Labour News Update: September 12, 2016

Steelworkers fail in court on pension claims | Hotel workers in Quebec go on strike | Nordia call centre in Lindsay unionizes | Sask. labour leader challenges government to improve safety | Migrant workers trying to send message to CK, federal government | Unifor willing to strike at GM | Nearly half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque | Employer to Send Injured Migrant Worker Home Despite Needing Medical Care | Mechanic on Evergreen Line tunnel laid off for raising safety concerns | Money trumps job safety for many young workers in Manitoba | Migrant farmworkers on 1,500-kilometre caravan to Ottawa | Low-Wage Workers Struggle to Get By in B.C. | Ontario’s labour ministry issues 6 orders against Toronto food company after young worker dies | Coleman Mine work stoppage over, employees back on the job

Steelworkers fail in bid to put pension claims ahead of U.S. Steel’s debt claims
Steve Arnold, The Hamilton Spectator
September 9, 2016

Sick and aging Hamilton steelworkers have suffered another legal defeat in their battle with U.S. Steel Canada.

In a decision released Friday the Ontario Court of Appeal crushed efforts to use a novel legal tool to put worker pension claims ahead of U.S. Steel’s debt claims.

Photo: CBC News

Hotel workers across Quebec walk off the job
CTV Montreal
September 9, 2016

Hotel workers across the province went on strike today because they say contract negotiations are taking too long. In Montreal, workers demonstrated in Place du Canada.

The strike affects 10 hotels in Montreal and Quebec City where workers have been without a contract since the end of June.

The union is asking for increased salaries as well as better holiday and severance pay. Bonaventure Hotel union president Michel Pare says hotel employees are the driving force behind the increase in tourism in Quebec.

Nordia call centre workers vote to unionize in Lindsay; campaign continues to sign up Peterborough workers
The Peterborough Examiner
September 9, 2016

Employees of the Nordia call centre in Lindsay have voted 71 per cent in favour of joining the United Steelworkers union, the union announced Wednesday.

The vote means 111 employees at the call centre are now represented by the union and now they will negotiate for their first contract.

They are the fourth group of Nordia workers to join the USW, according to the union. Employees at Nordia call centres in Kitchener, Quebec City and Sherbrooke, Que. are already members.

‘3 graves in the last 6 weeks’: Sask. labour leader challenges government to improve safety
Adam Hunter, CBC News
September 9, 2016

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour says the province needs to step up workplace safety after a ‘deadly summer for Saskatchewan workers’.

“Killing workers is not inevitable,” SFL president Larry Hubich said. “We’ve got three graves in the last six weeks.”

Hubich is referring to three deaths in three different workplaces in the province.

Migrant workers trying to send message to CK, federal government
Louis Pin, Chatham Daily News
September 7, 2016

Among the group of people holding large signs outside the farmers’ market on Longwoods Road and at the corner of King Street and Fifth streets in Chatham on Wednesday was Gabriel Allahdua.

And he was risking a lot just to be there.

Alladua is one of thousands of migrant workers across Canada. He’s petitioning with Justice for Migrant Workers, a group working to establish rights for those same workers. They have a number of concerns about the power companies hold over their employees.

Why We Are Prepared To Stage Strike At GM If Detroit 3 Deal Fails
Jerry Dias, Unifor National President
September 8, 2016

Nothing focuses the mind like a looming deadline.

That is the guiding principle behind the system we at Unifor, a union representing 23,050 Canadian workers at the Detroit Three, use for negotiating a new contract with the automakers.

The deadline forces both sides to put aside their wish lists and concentrate on getting a deal that works for both sides. It’s an efficient, disciplined, accountable system that our union has used many times before — and we remain fully committed to in this round of bargaining with the Detroit Three automakers.

Nearly half of Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque — and that has big consequences for retirement security
Jonathan Chevreau, Financial Post
September 7, 2016

A new survey highlighting the fact almost half of working Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque reveals the inevitable corollary of failing to save enough: For most of us, retiring before age 60 will be a pipedream if we don’t get our saving act together.

Far from being confident about a comfortable retirement, 48 per cent of the 5,600 working Canadians surveyed by the Canadian Payroll Association say it would be hard to make ends meet if their paycheque were delayed even a single week, according to the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA)’s eighth annual Research Survey of Employed Canadians, which is being released Wednesday.

