Labour News Update, April 11 2016

Canada Post wants labour dispute | #PanamaPapers | New Brunswick’s Bill 24 | Manitoba PCs want anti-union laws | Liberals side with US Steel | Uber in Ottawa and Toronto | WestJet union campaign | CP Rail worker killed | WSIB injustice | Nanaimo care workers laid off | Miramichi firefighters | St. John’s postal workers | Wisconsin right-to-work repealed

Canada Post management wants a labour disruption
Vanessa Lu, Toronto Star
April 5 2016

The union representing postal workers is accusing Canada Post of trying to provoke a labour dispute this summer. That’s because Canada Post filed notices of dispute on Monday with the minister of labour, requesting conciliation help in negotiations — a move which essentially starts the clock on a countdown to a strike or lockout. “This is completely unprecedented. It is usually done when talks have broken down, and the parties are far apart,” said Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.12968047_1124894497584498_8528292796820543365_o

The Canadian government has no clue how much money tax dodgers are stashing offshore
Press Progress
April 7 2016

Even with the leak of the Panama Papers this week – said to implicate as many as 350 wealthy Canadians in offshore tax schemes – Canada still has no clue exactly how much money it loses to tax cheats each year. Back in 2012, Liberal Senator Percy Downe asked Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page to estimate the gap between how much money Canada is supposed to collect in taxes versus how much money Canada actually receives. At the time, Page said he was unable to move forward because Canada Revenue Agency refused to release the data to the PBO.

Manitoba PCs promise anti-union labour law changes
CBC News
April 8 2016

“Union members have been telling me this for years: they want the right to a secret ballot. We’re going to restore their right to a secret ballot,” claimed PC leader Brian Pallister. Pallister said he would also end what he calls forced unionization — collective agreements negotiated with trade unions that cover all workers on large government projects. However, secret ballot votes already take place if 40 percent of workers sign a union card. Pallister wants to strip automatic union certification when 65 percent of cards are signed.

Don’t expect Liberals to unseal the US Steel secret deal
Kelly Bennett, CBC News
April 6 2016

Six months after slamming the Harper government’s handling of the U.S. Steel file on the campaign trail, the federal Liberal government won’t open up the “secret deal” struck between the previous federal administration and U.S. Steel. The Liberal government says it won’t unilaterally open that settlement, but would support U.S. Steel, or the judge overseeing the company’s bankruptcy protection proceeding, deciding to do so.

New Brunswick Liberals withdraw binding arbitration changes from omnibus bill
Daniel McHardie, CBC News
April 8 2016

Labour Minister Francine Landry has pulled Bill 24 amendments to the binding arbitration process and has promised to appoint a committee to examine the issue. “It has become clear through correspondence and meetings from stakeholders from both industry and labour that there are many divergent opinions on the proposed changes to binding arbitration,” Landry told the legislature.

13000280_1177669375610972_8044289424483862539_nUber Wars

Ottawa Uber driver says wages work out to below $8 per hour
Steve Fischer, CBC News
April 9 2016

Toronto’s sellout to Uber takes us back to era of bandit taxis
Royson James, Toronto Star
April 7 2016

Nanaimo seniors care home lays off entire workforce of 150
CBC News
April 3 2016

A seniors-care home on Vancouver Island is laying off its entire staff thanks to what the facility’s operator calls years of chronic underfunding from the region’s health authority. “Our members who work at Wexford Creek are very, very upset,” said Mike Old with the Hospital Employees Union.

Herald demands capitulation before resuming talks
April 5 2016

“If we were to agree to their demands, we would be surrendering all job security, severance pay and layoff protection tied to seniority, and our defined-benefit pension plan,” said Ingrid Bulmer, president of the Halifax Typographical Union. “We still believe the company’s strategy is outright union-busting.”

Could unions ground WestJet’s “Owners Care” motto?
David P. Ball, The Tyee
April 8 2016

Two long, hard-fought and so far unsuccessful campaigns to organize WestJet employees have turned a spotlight on the company’s use of employee associations to keep out unions. A group of WestJet flight attendants are trying to organize a union, but after more than two years have yet to sign up enough members to win a certification vote.

12994480_1177781005599809_4219951240985158329_nHealth and Safety

Fair appeals for Ontario’s injured workers is under threat
Sara Mojtehedzadeh, Toronto Star
April 6 2016

Regina CP Rail worker killed by “hazardous conditions”, but no charges laid
Geoff Leo, CBC News
April 4 2016

Miramichi firefighters raise safety alarm over understaffing
Vanessa Blanch, CBC News
April 4 2016

Reflecting on Quebec’s Common Front
Chantal Sundaram,
April 6 2016

The Common Front of half a million Quebec public sector workers that coordinated negotiations and general strikes between health, education and government employees last fall was an inspiration. Even though some members of the Common Front rejected the deal on salaries negotiated with government at the central table, in the end they too came to a deal despite the Quebec government’s threat to invoke a special law against them.

St. John’s postal workers calling for end to forced overtime
CBC News
April 5 2016

Canada Post workers held a demonstration in St. John’s Tuesday morning, in hopes the federal government will listen to their concerns about working conditions and what they feel is a declining standard of customer service. Dozens of Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) members, as well as family members and supporters, were outside of the Canada Post mail facility on Kenmount Road, holding signs and asking drivers to honk to show their support.

Mexican-Canadian construction worker hangs Mexican flag from Trump’s Vancouver tower
Lien Yeung, CBC News
April 3 2016

The Mexican flag hung from the roof of the soon-to-be complete Trump Tower in downtown Vancouver, put there by construction worker Diego Reyna, a Mexican-Canadian. He says he pulled off the stunt because he was tired of hearing the building’s namesake, Donald Trump, make comments and generalizations about Mexicans during his Republican presidential campaign.

Wisconsin judge strikes down Walker’s right-to-work laws
Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond, Talking Points Memo
April 8 2016

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