Labour News Update: May 16, 2016

Strike over at Regina’s Seven Oaks | Workplace Safety and Health looks into teacher’s death | NSGEU elects Jason MacLean as new president | Government and union reach $45M pay-equity deal | Proposed bill will give Alberta lowest payday loan costs in country | Striking workers disrupt housing development | Municipal workers rally in Quebec City over negotiation rights | Private long-term care facility workers launch strike in Quebec | Striking workers urge Islanders to boycott mobile blood clinics | Mississauga votes to ban UberX | Canada ‘moving forward’ on asbestos ban | Women fired while on maternity leave want better legal protection | Guelph plant gets Ministry of the Environment approval to exceed air quality standard | Canada Post Can Help Save Fort McMurray | Unifor employees locked out at Pacific Coach Lines | Christy Clark’s inaction on housing | The Leap Manifesto and oil workers | Fort McMurray TFWs may have to leave Canada

Strike over at Best Western Seven Oaks in Regina
CBC News
May 14, 2016 2016-01-06-17.28.56-300x225

A strike at the Best Western Seven Oaks in Regina, where picket lines were set up in December, has ended.

Confirmation came from local union leader Norm Neault, of the United Food and Commercial Workers, on Saturday.

The key issues in the labour dispute concerned health benefits and wages.

Workplace Safety and Health looking into teacher death on field trip
CTV Winnipeg
May 11, 2016

Workplace Safety and Health is looking into whether workers were at risk of extreme heat exposure the same day a Winnipeg teacher died on a field trip.

Students and staff at John Taylor Collegiate are grieving the loss of a beloved teacher.

The flag outside the school is lowered in memory of Darcee Gosselin.

NSGEU elects Jason MacLean as new president
Lisa Blackburn, CBC News
May 14, 2016

Members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) have elected Jason MacLean as president, replacing Joan Jessome who has been the leader for the past 17 years.

In his first speech as president, MacLean spoke of his experience with racism in the workplace and how the union helped him.

“We are going to show the rest of Nova Scotia what NSGEU is and the diversity that we have in this union,” he said.

Government and union reach $45M pay-equity deal
Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen
May 13, 2016

The federal government has agreed to pay as much as $45 million in back pay to thousands of mostly female employees at a Statistics Canada agency to settle a longstanding pay-equity complaint.

The settlement will put money in the hands of as many as 25,000 employees who worked as interviewers over 30 years at Statistical Survey Operations — between March 1985 and November 2013. The average payout will be between $1,500 and $2,000.

Proposed bill will give Alberta lowest payday loan costs in country
CBC News
May 12, 2016

The fees in Alberta for payday loans will be the lowest in Canada if MLAs pass proposed legislation introduced in the legislature Thursday.

Bill 15, An Act to End Predatory Lending, will bring the amounts paid on these types of loans from $23 per $100 borrowed down to $15 per $100.

Striking workers disrupt Pratt project
The Barrie Examiner
May 11, 2016

Striking union workers disrupted a job site in Barrie before city police showed up Tuesday afternoon.

Just after 3 p.m., police were called to 720 Yonge St. where Local 183 members had shown up at a Pratt Homes site.

Municipal workers rally in Quebec City over negotiation rights
CBC News
May 12, 2016

A large crowd of union protesters gathered Thursday morning in Quebec City to protest against possible legislation limiting the rights of municipal workers.

The demonstrators want to prevent the provincial government from giving municipalities the power to impose working conditions on their employees when negotiations fail.

Private long-term care facility workers launch strike
CBC News
May 11, 2016

The largest strike to hit private long-term care homes across Quebec starts today.

For the first time ever, more than 3,000 workers will hold rotating walkouts in favour of better working conditions. This will affect 42 private long-term care homes in the province.

Striking workers urge Islanders to boycott mobile blood clinics
Angela Walker, CBC News
May 10, 2016

Striking Canadian Blood Services workers on P.E.I. are upset about mobile clinics being held in Miscouche later this month.

The clinics May 16, 17 and 18 will be the first on the Island since the strike in Charlottetown began last fall.

Mississauga city council votes to ban UberX
Chris Fox, CP24
May 11, 2016

Mississauga city council has put the brakes on Uber and other services like it for the time being.

On Wednesday afternoon, council voted 10-2 in favour of a motion that requires that all transportation companies “obtain a broker licence and operate using only licensed taxi and limousine drivers, operating licensed taxi and limousine vehicles.”

Canada ‘moving forward’ on asbestos ban, Justin Trudeau says
Julie Ireton, CBC News
May 11, 2016

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made the federal government’s first commitment to move forward with a plan to ban asbestos.

