Labour News Update: Sept. 19, 2016

Guelph scabs | GM Oshawa | RSU hates moms | Halifax pensions | Trudeau sit-in | Union vs. union | Qu’Appelle Health Region workers | KFC/Taco Bell unionizes | Cape Breton Star shut down | TFW underground economy | Councillors join Steelworkers | IKEA Montreal strike vote | Alberta $15 min. wage |  St. John’s ice cream plant | Free Transit in Cape Breton | Hematite Manufacturing lock out

d_z_gmannouncement_03___galleryLast week on

Bustin’ scabs in Guelph
Tiffany Balducci

GM Oshawa: the untold story of CEVA
Cory Weir

The RSU hates moms
Dave Bush

Halifax outside workers rally in defense of their pensions
Robert Devet

Newfoundland and Labrador still rising
Robert Devet

In other news:

Union pitted against union amid accusations of harassment, intimidation at OPSEU
Martin Regg Cohn
Sept. 17, 2016
The Toronto Star

Standing up for workers’ rights is what OPSEU does every day for its 130,000 union members, defending them against intimidation or retaliation by employers.

But these days, one of Ontario’s biggest unions stands accused of harassment and retaliation by its own unionized employees — amid terminations, suspensions, investigationsand mutual recriminations at its head office.

Sit-in at Trudeau’s constituency office over Phoenix pay system earns group meeting with PM: Public servants had expected to be kicked out, but prime minister agreed to see them
Tom Parry
Sept. 16, 2016
CBC News

A group of civil servants in Montreal frustrated with the Phoenix payroll system managed to take their concerns straight to the top this week.

About a dozen employees from the Department of National Defence occupied the constituency office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his Papineau riding Thursday morning and demanded a meeting. They wanted to lay out their concerns on the many flaws in the new government-wide Phoenix pay system that has led to tens of thousands of federal employees being underpaid, overpaid or receiving no pay at all.
Layoff notices coming for Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region workers
Pamela Cowan and Ashley Martin
Sept. 16, 2016
Regina-Leader Post

The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) will be issuing layoff notices after a two-year review of staffing in 117 round-the-clock care units.

To get to a balanced budget, the region must reduce 120 full-time equivalent positions, but much of that will be accomplished by cutting casual work from part-timers and attrition. Fewer than 20 people are expected to lose their jobs, but all positions are being considered, said Keith Dewar, CEO of the RQHR.

Winnipeg employees form 1st union at Canadian KFC/Taco Bell franchise: Staff at 1651 Regent Avenue West ‘really want it and they’ve suffered enough,’ union organizer says
Sept. 15, 2016
CBC News

Staff at a Taco Bell/KFC in Winnipeg have unionized, becoming the first such franchise to do so in the company’s history in Canada.

“The workers really want it and they’ve suffered enough,” said Ruby Syed, an organizer with Workers United Canada Council.

Chronicle Herald shuts down its Cape Breton paper, citing ‘headwind of union sympathy’
Company says Thursday edition of Cape Breton Star will be its last
Jean Week
Sept. 15, 2016
CBC News

The Chronicle Herald has announced it’s shutting down the Cape Breton Star, its weekly publication on the island.

The company said in a statement Thursday that the Cape Breton Star has “come up against a prevailing headwind of union sympathy in industrial Cape Breton.”

Chronicle Herald journalists have been on strike across the province for the past eight months.

How the temporary foreign worker program is shaping Canada’s underground economy
Alia Dharssi
Sept. 14, 2016
Calgary Herald

The first time Reylene Punzalan saw snow five years ago, she couldn’t resist tasting it.
“I was so excited because the snow was so beautiful,” recalled Punzalan, 28, a Filipina woman with a freckled face and pin-straight black hair.

That was in 2011, some months after she landed in New Brunswick to take up a seasonal job as a “ringer” picking meat out of lobsters at a seafood processing company.

The anxiety Punzalan felt upon arrival in Shediac, the self-proclaimed Lobster Capital of the World, dissipated when she felt welcomed by friendly Canadians who greeted her on the streets.

But Punzalan must leave Canada in November.

Hamilton joins call for public inquiry for U.S. Steel Canada bankruptcy process
Kevin Warner
Sept. 14, 2016
Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors have joined with the steelworkers and pensioners calling on the federal Liberal government for a public inquiry into U.S. Steel Canada’s bankruptcy protection process.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla introduced the motion at council’s Sept.14 meeting, saying the city needs to “symbolically” stand with the pensioners who are feeling the impact of possibly losing their benefits.

IKEA Montreal employees vote to strike
Mark Lennihan
Sept. 13, 2016
Presse Canadienne

Montreal IKEA union members rejected their employer’s latest offer at a general meeting on Sunday and provided a mandate for pressure tactics including a 24-hour strike.

Employees voted 92 per cent in favour of the strike, which will be triggered at an appropriate time, according to the union.

It’s official: Alberta’s minimum wage will be $15 an hour by 2018
Dean Bennett
Sept. 13, 2016

It’s now on the books: Alberta’s minimum wage will be $15 an hour by 2018.

Labour Minister Christina Gray says cabinet has passed the required regulation to not only raise the rate to $12.20 an hour this October, but also to boost it by $1.40 an hour again in October 2017 and finally in October 2018.

The changes can only be rescinded by Premier Rachel Notley’s cabinet or by a successor government.

Scotsburn closing St. John’s ice cream plant December 9: Union says the news is ‘a shock to everybody,’
Marilyn Boone
Sept. 13, 2016
CBC News

Scotsburn Ice Cream Company will stop making its frozen treats in St. John’s, telling customers Tuesday that the Newfoundland plant will close Dec. 9.

Unifor Local 597 representative Carolyn Wrice sat in on the meeting when the news came down that the plant would be shut down.

“It was total shock and devastation.” she told CBC News.

Cape Breton transit numbers got big summer boost thanks to free program
The program cost $80K to provide free transit service in July and August
Sept. 12, 2016
CBC News

The end of summer has brought about the end of a Cape Breton pilot project that allowed transit users to ride the bus for free.

For July and August, survey results from the Cape Breton Regional Municipality showed transit usage surged.

‘No one benefits’: Hematite Manufacturing locks out workers
Ryan Flanagan
Sept. 12, 2016
CTV News
Workers formed a picket line in front of a Guelph auto parts manufacturing plant on Monday.

Approximately 60 employees of Hematite Manufacturing were locked out Sunday morning. The previous day, they had rejected the company’s latest contract offer by a margin of one vote.

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