Labour News Update Jan. 11 2016

U.S. Steel Canada set to put Hamilton and Nanticoke plants up for sale again | Turnout high for strike vote among CUPE workers in Toronto | Dominion man sings the Western Canada blues | Scabby Covered Bridge Potato Chips | Tentative deal for Ontario corrections staff | Canada Post did ‘piss poor’ job reorganizing routes | Road maintenance company under investigation | Air Canada asks Supreme Court to reject Aveos ruling | Winnipeg city managers to look at CUPE snow-clearing report again | WOMEN OF STEEL: New group of union workers looks to lend a hand | Trudeau sets sights on free-trade deal with China | Canada’s manufacturing activity hits record low in December

U.S. Steel Canada set to put Hamilton and Nanticoke plants up for sale again 110129-HamiltonDayofAction-83acrop-1024x476
By Samantha Craggs, CBC News
Jan. 9 2016

U.S. Steel Canada (USSC) will be in court on Tuesday to make the case for putting its Hamilton and Nanticoke plants up for sale again.

The company will make a motion to enter the sale and investment solicitation process (SISP). That would give it until Oct. 31 to sell to off all or parts of the production Hamilton and Nanticoke. And according to United Steelworkers (USW) union reps, there are at least four companies interested in buying.

Turnout high for strike vote among CUPE workers in Toronto
Gilbert Ngabo, Metro
Jan. 10 2016

Labour unrest could be on its way to Toronto, as the city’s largest public sector union held a strike vote over the weekend.

Members of the CUPE Local 79, which represents 20,000 inside workers, turned out in big numbers Saturday to give leadership a strike mandate in the event negotiations with the city go south.

The results of the vote were unavailable Sunday, but Tim Maguire, president of Local 79, expected support to be high.

Dominion man sings the Western Canada blues
Sharon Montgomery-Dupe, The Cape Breton Post
Jan. 6 2016

DOMINION — As the economy continues to crush the once-lucrative jobs out West, a Dominion man is sharing the pain that comes with it.

Jody Hickey, an insulator who is also a singer/songwriter, has posted his first original song, “$100 Barrel,’’ on YouTube, which has gained more than 1,500 views since being posted Dec. 23.

He said the idea for the song came from knowing there are so many guys who lost everything.

Scabby Covered Bridge Potato Chips cbpc
Miles Howe, Halifax Media Co-op
Jan. 7 2016

Hartland, New Brunswick — On January 5th, Unionized Workers at Covered Bridge Potato Chips, in Hartland, New Brunswick, walked out on the job. Since then, it’s been a very public back and forth between ownership and management and union organizers. The union, local 1288p of the United Food and Commercial Workers, have called for a boycott of the chips until they reach their first collective agreement.

Tentative deal for Ontario corrections staff: union
The Canadian Press
Jan. 9 2016

TORONTO — Ontario’s correctional workers have given up their right to strike in the latest round of contract negotiations with the government.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union and the government reached an agreement early Saturday morning after a meeting with a mediator.

As part of the negotiations, the union says corrections workers have been declared an “essential service,” meaning they will no longer have the right to strike, and future bargaining disputes will be determined by binding arbitration.

Canada Post did ‘piss poor’ job reorganizing routes, workers protest
CBC News
Jan. 8 2016

Postal workers staged a protest outside the sorting facility in St. John’s Friday morning against the amount of overtime they’ve had to work since Canada Post converted to community mailboxes.

Moreover, the union president said the quality of delivery is slipping, as workers struggle to get their work done in an eight-hour day.

“What the corporation is doing is forcing the overtime on the workers and eliminating jobs in our community,” said union president Craig Dyer.

Road maintenance company under investigation
CTV Toronto
Jan. 5 2016

The provincial government is investigating a company it hired to ensure winter road safety, after icy conditions on GTA highways caused dozens of accidents on New Year’s Day, CTV News has learned.

Carillion Canada is paid $87 million per year to maintain highways in eight different regions in the province.

But for the third time in less than two years, the company is being investigated for allegedly not providing adequate services.

Air Canada asks Supreme Court to reject Aveos ruling
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
Jan. 5 2016

MONTREAL — Air Canada has asked the country’s top court to overturn a Quebec ruling that would require the airline to keep its maintenance operations in the country.

In its legal filing with the Supreme Court in Ottawa, Air Canada said that the appeal court’s ruling “jeopardizes” the main objective of privatizing the formerly government-owned airline — to create a “viable and competitive company.”

Quebec launched its lawsuit against the Montreal-based airline after Aveos Fleet Performance, which did much of Air Canada’s aircraft maintenance, closed in 2012 in a move that laid off 2,600 employees, including about 1,700 in Montreal.

Winnipeg city managers to look at CUPE snow-clearing report again
CBC News
Jan. 5 2016

A union proposal to give City of Winnipeg employees more snow-clearing work will get a second look, even though senior city bureaucrats have said the plan is not economical.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 500 believes the City of Winnipeg could save as much as $3 million a year and improve service by giving more snow-clearing work to city workers.

The city is currently locked into long-term contracts with private companies to handle 80 per cent of that work. The remaining 20 per cent is done by city staff.

WOMEN OF STEEL: New group of union workers looks to lend a hand
Michele DeLuca, Niagara Gazette
Jan. 4 2016

Upon hearing the name “Women of Steel,” it’s fun to try and imagine what those words represent.

For some, the name conjures visions of strong ladies, maybe even superheroes, who come to the aid of the citizens.

In the case of the recently organized Niagara Falls group called Women of Steel, there are no superheroes, just your normal working women who are using their power for good, because these women know there is strength in numbers and their intent is to serve. “We’re just everyday women workers who want to help out,” said Gail Bimont, a neighborhood development specialist in the Niagara Falls Department of Community Development.

Trudeau sets sights on free-trade deal with China
Robert Fife, The Globe and Mail
Jan. 5 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to play an activist role in promoting Canadian business and investment with a major trade mission to China and India and a keynote address to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

It’s all part of a carefully laid-out economic strategy aimed at seeking new trade arrangements in a slumping global economy, with the long-range goal of achieving a pivotal free-trade deal with China.

Mr. Trudeau will first travel to Davos, Switzerland, to speak to the annual gathering of world leaders and wealthy executives on Jan. 21 at a special session entitled “A New Chapter for Canada.”

Canada’s manufacturing activity hits record low in December
Reuters
Jan 4 2016

Canada’s manufacturing sector contracted for the fifth consecutive month in December as activity fell to a record low, data showed on Monday, the latest indicator that the economy may have been weaker than anticipated in the final quarter of the year.

The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a measure of manufacturing business conditions, fell to a seasonally adjusted 47.5 in December from 48.6 in November. It was the lowest level for the survey that goes back to 2010.

A reading below 50 indicated contraction in the sector. The index fell short of that 50 threshold for nine months of the year in 2015.

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