Labour News Update: Nov. 23, 2015

US Steel deal | Nipissing labour unrest | Inside the Ottawa taxi lockout | Quebec public sector strike | Hamilton school board and cooks and custodians reach deal | new wage enforcement for truckers | The fruits of unpaid labour |  widening health inequality | flight attendants get 10-year deal | When the excluded organize | SGEU unhappy with liquor privatization | Oshawa social justice champion Beverly McCloskey dies | Rana lockout ends | Message to Sask government: Stop privatization! | Alberta’s updated safety laws

Locked out Ottawa cabbies protest Conventry Connections
Locked out Ottawa cabbies protest Conventry Connections

Ex-workers fight to see U.S. Steel deal
“As a creditor of the company, we need to know these details” says advocate acting for the company’s workers
Steve Arnold
Hamilton Spectator
Nov. 20, 2015

TORONTO — Lawyers argued Thursday for almost three hours over the definitions of two words in a verbal joust that could result in the release of a controversial deal that ended a federal lawsuit against U.S. Steel.

It’s a deal workers and others say they need to see in order to fully evaluate the company’s restructuring proposals.

Rally Calls for Government Action
Gord Young
The Nugget
Nov. 20, 2015

About 200 workers chanted and waved placards and flags outside Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli’s constituency office early Friday calling for an end to labour unrest and hospital cuts in North Bay.

Striking Nipissing University professors, locked-out Ontario Northland Transportation Commission workers and beleaguered North Bay Regional Health Centre staff joined with members of the North Bay and District Labour Council in demanding that the provincial government take action to quell the employment upheaval and to put an end the hospital cutbacks.

How to avoid getting “Ubered”
Inside the Ottawa Taxi Lockout
Joel Harden
Nov. 16, 2015

Last Friday my cell phone rang as I fed our kids breakfast. An Ottawa airport taxi activist was on the other line, among the many I’ve met during their labour dispute with Coventry Connections which has now lasted over three months.

“Joel”, he said, “forget about the solidarity demo we announced for 10am today. That was a diversion.”

“I’m calling you from the dispatch offices of Coventry Connections. We’re rallying outside the entrances — get here as soon as possible.”

Well, that was the end of breakfast. I grabbed our rental van, our union crew at Carleton University, and sped to the scene.

Quebec rejects counter-offer from public sector unions
Caroline Plante
Montreal Gazette
Nov. 18, 2015

QUEBEC — It took less than 30 minutes for Treasury Board president Martin Coiteux to throw the Common Front unions’ counter-offer for a new collective agreement in the trash bin.

The unions, which represent about 400,000 provincial employees, lowered their salary demands and suspended three strike days scheduled for December.

The strike days were to take place Dec. 1, 2 and 3.

Using a decidedly softer tone on Wednesday, union representatives said they wanted “to give negotiation a chance.”

School board, CUPE reach tentative agreement for school cooks, custodians
Hamilton Spectator
Nov. 20, 2015

Hamilton’s public school board and the union representing custodial, maintenance and cooks have reached a tentative agreement in collective bargaining.

Details of the agreement, between the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4153, have not been made public as the agreement still needs to be ratified by members.

Rulings usher in new era of enforcement for truckers: Unifor
Brian Morton
Vancouver Sun
Nov. 20, 2015

Friday’s series of rulings from the Port Trucking Commissioner ushers in a new era of enforcement over paying proper wages, says the union representing drivers.

“Everybody has to play by the rules,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor’s B.C. area director, in a statement. “This is the tip of the iceberg for what is owed to container truck drivers across the sector.”

McGarrigle was reacting to three decisions under the Container Trucking Act.

The fruits of unpaid labour
Natalie Childs

When I decided that I wanted to be a farmer, organic farms were the obvious place to look for work. Conventional farming aspires to produce the cheapest possible food for a globalized system, which I believe severely undermines the health of the soil, the health of farmers and eaters, and the resilience of communities. I felt that small-scale organic farms were working towards a more just and sustainable food system, undoing (or challenging) the conventional farm system. Overall, I still believe this to be true, and I’m proud to be a part of the steady rise in young organic farmers in Canada.

Health inequality widens between richer and poorer Canadians
Inequalities are associated with significant costs to both individuals and society
CBC News
Nov. 18, 2015

The gap between the health of richer and poorer Canadians has widened over time for measures such as smoking and how Canadians rate their own mental health, according to a new report.

