R&F Labour News Update – September 28, 2015

ETFO work to rule | Good Jobs in Moose Jaw | Farm worker safety | Sid Ryan Resigns OFL | Edmonton cabbies protest | TPP will destroy auto jobs | Save Canada Post report card | TFWP data now cost money | McGill TAs on voting to strike | Graphic History Collective unionizes | Montreal teachers work to rule | Health Science guards in Winnipeg picket for contract | Doctor sues WSIB for firing over giving medical opinions | CBC selling all properties | Joe Oliver denies recession | Still Fighting for $15 | What the Seattle teachers won |

ETFO job action does not jeopardize student safety
September 26, 2015, CTV News

The union representing Ontario’s public elementary teachers says it will not take any work-to-rule strike action that would jeopardize students’ safety. In statement released on Saturday, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said its teachers are “continuing to provide daily instruction to students and have the safety of their students as a prime objective.” The statement comes as a response to recent letter by the Ontario Principals’ Council accusing the EFTO’s work-to-rule campaign of creating unsafe conditions for students.

12032150_998037063552570_3884890605873229203_nWorkers rally to protect jobs in Moose Jaw
September 23, 2015, Moose Jaw Times Herald

Unifor, along with CUPE, SEIU-West and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, held a rally “to protect good jobs in Moose Jaw.” With Michelson listening to every speaker, the topics of privatization and job losses were brought up. “In Moose Jaw, there are workers that are losing their jobs as a result of the Valley View closure and privatization of the hospital’s laundry services in the province,” said Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.

CBC announces plans to sell off all buildings in midst of election campaign
September 22, 2015, CMG

CBC announced today at a town hall for staff that it is selling all its property across the country, including major production facilities in Montreal and Toronto. These buildings were paid for by Canadians to allow the public broadcaster to produce quality original Canadian programming purely in the public interest. The announcement confirms a trend to strip CBC of that ability.

3,000 Windsor auto sector jobs under threat with new trade deal
September 21, 2015, Windsor Star

A new Pacific Rim trade deal, which the Harper government is negotiating in the midst of a federal election campaign, could cost the Windsor area’s already battered automotive sector at least another 3,000 jobs, says Unifor. “From the auto sector perspective, the only question is, how bad will it hurt? There’s no possibility this (Trans-Pacific Partnership) will benefit,” said Jim Stanford, an economist with Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union.

Edmonton cabbies took off their shirts and demanded pizza at a protest over Uber. But they also had a point.
September 23, 2015, Calgary Herald

The cabbies came out in force, 200 men strong. They stormed out of their seats and shut down a council meeting Tuesday. They made council retreat into a behind-the-scenes lounge. A few cabbies even took off their shirts in protest to symbolize their fears that council’s actions will impoverish them. And a few defamed Mayor Don Iveson and various councillors, alleging council was in the pocket of a giant American company, and that council was glibly ruining the lives of cab drivers. It was the rawest, most heated council meeting I’ve witnessed since taking this job in 2010, though it never crossed a line. The cabbies staged an angry protest, but they never morphed into a chaotic mob. They made a point, not a riot.

A $15 Minimum Wage Is a Step Towards a More Fair Canada
September 21, 2015, Huffington Post

To address this growing inequality, people across Canada have begun to push for a $15 federal minimum wage. A federal $15 minimum wage is vital not only because it would impact those who work under federally regulated industries but more importantly because it would restore the leadership role of the federal government in setting a fair minimum wage and thus provide a standard for all provinces to then follow suit. A $15 minimum wage is a fair and legitimate minimum, below which no employer nor government should fall.

Montreal teachers’ pressure tactics are taking a toll
September 22, 2015, Montreal Gazette

Heidi Yetman, an art teacher at Beaconsfield High School, said that since the work-to-rule campaign began, she no longer allows students to drop by on their lunch hour. “My classroom door used to always be open and there were always kids in here,” she said. “But now, I’m taking my 50-minute lunch and I close the door.” Yetman has 35 students in her Grade 11 art class and said there are three other students who would like to take her class, but the administration has decided the class size would be too big. She said she is worried that if the government removes limits on class sizes, there could be 40 students in a classroom next year. She said the pressure tactics have shown her students the importance for standing up for your rights and standing up for yourself. “It has been a good learning experience for them, especially the ones is Grade 11,” she said.

09-28-15_Report Card _Election_September 2015_ESave Canada Post Report Card
September 23, 2015, CUPW

CUPW releases its Save Canada Post report card assessing each party’s platform in terms of postal service and delivery. The Conservatives bring up the rear with an F for wanting to eliminate door-to-door service.