Trudeau made the comments Tuesday while speaking at Canada’s building trades union policy conference in Ottawa.

“We’ve actually made the commitment that we are moving forward on a ban … here in Canada,” said Trudeau in response to a question from a trade union leader. “We know that its impact on workers far outweighs any benefits that it might provide.”

Women fired while on maternity leave want better legal protection
CBC The Current
May 10, 2016 Gilary-150x150

Most people believe the law protects them and their jobs while on maternity leave. But it seems that’s not always how things turn out.

In Sept. 2015, Gilary Massa gave birth to her first child. Three months into her maternity leave, her Toronto employer informed her she no longer had a job.

Massa says she was shocked. “It came out of nowhere. It’s my lifeline.”

The reason given by her employer was the job was eliminated due to restructuring.

Beyond the emotional shock, Massa says it was a big financial hit and adds that their family can not afford to live on a single income.

Guelph Owens Corning plant gets Ministry of the Environment approval to exceed air quality standard
Guelph Mercury
May 10, 2016

Local fibre glass manufacturer Owens Corning has been given approval from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to exceed new air quality regulations.

On May 6, the Ministry posted its decision online on the Environmental Registry, approving the company’s request for a site-specific standard for hexavalent chromium at its Guelph glass plant on York Road. Although the standard will allow the plant to exceed new emissions standards that go into effect July 1, the plant is expected to reduce its emissions of the toxic compound by 88 per cent.

Canada Post Can Help Save Fort McMurray
CUPW
May 10, 2016

Over the past week, we’ve watched in horror as wildfires ripped through the Fort McMurray area. Our immediate thoughts are with those who have lost everything and those who are unsure if they have anything to go back to.

It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of countless emergency planners, first responders and firefighters that the largest evacuation in Canadian history was accomplished without a single fatality.

It’s clear that the people of Fort McMurray will face many challenges in their efforts to recover and rebuild. This brings me to a simple question: what role can Canada Post play in the relief and rebuilding effort?

Unifor employees locked out at Pacific Coach Lines
Canadian Labour Reporter
May 9, 2016

The British Columbia-based shuttle company Pacific Coach Lines (PCL) has locked out employees represented by Unifor.

Unifor Local 114 represents 77 PCL employees, including drivers, mechanics, service staff and ticketing agents.

PCL lost its contract performing cross-water bus service with BC Ferries in 2015. Approximately 70 per cent of PCL’s workforce was laid off following the loss of the contract, according to Unifor.

Christy Clark’s inaction on housing affordability speaks volumes
Sheila Mathen, Broadbent Institute
May 9, 2016

When Christy Clark’s government released its budget in February, many advocates were hoping for real action on soaring housing costs. British Columbia’s economy is growing and investments in affordable housing in this budget – for the last full fiscal year before going to the polls in 2017 – had the potential to address the severe crisis many British Columbians are facing.

With families struggling to afford increasing rents, more and more children are growing up in poverty. BC has consistently had one of the worst child poverty rates in Canada. Today, 20.4% of children live in poverty — substantially higher than the national average of 14.4%.

The Leap Manifesto and oil workers
Carolyn Egan, socialist.ca
May 9, 2016

The discussion over the Leap Manifesto which erupted after the NDP Convention seemed to reopen the debate over jobs versus the environment. It was suggested that it was a document written by Toronto elites out of touch with the economic needs of the country.

The recent Op Ed in The Globe and Mail written by Crystal Lameman, an Indigenous activist from Alberta who was a part of the gathering of activists who produced the document, took this claim on. As she wrote, “I was one of the first to sign the Leap Manifesto, and I helped write it. You might find that strange if you’ve read the media reports calling its authors latte-sipping Toronto elites. I’m not exactly part of that class: I’m an indigenous mother of two from the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, in the heart of Alberta’s oil industry. From where I stand, the Leap Manifesto isn’t an attack on Albertans or its workers. It’s a gift, offering us a pathway to a more humane, healthy and livable province, one that honours the treaty rights of indigenous peoples and meets the needs of all its inhabitants.”

Fort McMurray Pinoy, other foreign workers may have to leave Canada
Michel Comte, GMA News
May 8, 2016

Jonathan Infante fled for his life from wildfires ravaging Canada’s remote Athabasca oil-producing region, and now he and other migrant workers face the grim prospect of having to altogether leave Canada.

Their residency here is tied to their employment and if that is now gone — literally up in smoke — they could be forced to leave this country.

The wildfires in northern Alberta have forced the evacuation of 100,000 people.

Among the evacuees were almost two dozen distraught migrant workers who arrived late Friday at a government shelter in Edmonton, Alberta’s capital.

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