Labour news update: December 21, 2015

Quebec government and public sector reach tentative agreement | Alberta NDP wavers on minimum wage |  BCAA lockout ends | Mac convenience stores sued by temporary foreign workers | Nova Scotia’s Liberals pass Bill 148 legislating bargaining | Saskatchewan government rejects CPP expansion | Chronicle Herald talks break down | Ontario teachers protest lack of local board agreement | Canada Post has record volumes | USW says federal rules 1,700 Labrador and Quebec workers and retirees on their pension |

1929070_1098610640183513_5424475145401399431_nPremier says $15-an-hour minimum wage a ‘notional’ target, suggests it may not proceed due to economy
Calgary Herald, December 17, 2015

Premier Rachel Notley suggested Wednesday her government may not hike Alberta’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018 if the economy remains in the doldrums, calling the campaign pledge a “notional” target.

The new premier announced in June that Alberta’s minimum wage was being raised by one dollar an hour to $11.20, effective Oct. 1, and vowed the government would boost the rate to $15 an hour within three years — fulfilling a promise made during the spring election campaign.

‘Enough Is Enough,’ Steelworkers Say as Federal Government Betrays Another 1,700 Pensioners
USW, December 17, 2015

More than 1,700 Cliffs Natural Resources pensioners learned today they will suffer a substantial loss of income because federal laws continue to protect corporations over workers and retirees, says the United Steelworkers (USW).

“Today another 1,700 families in Labrador and Quebec have been victimized by federal laws that allow corporations to break their obligations to pensioners and workers,” said Marty Warren, the USW’s Director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

BCAA lockout ends: “We got what we were fighting for.”, December 18, 2015

After a long six month lockout that dragged well into the holiday season, British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) workers are joyfully heading back to work today, just in time for Christmas.BCAA

“We did it! We’re going back,” brightly announced a billboard, seen at the picket line throughout its 188-day stay on the curb. “Thank you for all your support.”

Quebec and public workers unions reach agreement-in-principle

After months of negotiations, pressure tactics and rotating strike days, Quebec’s public workers and the government have reached an agreement-in-principle.
CBC News, December 17, 2015

Martin Coiteux, the Treasury Board president, announced that the two sides reached a deal Thursday afternoon.

“After many hours of work, work that was very constructive, I’m able to confirm that we have an agreement-in-principle with the Front Commun,” Coiteux said.

High school teachers protest lack of deal
The Barrie Examiner, December 16, 2015

High school teachers from Parry Sound, Peel and Lindsay supported Simcoe County members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation District 17 who were picketing outside the Simcoe County District School Board Wednesday night.

Dozens of teachers walked the picket line, frustrated by the lack of a local board contract after 19 meetings.

Mac’s Convenience Stores facing class-action lawsuit from temporary foreign workers
CBC News, December 18, 2015

Hundreds of temporary foreign workers have launched a class action lawsuit against Mac’s Convenience Stores, claiming they paid more than $8,000 to get jobs in Canada that did not exist.

The notice of claim, filed with the B.C. Supreme Court, alleges that from December 2009 onwards the workers were recruited in Dubai to work at Mac’s stores in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

But, the claim says, when the workers arrived in Canada, they found the more than 425 jobs they had been contracted to perform — the only jobs they were allowed to perform under their TFW permits — were non-existent.

Canada Post busier than Santa’s workshop this time of year
CBC News, December 17, 2015

Santa isn’t the only one inundated with mail this holiday season.

Canada Post is going through its busiest week of the year, and it’s breaking all records. It marked a 20-per-cent increase in the number of parcels delivered nationally this year.

On Monday, Canada Post delivered 3,400 items a minute nationally. During the year, that number is closer to 1,500 items a minute.

Rules for lone workers to be reviewed, Alberta government says
Edmonton Journal, December 18, 2015

“These incidents are both tragic and disturbing,” Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said in a statement Friday afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. Our government believes every worker should come home safe at the end of the day, regardless of when they work or what work they do.

“We will be reviewing the rules that govern employees working alone and would welcome input from stakeholders. We want to ensure safety is top of mind in all Alberta workplaces.”

BC Federation of Labour renews calls for $15 minimum wage
CKNW, December 19, 2015

The BC Federation of Labour did some cheeky Christmas campaigning today in favour of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Volunteers, some who dressed as the Grinch, handed out lumps of coal – actually black jelly beans – to demonstrate the mean-spiritness of the government.

McHarperland- Nova Scotia
Halifax Media Co-Op, December 19, 2015

In the last two years, the McNeil government has legislated against homecare workers going on strike and against healthcare workers going on strike.

If that wasn’t enough, now they are threatening to take away the right to bargain wages and signaling they may remove the right to strike of nearly 10,000 teachers, hundreds of medical residents and thousands of civil servants – 75,000 to be exact. Let me put this into perspective. 75,000 working people represent about half the 148,000 families, with children, in Nova Scotia. More than half live in Metro Halifax.

Saskatchewan to oppose Ottawa’s CPP expansion plan
Globe and Mail, December 18, 2015

Saskatchewan will oppose federal efforts to expand the Canada Pension Plan when finance ministers from across the country gather in Ottawa on Sunday.

Members of Saskatchewan’s cabinet met to discuss the issue earlier this week and decided not to support the CPP proposal, which was a campaign pledge of the federal Liberal party.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau – a former private-sector pension executive – will host his provincial and territorial colleagues for dinner Sunday, followed by a formal meeting at Finance Canada headquarters on Monday.

Chronicle Herald conciliation talks break down
Halifax Media Co-Op, December 20, 2015

After just two days the owners of Nova Scotia’s only provincial newspaper last Friday abruptly walked away from conciliation talks with the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), Local 30130 of the CWA. The union represents 61 newsroom staff.

Another serving of raw food provokes hunger strike from Regina inmates
CTV News, December 20, 2015

A hunger strike involving over 50 inmates began Saturday morning at the Regina Correctional Centre.

Inmates are objecting to the quality of food that is being served to prisoners, which is also available to staff at the facility.

Global News has learned that raw and uncooked eggs were served to inmates Saturday.

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