Employer to Send Chatham-Kent Injured Migrant Worker Home Despite Needing Medical Care
Justicia for Migrant Workers 20160205-justic-1bd334f360bead6bb29352071f35ea9e
Septbember 8, 2016

Kevin Campbell, an injured migrant worker from Jamaica, is being forced to return home before receiving the necessary healthcare for an injury sustained while working in Ontario.

Campbell, 33, has worked as a migrant worker in the Chatham Kent region for the past 5 years. On June 1, 2016, he fell off a scissors lift while at work and seriously injured his back. Campbell requires specialized care that he will not be able to receive if he returns home to Jamaica. His employer gave him only two days’ notice that he would be sent home.

Mr. Campbell is available for comment as he wants to share his experience with others to raise the alarm bells on how migrant workers are treated. Justicia for Migrant Workers will be hosting a press conference this morning to draw attention to Campbell’s situation and what happens to migrant workers when they get injured as a result of their labour.

Mechanic on Evergreen Line tunnel laid off for raising safety concerns: WorkSafeBC
Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun
September 8, 2016

The companies responsible for building the Evergreen Line tunnel laid off a worker because he raised safety concerns that posed a “continuing source of grief” for them and then lied about the reason for his dismissal, WorkSafeBC has ruled.

David Britton, whose discriminatory action case was profiled in The Sun earlier this year, was hired by SNC-Lavalin and SELI Canada as a conveyor mechanic in May, 2014. He was the only person on the site trained and certified to maintain a rescue chamber, which is required by law once a tunnel reaches 500 metres in length.

Money trumps job safety for many young workers in Manitoba
CBC News
Septmeber 7, 2016

Job safety is secondary to money for many young workers, but a new campaign from SAFE Work Manitoba is aimed at changing that.

The public agency recently ran a number of bogus ads on Kijiji and other social media sites for obviously unsafe jobs.

One, for a construction helper, stated that the employer might not have protective equipment and that the employee might need to teach themselves some tasks on the job. Another was for a convenience worker, advising potential employees that they might need to work alone through the night.

Migrant farmworkers on 1,500-kilometre caravan to Ottawa
Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star
September 7, 2016

Fifty years after Canada began flying in seasonal workers to help out on the farm, a group is rallying to have the program’s participants granted permanent immigration status.

“These are the workers putting food on our tables, but they’re not being treated the same as other workers,” said Elizabeth Ha, a member of Harvesting Freedom, a migrant farmworker caravan travelling over the next several weeks from Windsor to Ottawa to highlight issues facing those seasonal visitors.

Facing unemployment at home on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Gabriel Allahdua said it was a “great, great, great moment in my life” when he was selected to participate in the program and visit his first developed country. Allahdua spent four years at an Ontario farm, but he said his initial “high expectations” were met with disappointment.

Working a Lot, for a Little: Low-Wage Workers Struggle to Get By
Cherise Seucharan, The Tyee
September 5, 2016

The battles over minimum wage increases tend to be fought with statistics and conflicting economic reports.

The more than 120,000 people being paid minimum wage in British Columbia — about five per cent of workers — and the 380,000 other people who fall into the low-wage category are usually lost in political rhetoric.

B.C.’s minimum wage, at $10.45, is the lowest in Canada. An increase to $10.85 on Sept. 15 will still leave a single minimum-wage worker in Vancouver $5,500 below the poverty line.

Ontario’s labour ministry issues 6 orders against Toronto food company after young worker dies
CBC News
September 6, 2016

Ontario’s ministry of labour has issued six orders against a Toronto food company after a 23-year-old female employee died following an industrial accident on Friday.

Janet Deline, spokesperson for the ministry, said Tuesday that two inspectors went to Fiera Foods Inc., near Wilson Avenue and Clayson Road, on the day of the fatal accident and ordered the company to not disturb the scene.

Coleman Mine work stoppage over, employees back on the job
CBC News
September 5, 2016

Operations at Vale’s Coleman Mine resumed yesterday following a work stoppage last week.

The Ministry of Labour was notified on Wednesday that workers were complaining of smelling smoke.

The Ministry issued 12 work orders following an inspection of the site, including six stop work orders. All of the orders had to be met by Vale before work was allowed to resume.

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