Labour News Update: February 22

CUPE Local 79 says work to rule begins Monday morning | Steelworker job centre still busy after 15 years | Low-income families struggle to feed their kids healthy foods as prices rise | CP Rail acted in bad faith when firing this conductor after Banff derailment: arbitrator | 17 years on, former live-in caregiver still waiting to bring family to Canada | ‘No Admittance Except on Business’: How P3s are Produced and the Secret of Their Profit Making | Ontario plans quicker approval for PTSD claims by first responders | Chronicle Herald looking for scabs | In bid to tackle workplace abuse, a model that works | Graduate student union calls strike vote | Taxi drivers protest in downtown Montreal | Bombardier to cut up to 7,000 jobs but signs jet deal with Air Canada for 45 CSeries | NL Liberals considering P3s for all programs and services | Many Canadians nearing retirement don’t have the savings they need to avoid poverty | Union confirms Fredericton transit workers accepted city’s final offer

toronto-city-hall-9
Toronto City Hall

CUPE Local 79 says work to rule begins Monday morning
Better Jobs TO
February 21 2016

Local 79 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Local 79) today announced work to rule action will begin Monday morning if a deal with the City of Toronto is not concluded by 12:01am Monday. The union has been trying to negotiate a new contract with the City since October.

“Local 79 is concerned about the pace of progress,” said Tim Maguire, President of Local 79. “Our position has been clear and consistent; we have removed dozens of proposals from the table, the City has not. If we are to reach a negotiated settlement, the City needs to meet us halfway.”

Steelworker job centre still busy after 15 years
Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator
February 19 2016

Jim Huff has seen it 10,000 times over the past 15 years.

That look of utter devastation in the eyes of once-proud manufacturing workers facing unemployment as another local factory shuts its doors forever.

It’s a sight he can’t forget.

Low-income families struggle to feed their kids healthy foods as prices rise
Aleksandra Sagan, The Globe and Mail
February 19 2016

Rising grocery prices in Canada have renewed calls for a national food policy as concerns over the number of Canadians living in so-called food-insecure households grows.

Some four million Canadians, or about 12.7 per cent of households, experience some level of food insecurity, according to PROOF, a research group studying policy options to reduce the problem. More than 850,000 Canadians rely on food banks monthly, according to Food Banks Canada.

CP Rail acted in bad faith when firing this conductor after Banff derailment: arbitrator
Reid Southwick, Calgary Herald
February 18 2016

Canadian Pacific Railway acted in bad faith when it fired a Calgary conductor last year after a major derailment, basing her dismissal on “unfounded” grounds that appeared to “camouflage” discrimination, an arbitrator ruled.

Stephanie Katelnikoff filed a union grievance after she was dismissed by the railroad in January 2015. The dispute was heard by a third-party arbitrator, Maureen Flynn, who ruled Wednesday that CPR must reinstate Katelnikoff and compensate her for lost wages and benefits.

17 years on, former live-in caregiver still waiting to bring family to Canada
Torstar News Service
February 18 2016

Seventeen years after Marcelina Gilles came to Toronto from the Philippines to care for other people’s kids, she’s still desperately fighting for a chance to care for her own.

“I will be 61 in March. I am not young anymore. When will I be able to reunite with my family here?” a tearful Gilles asks.

The former live-in caregiver, who came to Canada in 1999 — when her kids were just 11, 10 and 8 — has been battling with the immigration department to have them join her here since she qualified to apply for permanent residency in 2002.

‘No Admittance Except on Business’: How P3s are Produced and the Secret of Their Profit Making
Heather Whiteside, Socialist Project
February 19 2016

On February 21, 2016 a rare but much-needed Anti-Privatization Forum is being held in Toronto. The event not only continues a decades-long struggle by unions, activists, and concerned citizens to protect public services; it identifies areas of particular relevance in Ontario’s privatization saga today – namely in relation to healthcare, hydro, transit, and housing.

If Canada’s late 1980s and early 1990s privatization schemes largely favoured creating new sources of private profit making through the divestiture of state assets, by the late 1990s new avenues of privatization were being increasingly located within the state in the form of public-private partnerships (P3s).