Want New Temporary Foreign Worker Data? Pay Up, Feds Say
September 24, 2015, The Tyee

Anyone who wants to know how many temporary foreign workers have come to Canada in the first half of 2015 will have to pay to find out, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The request for payment comes more than a year after Employment and Social Development Canada, a separate department, promised it would publicly post such data each quarter in a press release detailing changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Health Sciences Centre guards picket over job dangers
September 22, 2015, CBC News

Security guards at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre picketed on Tuesday to call attention to what they call dangerous working conditions, poor wages and high turnover. There are 80 security staff at Manitoba’s largest hospital and about half of them have quit over the last five years due to work stress, said Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU) president Michelle Gawronsky

Halifax sushi restaurants abusing workplace rights, foreign students say
September 23, 2015 CBC News

Some international students in Halifax say they are working for less than minimum wage in local restaurants and face other unfair work conditions, including employers that refuse to hand over tips.A CBC News investigation has also learned at least one sushi restaurant is under investigation by the Department of Labour, after a former employee filed a complaint claiming he was not paid for time spent training.

Farmers against farm safety in Alberta
September 25, 2015, RankandFile.ca

Over the summer, there were encouraging signs that Alberta’s New Democratic government was going to provide Alberta farm workers with basic workplace rights, such as the right to refuse unsafe work. The details remain sketchy (the NDP inherited a pretty full plate of problems!) but one report suggests farms will become subject to the occupational health and safety regime effective in 2017. The farm lobby has long resisted being subject to OHS rules, arguing that farms are somehow special because most (at least 96% in 2011) are owned by families. The relevance of ownership is hard to see

MD claims WSIB fired her over medical opinion
September 23, 2015, Toronto Star

A Hamilton-area physician is suing the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and her former employer for $3.2 million, claiming she was fired when she wouldn’t deliver a medical opinion that suited the WSIB. Dr. Brenda Steinnagel, 50, is alleging in her statement of claim that she was terminated last April after the WSIB repeatedly demanded that her employer, Vaughan-based Workplace Health and Cost Solutions, change the medical opinion she authored on a hospital worker who was claiming benefits after suffering head injuries while trying to restrain a patient.

Illustrating the Freelancer’s Organizing Model
September 22, 2015 RankandFile.ca

On September 2nd, the Graphic History Collective (GHC), a volunteer-run collective producing comic books on Canada’s labour and working class history, announced that it has joined the Canadian Freelance Union (CFU). The CFU is a Community Chapter of Unifor. This type of organization gives its members some of the benefits of unionizing outside of the traditional employment relationship. Such employment conditions are the norm amongst freelancers and independent media workers in general and the GHC collective in particular.

Oliver denies recession, but data suggest otherwise
September 23, 2015, Globe and Mail

12009596_902726086441090_4050355532984060964_nJoe Oliver is standing by his claim that Canada did not slip into recession, even though statistics show the economy met his own definition of a technical recession. Speaking to the U.S.-based Associated Press wire service, the Conservative candidate and federal finance minister is quoted as rejecting the view that Canada experienced a recession in the first half of 2015.

Reflections from a departing labour federation president: Sid Ryan
September 22, 2015, Toronto Star

Today, I am issuing a challenge to these labour leaders to live up to their words: build an open and progressive labour movement that puts equity and social justice at its core, even when doing the right thing is unpopular. And to the union membership, I give the biggest responsibility: hold your elected leadership to the task, demand openness and transparency, call for equity and inclusion and, above all, give them the confidence to take strident stances. After all, none of us can accomplish a better future unless all of us believes that a better future is possible.

McGill TAs should vote to strike
September 22, 2015, McGill Daily

Since McGill teaching assistants (TAs) first organized collectively in 1974, we have struggled to guarantee that we are paid for all of the work that we do. Every gain we’ve made has had at least two notable consequences: it has lessened the burden faced by graduate students working as TAs so we are better able to study and conduct the research on which McGill prides itself, and it has supported the quality of instruction that undergraduate students receive. More than a year after our last collective agreement expired in June 2014, TAs at McGill are reaching the end of the bargaining process over a new contract. McGill’s administration made its final offer at the bargaining table on September 1, and TAs will be voting at the General Assembly for their union, AGSEM, on September 30 to determine whether to accept this offer or fight back by striking.

The surprising things Seattle teachers won for students by striking
September 25, 2015, Washington Post

Seattle teachers went on strike for a week this month with a list of goals for a new contract. By the time the strike officially ended this week, teachers had won some of the usual stuff of contract negotiations — for example, the first cost-of-living raises in six years — but also less standard objectives.

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