R&F Labour News Update – September 14, 2015

OSSTF ratification vote | ETFO talks breakdown | Nova Scotia’s Westray bill used against employer for worker death | U.S. Steel accused of manipulation | Liberal and Tories’ war on wages | Ontario education support workers job action | Forgotten labour struggles  | Gendered threats at UofT | McNeil’s movers | Starbucks lawsuit over sexual assault| Seattle teachers’ strike|

Vote No: An Open Letter to OSSTF Members
RankandFile.ca, September 10, 2015

After nearly a year of negotiations, during which time we were without a collective agreement, the Provincial Executive of our union, Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), has reached a tentative agreement with the Liberal government. As OSSTF members, we cannot vote in favour of this agreement and we urge our fellow members to vote no on September 16, when we will be asked to ratify it.

Talks break down between public elementary teachers, government
Windsor Star, September 11, 2015

Talks have broken down between public teachers and the provincial government just a week into the school year. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said in a news release Friday evening that the government and the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association walked away from the table after seven lengthy days of bargaining.

12009808_981070508617679_3386658618217456706_nEducation Support Workers Begin Work-to-Rule Campaign
AM 980, September 10, 2015

Thousands of education support workers are launching their first phase of work-to-rule on Thursday at schools across Ontario. The 55,000 CUPE members include educational assistants, office administrators, custodians, instructors, library technicians, early childhood educators and speech pathologists in Public, Catholic and French schools.“Our members’ work is important to student success in our schools,” said CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Coordinating Committee (OSBCC) Chair, Terri Preston. “We need all parties to understand how serious our members are about the services we provide and being treated with respect at work.”

McNeil’s Movers – Emptying Nova Scotia communities one at a time!
Halifax Media Co-op, September 8 2015

The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) launched a social media and TV campaign to bring attention to the McNeil government’s austerity agenda. A TV commercial that was first shown on Labour Day features a new moving company, McNeil’s Movers, that is promising to shake up the competition in Nova Scotia. It’s specialty is cheerful goodbyes. “Have services and jobs been moved out of your community?” a uniformed mover featured in the commercial asks. “McNeil’s movers are here to move you out too. Thanks to Nova Scotia’s cuts and privatization we’ve moved lots of jobs out of Nova Scotia. And we’re not done yet.”

Union seeks emergency court action to stop U.S. Steel moves
Hamilton Spectator, September 11, 2015

Steelworkers want an emergency court hearing to stop U.S. Steel from moving production of its highest-value products out of Hamilton and Nanticoke. In a letter to Superior Court Judge Herman Wilton-Siegel, the United Steelworkers accuse the company of trying to sabotage the former Stelco plants when they are already weakened and vulnerable.

Dartmouth auto shop owner charged under Westray Bill in mechanic’s death
CBC, September 10, 2015

A man who used to operate an auto repair shop in Dartmouth has been charged under the so-called Westray Bill, marking the first time the law — named for a Nova Scotia disaster — has been used against an employer in this province. Elie Hoyeck, who used to run Your Mechanic Auto Corner, has been charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with an explosion that killed Peter Kempton, a mechanic, two years ago. Kempton, 58, died of his injuries after he accidentally sparked the fire while dismantling a minivan with a torch on Sept. 20, 2013.

Saskatoon’s Comfort Cabs must pay more than $100K to terminated union organizers
CBC, September 11, 2015

The Saskatchewan Labour Relations ruled that Comfort Cabs in Saskatoon violated the Trade Union Act when it terminated four drivers. “The common theme of these allegations [by the drivers] was that Comfort Cabs had effectively terminated the employment of several taxi drivers because of their involvement in, or support for, an organizing campaign in the workplace,” board vice-chair Steven Schiefner wrote in an 11-page ruling.

How an Area’s Union Membership Can Predict Children’s Advancement
New York Times, September 9, 2015

It is well established that unions provide benefits to workers — that they raise wages for their members (and even for nonmembers). They can help reduce inequality. A new study suggests that unions may also help children move up the economic ladder. Researchers at Harvard, Wellesley and the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, released a paper Wednesday showing that children born to low-income families typically ascend to higher incomes in metropolitan areas where union membership is higher.

CUPE 3902 statement on on-campus threats and unsafe work.
CUPE 3902, September 10, 2015

As many of you will know from the Provost’s earlier message, public threats have been received at the University of Toronto. We can add the detail that these were gendered threats made specifically toward women and feminists. We can also add that the threats specifically encourage violence and target our members in their workplaces. Specifically mentioned are those working in Sociology and Women’s Studies classrooms. The wording and content of the threats are beyond abhorrent and will not be reproduced here. All members, but especially those who identify as women and those who work in the named Departments, should be aware and careful, and of course all of us should look out for one another.

This Labour Day, let’s remember five forgotten stories of struggle
RankandFile.ca, September 7, 2015

This status quo has done a disservice to the unique and telling battles of Canadian labour activists. In response, workers have documented their own histories. Retelling those stories ensures they don’t get lost in history. In the spirit of Labour Day – and to do justice to the history of the Canadian labour movement – the following beg to be retold.

Stephen Harper continues the Liberal war to drive down wages
Toronto Star, September 11, 2015

The war to drive down wages continues apace. Stephen Harper is prosecuting it. But he did not start it.
The Conservative prime minister is merely playing his part in a war that started long ago — a war stemming from the needs of business to drive down labour costs in a fiercely competitive world. To date, neither Tom Mulcair’s New Democrats nor Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have come up with much to reverse the damage caused by this war. Damage there has been. In the ’80s and ’90s, the Bank of Canada, with the approval of successive Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments, engineered two punishing recessions in order to boost unemployment and squeeze wages.

seattle_teacher_strike_wide_crowdNo school Monday for Seattle as talks continue in teachers strike
Seattle Times, September 13, 2015

Seattle Public Schools teachers are heading into the second week of a strike, with no school planned Monday. Negotiations between the Seattle Education Association (SEA) and the school district continued Sunday, but without enough progress to predict an end to a teacher walkout. At an evening news conference, teachers-union representatives said too many differences remain with the district over pay, student testing and a proposal to lengthen the school day.

Starbucks facing $1M lawsuit after alleged assault
Toronto Star, September 9, 2015

Shannon Mishimagi says all she wanted was to feel safe again. The 23-year-old student and former Starbucks barista claims that, instead, she was scheduled to work under a supervisor about whom she had complained to management, alleging he had physically assaulted and threatened her. The allegations are now the subject of a $1 million lawsuit against Starbucks Canada, which Mishimagi claims failed to uphold their duty to make her workplace safe, and the supervisor, Gurjaspreet Jolly.

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