Labour news update: March 14, 2014

Manitoba midwives reject employer’s latest offer, strike date ‘could be set within weeks’
CBC News, March 11, 2016

Midwives in Winnipeg are sending a message that they need more support than they’re currently receiving — on Friday, they rejected their employer’s most recent offer following a ratification vote.

The gap between midwives in Manitoba, who are represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2348, and those in other jurisdictions is increasing, according to Sheree Capar, CUPE National Representative.

“We are falling further behind other jurisdictions in terms of compensation,” Capar said.

Daylight saving time 2016: How big business benefits from more sunshine
CBC News, March 12, 2016

Why are there eight months of daylight saving each year?

It wasn’t always this way.

We started with six months in the 1960s, then moved to seven in the mid-1980s. Now, we spring forward an hour in March and don’t fall back until early November.

Covered Bridge chips strike concerns Green Party’s David Coon
CBC News, March 9, 2016

Green Party leader David Coon has asked the provincial government to step in to help resolve the strike at Covered Bridge Potato Chips in Hartland.

Coon has sent a letter to Francine Landry, the minister for post-secondary education, training and labour, asking her to request an independent mediator be appointed to get negotiations going again.

Coon is also asking the minister to introduce first contract legislation as soon as possible.

Molly Cormier, a spokesperson for the Department of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour, issued a statement on Wednesday in reaction to Coon’s request.

B.C. Green Party MLA introduces bill targeting sexual violence on campus
CBC News, March 8, 2016

BC Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver has introduced a private member’s bill that would require universities and colleges to have policies on sexual violence.

“It is estimated that one in four female university students will be sexually assaulted during their relatively short time they spend on campus,” said Weaver in Victoria.

Milton, Ont., garbage man accused of padding truck’s weight with snow
CBC News, March 9, 2016

A garbage collector who was seen shovelling snow into his truck while also picking up waste was apparently not performing a good deed.

Anna O’Sullivan of Milton, Ont., posted video to Facebook on Monday of what she thought was a nice gesture. The 30-second clip shows an employee of Miller Waste Systems shovelling snow from the front of her house.

Child care — Canada’s elusive dream: Goar
Toronto Star, March 11, 2016

Thirty-two International Women’s Days have come and gone since Canada’s working mothers were promised a national child care program. Six prime ministers have held the reins of power. Two generations of women have waited in vain.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could have changed this record of failure. All he undertook to do was “meet with provinces, territories, and indigenous communities to beginwork on a new National Early Learning and Child Care Framework.” To all intents and purposes, women are back where they started in 1984 when former prime minister Brian Mulroney made a ground-breaking pledge to introduce a national child care plan.

Sudbury hospital overcrowded: CUPE
Sudbury Star, March 11, 2016

The union representing clerical and service employees at Health Sciences North is speaking out about crowded conditions it says are having an impact on patient care.

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1623 held a media conference Thursday to let the public know the hospital is at more than 100 per cent capacity and that patients are being housed in hallways, television lounges and even tub rooms because of it.

Research shows occupancy rates greater than 85 per cent increase the risk of hospital-acquired infections, said CUPE, which represents 1,200 front line workers at Health Sciences North.

Migrant workers call on Trudeau to reform Temporary Foreign Worker Program
National Observer, March 10, 2016

Hessed Torres’ eyes welled up with tears as she recounted her first two years in Canada. In 2014, she moved to Vancouver from the Philippines as a live-in caregiver, and in 2015, she was fired for refusing to tolerate abuse on the job.

“I had heard horror stories from Hong Kong and the Middle East, but never from Canada,” she told National Observer. “I didn’t know I would end up jobless here, because I really looked up to Canada as being one of the most accepting, welcoming and friendly countries.”

Frustrated EI applicant calls hundreds of times, never gets through
CBC News, March 8, 2016

When John Hobden was laid off last December, he did what many Albertans are doing, he filed for Employment Insurance and pondered returning to school.

He filed his claim to Service Canada and began receiving benefits, but learned he had to reapply when he decided to attend NAIT.

That’s when Hobden found out that trying to reach anyone at Service Canada can be as much work as — well — work.

