R&F Labour News Update – October 12, 2015

Auto-sector protection under TPP deal less than Ottawa touted | Judge sides with U.S. Steel | Canadian postal workers challenge 2011 back-to-work order | Striking for Good Jobs in Jane & Finch | Remember the Temporary Foreign Worker Scandal? It’s Back | Why elementary teachers continue to fight | A Maple Fall in Quebec? | Privatization accelerated under Sask. Party, says report | Union accuses Canada Post of illegal ‘sales pitch’ for Conservatives | How a decade of flipped contracts wreaked havoc on one man’s life | OPSEU workers reach tentative deal with Ontario government

Auto-sector protection under TPP deal less than Ottawa touted
Steven Chase, The Globe & Mail
October 8 2015

The Canadian government has omitted a key detail from its public explanation of what would change for this country’swikileaks-tpp-investment-cartoon vital auto sector under the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

And pressure is building on Ottawa to release the full text of this massive Pacific Rim deal before voters cast their ballots on Oct. 11.

Judge sides with U.S. Steel
Mark McNeil, Hamilton Spectator
October 9 2015

U.S. Steel Canada has been given the judicial go-ahead to cut off health insurance benefit payments to thousands of its pensioners, while holding back millions of dollars in municipal taxes to the City of Hamilton.

The controversial decision by Justice Herman J. Wilton-Siegel late Friday afternoon is also “an important step in separating the two parties,” according to a statement from the parent company, U.S. Steel Corp.

Canadian postal workers challenge 2011 back-to-work order
Vanessa Lu, The Toronto Star
October 8 2015

Postal workers are challenging federal back-to-work legislation brought in during a 2011 labour dispute, saying it denied them key charter protections.

At issue is Bill C-6, Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act, which Parliament enacted in June 2011 after a series of rotating strikes by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers that was followed by a nationwide lockout of employees that shut down Canada Post’s operations.

Striking for Good Jobs in Jane & Finch
UNITE HERE Local 75
October 5 2015

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Hotel workers at the Holiday Inn Express North York, located at 30 Norfinch Drive in the city’s 75north-west end, went on strike today as they continue to stand up for good jobs in the Jane & Finch community. While employers at dozens of other GTA-area hotels have settled fair contacts with their workers, the owner/operator of the Holiday Inn Express North York, the Hamilton-based Vrancor Group, has failed to agree to the union’s proposals.

“We’re going out on strike to protect good jobs in our community,” says Veronica Cousins, a Room Attendant at the hotel. “The Jane & Finch community needs good jobs with decent pay and benefits – we deserve our fair share and we won’t let our employer sell this community short.”

Remember the Temporary Foreign Worker Scandal? It’s Back
Jeremy J. Nuttall, The Tyee
October 9 2015

Did the Harper government repair its Temporary Foreign Worker Program mess, or did it just use sleight of hand to distract voters from what loomed as a political threat for the 2015 election?

In the midst of a tight race where jobs are a top concern, critics say the TFWP fix is proving to be a mirage, and deserves to be a bigger campaign issue.

Why elementary teachers continue to fight
Sachin Maharaj, The Toronto Star
October 5 2015

Elementary teachers in Ontario have stepped up their work-to-rule campaign and are no longer regularly communicating with parents, updating websites and blogs, and will not be attending parent-teacher interviews. This is on top of the previous job action that saw an end to field trips and report card comments. But why doesn’t the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) just agree to the deal that was accepted by Ontario’s other teacher unions?

Part of the reason is that teaching at the elementary level is unique. Whereas high school students are learning mainly content, kids at the elementary level are learning how to learn, social skills, emotional regulation, and a host of other things, in addition to whatever the subject area may happen to be. And even when it comes to subject areas, elementary teachers teach their students a range of subjects like English, math and science, whereas high school teachers typically teach in just one subject area.

A Maple Fall in Quebec?
Ashley Smith, Jacobin
October 9 2015

Last Saturday in Montreal, in front of throngs of cheering demonstrators, Daniel Boyer, president of the Fédération des Travelaileurs du Québec (FTQ) declared, “I’m not going to say that this will be the last peaceful demonstration, but we’re moving toward more muscular tactics.”

Boyer’s remarks were just another sign of growing unrest in Quebec.

Saturday’s march brought 150,000 people — trade unionists, their families, and supporters — into the streets to protest Premier Philippe Couillard’s attack on public-sector workers and government services.

Privatization accelerated under Sask. Party, says report
Natascia Lypny, Regina Leader-Post
October 9 2015

REGINA — A policy think tank is bringing attention to what it sees as an “acceleration” of privatization under the Saskatchewan Party, something the deputy premier dismisses as “fearmongering.”

A new report by the Saskatchewan office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives documents what it considers to be more than 50 instances of privatization, or at least announced plans for it, in the past decade, from the sale of Crown subsidiaries to public-private partnerships to the contracting out of public services.

Union accuses Canada Post of illegal ‘sales pitch’ for Conservatives
Deane McRobie, iPolitics.ca
October 7 2015

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is accusing Canada Post of unlawful election spending that benefits the Conservatives.

The CUPW’s complaint concerns flyers and mail-outs, distributed by Canada Post, promoting the ‘community mailboxes’ that would replace door-to-door delivery.

“They’re conducting elections advertising as defined by the Fair Elections Act, and up until now they’ve not listed as a third party with Elections Canada,” Mike Palecek, president of the CUPW, told iPolitics. “CUPW has filed a complaint with Elections Canada. The elections commissioner will be … looking into the complaint.”

How a decade of flipped contracts wreaked havoc on one man’s life
Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star
October 7 2015

For 10 years, Abdullahi Bare woke up at 5 a.m. for his first job and returned at 11 p.m. from his second: a zombie-esque existence that at least paid the bills.

In retrospect, those were the good times.

After losing his job in the latest round of contract-flipping at Pearson Airport, the 62-year-old former parking attendant is wondering how he will support his family on just one low-wage job — and why after three decades of hard work, he is only just barely surviving.

OPSEU workers reach tentative deal with Ontario government
Adrian Morrow, The Globe & Mail
October 6 2015

The Ontario government has reached a tentative deal with one of its largest and most vocal unions, which had been without a contract since the end of last year.

Deputy Premier Deb Matthews, who is overseeing labour negotiations for the province, on Tuesday announced a three-year collective agreement with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. She touted the agreement as “net zero,” meaning any pay increases were offset by cuts to benefits or other elements of the contract. A source said OPSEU will receive a modest raise and lump-sum payment, offset by a cut to termination pay.

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