Wednesday’s report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) focused on inequality, or the gap between high- and low-income Canadians, related to 16 health indicators, such as smoking, hospitalizations for motor vehicle traffic injuries, heart attacks and self-rated mental health.

Air Canada flight attendants approve 10-year deal
Ratification was by a narrow margin, signalling potential trouble ahead for the airline that wants stability for customers and investors.
Vanessa Lu
Toronto Star
Nov. 18, 2015

After years of labour unrest, Air Canada has reached an unusual agreement with its flight attendants ensuring no lockout or strike for a decade, but the deal was ratified by only the narrowest of margins.

The 6,500 flight attendants at Air Canada and 700 at Air Canada Rouge, the firm’s leisure carrier, are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The union refused to disclose the results of the vote — but a bulletin, obtained by the Star, shows 50.4 per cent voted yes, compared with 49.6 per cent who voted to reject, with three-quarters of eligible members voting.

When the Excluded Organize
The domestic workers who asserted their rights in the 1970s provide a model for organizing workers today.
Megan Erickson & Premilla Nadasen
Nov. 18, 2015

Today, middle-class women are urged to “lean in” to waged labor and break the glass ceiling, with the expectation that working-class women can be relied on to care for the children and wash the kitchen floor.

The social upheaval caused by the entrance of large numbers of women into the workforce in the 1970s has never really been reckoned with in the United States — the contradictory demands of modern family life (sell your labor on the market, while taking care of kids at home!) have simply been absorbed by mothers taking on a “second shift,” or a third or a fourth; and by working-class women in low-paid service jobs as maids, day care workers, and home health care aides.

SGEU among those unhappy with Sask. government’s decision to privatize liquor stores
The union claims hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue will be lost
CBC News
Nov. 18, 2015

The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union is not happy about the government’s announcement to change liquor regulations.

On Wednesday the Saskatchewan government announced 40 stores will be sold to private operators, but it won’t happen until after the next election. The announcement created a mix of reactions.

Nipissing Faculty strike
Nipissing Faculty strike

What’s happening at Nipissing University?
Susan Srigley
Nov. 17, 2015

On Nov. 2, full-time faculty at Nipissing University, represented by the Nipissing University Faculty Association in North Bay, Bracebridge, and Brantford walked off the job after months of negotiations and failed provincial conciliation. The issues remaining on the table are: governance, job security, faculty complement and compensation.

Oshawa social justice champion Beverly McCloskey dies
Beverly McCloskey fought for equality in the workplace for all Ontario women
Reka Szekely
Oshawa This Week
Nov. 17, 2015

OSHAWA — An Oshawa labour champion whose activism helped bring equal rights to Ontario women in the workplace has died.
Beverly McCloskey, 85, died on Nov. 14 at Lakeridge Health in Oshawa.

“It really is a terrible loss to our union and to our community as far as a true social activist who worked for decades on behalf of the community on social issues,” said Ron Svajlenko, president of Unifor Local 222.

Rona lockout ends after workers ratify deal
Sudbury Northern Life
Nov. 17, 2015

Workers at the Sudbury Rona store are heading back to work after they ratified an agreement last night, bringing an end to a five-day lockout by their employer.

The workers are represented by United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 175. The union told last week that one of the issues on the table was the right of veteran workers to refuse Sunday work.

Labour leaders say petition shows no appetite for privatization in Saskatchewan
Global News
Nov. 16, 2015

REGINA – Labour leaders have descended on the Saskatchewan legislature calling for an end to what they say is privatization by stealth.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour gave the Opposition NDP a petition with nearly 20,000 signatures from people who say they want the government to stop privatization.

Federation president Larry Hubich says the government has sold Crown corporations and privatized hospital laundry and correctional food services.

Alberta’s updated safety laws to protect farm workers
The Globe and Mail
Nov. 16, 2015

The Alberta government is about to update its workplace legislation to protect workers on farms and ranches, which are currently exempt from some laws governing safety.

Alberta is the only province where Occupational Health and Safety legislation is not enforced on farms and ranches, Oneil Carlier, the province’s Minister for Agriculture and Forestry, noted in a statement on Monday. The government on Tuesday will propose changes in an attempt to keep farmhands safe.

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