How student caseworkers unionized their summer jobs
Rankandfile.ca, March 11, 2016

In the summer of 2015, summer student caseworkers at Parkdale Community Legal Services joined the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union. Two worker-organizers who were central to the campaign, Jenna Meguid and Parmbir Gill, took time to answer some questions from Jason Edwards for Rankandfile.ca.

WestJet employees come forward as review launched in wake of sexual assault claim
CBC News, March 11, 2016

WestJet says several employees have come forward in the wake of accusations that the airline failed to properly handle an allegation of sexual assault.

In an email to CBC News, WestJet spokesperson Lauren Stewart said “a number of employees,” have now come forward, adding, “we are taking their concerns extremely seriously.”

Stewart did not say how many employees are involved or describe the nature of their comments, citing privacy laws.

How UAW Won the Wisconsin Kohler Strike
In These Times, March 10, 2016

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

This exclamation of outrage gained national traction when, in the iconic 1976 movie, “Network,” a “mad prophet” of the airwaves induced angry Americans to go to their windows and shout it out to the world. Forty years later it perfectly captured the mood of over 2,000 production workers in northeast Wisconsin who struck the mighty Kohler Company—a privately held, international manufacturer of luxury bath and other products—and won.

Members of United Auto Workers Local 833 weren’t about to settle for shouting out their windows or being part of that enraged working class venting frustration through tough-talking pundits or politicians who ultimately fail them. They took their fate in their own hands, with stunning results.

Chronicle Herald union says company refused call back to bargaining table
CBC News, March 11, 2016

The union that represents striking Chronicle Herald workers says the paper’s management has refused to return to the bargaining table.

In a news release issued Friday night, the Halifax Typographical Union said management “didn’t feel the union was ready to make ‘necessary’ concessions.”

The union, which represents reporters, editors, photographers, columnists and support staff, said it tried to contact the paper through a conciliator. Workers have been on strike for seven weeks.

Final Common Front workers reach deal with provincial government
CTV News, March 9, 2016

The provincial government and the last group that was part of the Common Front have reached an agreement in principle.

The FSSS-CSN agreed Tuesday to a new contract with the government on behalf of its 110,000 members, who work mostly in the health and social service sectors.

The FSSS was one of many labour unions that had reached an agreement in principle with the government in recent months, but it was the only one to later reject the offer.

Roll Up The Boss To Win
Rankandfile.ca, March 19, 2015

Less than a month ago, several workers at four Tim Hortons stores in Winnipeg began talking union. Management quickly learned of the union activities and, following a captive audience meeting, fired one of the women workers in touch with organizers from Workers United. The union responded by launching an online petition campaign and within days, forced Tim Hortons to reinstate the fired worker.

In announcing the victory, Workers United released the transcript of the captive audience meeting, recorded by one of the workers. The transcript reveals blatant intimidation and illegal threats by the franchise owner directed at the workers, before ultimately firing the one worker. It is a case study for labour activists in how employers try to break workers’ power, and some of the major obstacles facing workers and organizers in the service sector.

Why should McDonald’s be a joint employer? NLRB starts to provide answers
Chicago Tribune, March 10, 2016

McDonald’s tells its franchisees how to staff restaurants, when to clean the bathrooms and where partially completed orders should be placed on counters, an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board said Thursday.

That operational nitty-gritty, along with the business consultants, scheduling systems and hiring software provided to franchisees shows the Oak Brook-based company calls the shots and is ultimately responsible for workers’ conditions, they said.

Details of McDonald’s relationship with franchisees began to emerge during opening statements in a hearing to determine whether McDonald’s is jointly liable for labor law violations involving employees at franchised restaurants

Royal Bank of Canada CEO gets a 44 per cent pay hike
Hamilton Spectator, March 10, 2016

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest lender assets, paid David McKay $7.554 million for fiscal 2014, his first year as chief executive officer.

McKay, 51, who became CEO on Aug. 1 after Gordon Nixon retired, received a $995,479 salary, $4 million of share-based awards, $1 million of stock options, a $1.53 million incentive award and $29,112 of other compensation for the year ended Oct. 31, Royal Bank said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. McKay received $5.38 million a year earlier, when he was group head of personal and commercial banking. Amounts exclude pensions.

McKay’s pension value was $5.23 million for 2014, due to a one-time compensation change when he became president and CEO, the Toronto-based bank said.

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