and are largely geared to the wealthy.

Those are some highlights of a broad review of Canada’s retirement income system ordered by the Privy Council Office and completed in March this year by the Finance Department, with input from several other departments.

Loblaws rings in better scheduling for part-time workers
Union negotiates scheduling pilots that could give over 10,500 workers more predictable working hours
Sara Mojtehedzadeh
The Toronto Star

Aug. 22, 2015

Fair scheduling could soon be the norm at Canada’s largest food retailer.

Following a new deal struck with union United Food and Commercial Workers, Ontario’s 60 Loblaws Great Food and Superstores is introducing a series of pilots to make part-timers’ schedules more predictable and guarantee them better hours.

The first test, launched this month, provides all part-time workers with 10 days advance notice on scheduling. Previously, they received just three.

Respect begins at work: a short labour history of the Salvation Army
Marion Pollack

Aug. 21, 2015

The Salvation Army’s mission statement identifies respect as a core value, which includes a commitment to promote the dignity of all persons. According to its website, the Salvation Army helps one person at a time, believing that each person is infinitely valuable and equally worthy.

Yet often, the Salvation Army’s organizational values do not apply to workers. A comprehensive review of the Salvation Army’s labour practices over the last 20 years reveals that it desperately needs to adopt a new approach to eradicating poverty and serving humanity.

Research library’s closure shows Harper government targets science ‘at every turn,’ union says
Latest closure affects the Agriculture and Agri-Food Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta
CBC News
Aug. 21, 2015

The union representing federal scientists says the agriculture research library in the southern Alberta city of Lethbridge has been quietly closed.

The Agriculture and Agri-Food Lethbridge Research Centre was created in 1906 and provided scientific information to scientists with Agriculture Canada, as well as technicians and students.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) — which represents approximately 15,000 federal scientists — says the closure brings the number of federal science libraries lost due to cuts, closures and consolidations to 16 since 2012.

Strike deadline set for CUPE Ontario’s 55,000 education workers
CUPE Ontario
Aug. 21, 2015

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 55,000 education workers in Ontario’s schools, requested a no-board report on Wednesday, potentially putting its members across the province in a legal strike position the first week of school.

CUPE’s no-board request was initiated after its demand for conciliation failed to produce sufficient bargaining dates from the province and the Council of Trustees Association. Only three additional bargaining days were offered prior to the start of school.

Workers, unions and the election

Doug Nesbitt and Dave BushStephen Harper
Aug. 20, 2015

When the writ for the federal election dropped on Aug. 2, both political parties and trade unions moved into full election mode. The lengthy 78 day election period puts spending constraints upon unions including direct election spending and third party campaigning on issues relating to the election. Most unions will be devoting their resources to reaching their membership on issues that matter to them.

Canadian EI Claims Jump To Highest Level Since Financial Crisis
Daniel Tencer
The Huffington Post
Aug. 20, 2015

•    Alberta, Ontario see largest spikes in EI claims
•    Weakness in economy only now ‘showing up in labour market’
•    But wholesale trade data suggests a comeback

The number of people filing first-time employment insurance claims in Canada has jumped to its highest level since the global financial crisis, suggesting the economic slowdown in the first half of this year is having an effect on the nationwide job market.

Workers at Super C Rouyn-Noranda join the union – UFCW 501
Aug. 20, 2015

Rouyn-Noranda, Que. – August 20, 2015 – Workers at the Super C grocery store in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec are the newest members of UFCW Canada Local 501 after a majority of employees said “Yes!” to joining the union. The new bargaining unit was certified by the Quebec Labour Relations Board following an application submission earlier this summer.

Super C is owned by Metro, the third-largest grocery chain in Canada and one of the major employers represented by UFCW Canada.

“If you want to change anything, you need to make your voices heard”
Here’s why Black Votes Matter.
Jacob Boon
The Coast
Aug. 19, 2015

This Saturday, labour representatives and community leaders will gather at the Halifax North Memorial Library for a Black MarieClarkWalkerVotes Matter strategy session. The campaign, organized by the Canadian Labour Congress and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, aims to turn the tide on the systemic inequities faced by African Canadians by getting black voters out to the polls this fall.

To explain what’s happening and why this event is important to all Canadians, The Coast spoke with the CLC’s executive vice-president Marie Clarke Walker.

Quest for respect: Windsor’s panhandlers, street vendors join labour union 

Dave Battagello
The Windsor Star
Aug. 19, 2015

A group of Windsor panhandlers and street performers have joined a union and identified themselves as Street Labourers Of Windsor — or SLOW — in an effort to gain public respect.

Helping to organize the group is Andrew Nellis, the voice of the Ottawa Panhandlers’ Union until 2011 before moving to Windsor where he works the streets as a tarot card reader.

36 years spent in poverty and pain, injured worker says

CBC News
Aug. 18, 2015

A St. John’s man who has spent more than three decades enduring poverty and pain as a result of a workplace injury says he’s considering cancelling his compensation payments altogether.

Fred Palmer was injured while working on a railway in northern Ontario 36 years ago.

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