Ontario plans quicker approval for PTSD claims by first responders
CBC News
February 19 2016

The Ontario government has introduced legislation aimed at making it easier for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to get mental-health treatment.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn, joined by Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi, revealed details of the Supporting Ontario First Responders Act at Queen’s Park on Thursday.

Chronicle Herald looking for scabs

Meet the scabs who are working as photographers for Halifax's Chronicle Herald during the strike.
Meet the scabs who are working as photographers for Halifax’s Chronicle Herald during the strike.

Robert Devet, The Nova Scotia Advocate
February 18 2016

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – The Chronicle Herald is hiring. Yesterday job listings for multiple Team Editor positions in Halifax and what is called a Content Writer in Cape Breton were posted on various websites.

The new hires would be nothing but scabs, but don’t expect the Chronicle Herald to point that out. There is no indication that the jobs are temporary, even though Chronicle Herald newsroom workers, members of the Halifax Typographical Union (HTU), are on strike.

In bid to tackle workplace abuse, a model that works
Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star
February 18 2016

When it comes to enforcing the law, there is one thing John Cartwright knows: money talks.

As a former construction tradesman, he remembers seeing workers risking — and sometimes losing — their lives on the job. But over the past 40 years, he has also witnessed a dramatic change in how those workplace risks are managed, thanks to a combination of robust inspections and hefty fines for breaking the law.

“If people are going to get killed because of (an employer’s) negligence, then there will be a penalty to that,” said Cartwright, who is now president of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. “It’s the only thing that really gets the attention of some employers.”

Graduate student union calls strike vote
Alex Corbett, The Brunswickian
February 16 2016

The union of graduate student workers (UGSW) will be voting whether or not to accept the university’s final employment contract offer next month.

The vote will take place the week of March 14-18 and will decide whether or not the union will move into a possible strike.

The union met with UNB admin last week with mediation provided by a provincial conciliator. The meeting was arranged after the UGSW had already announced an earlier strike vote.

Taxi drivers protest in downtown Montreal
CTV Montreal
February 17 2016

Taxi drivers are blocking Montreal’s streets once again on Wednesday, on the eve of public hearings into the future of paid transportation in Quebec.

Benoit Jugand, a spokesperson for the Steelworkers Union that represents about half of the taxi drivers in Montreal, said the province is leaving drivers with no choice but to show their frustration.

“Today we’re going to be occupying Montreal downtown,” said Jugand.

Bombardier to cut up to 7,000 jobs but signs jet deal with Air Canada for 45 CSeries
CBC News
February 17 2016

Montreal-based Bombardier plans to cut its workforce by up to 7,000 people even as the company has finally signed a deal to sell its CSeries jets to a major North American airline.

Bombardier said Wednesday up to 2,000 of the total cuts will be contractors.

NL Liberals considering P3s for all programs and services
James McLeod, The Telegram
February 16 2016

The Liberal government is asking bureaucrats to look at every program and service with an eye to potentially cutting or converting public services into public-private partnerships (P3s), according to documents obtained by The Telegram through access to information legislation.

Guidelines sent to all departments, agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) in government in January give a sense of what kind of proposals Premier Dwight Ball’s new government is looking for to deal with the $2-billion deficit facing the province.

Many Canadians nearing retirement don’t have the savings they need to avoid poverty
Press Progress
February 16 2016

So much for “Freedom 55.”

According to a new report authored by statistician Richard Shillington and published by the Broadbent Institute, poverty rates for Canadian seniors are on the rise.

And as older Canadians near retirement age, a lack of savings could mean the problem is about to get a lot worse.

Union confirms Fredericton transit workers accepted city’s final offer
CBC News February 14 2016

Fredericton transit workers accepted the city of Fredericton’s final offer on Saturday to avoid taking job action and interrupting service to the city’s transit system.

“After much debate over this offer, the union concluded an agreement to avoid negative impacts on those who depend on this service the most, the riders,” said CUPE national representative Ralph McBride in a statement released Sunday.

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