Labour News Update, Sept 26 2016

GM Oshawa workers on strike, 1970. From the Toronto Star archives.
GM Oshawa workers on strike, 1970. From the Toronto Star archives.

Liberals endorse Harper healthcare cuts | GM contract | Port of Churchill | US Steel | Ontario farmworkers | Nalcor contracts protested | OLG Rideau Carleton arbitration defeat | Grassy Narrows mercury poisoning | Saskatoon healthcare layoffs | New York Uber drivers sign union cards | Canadian banks and offshore tax havens | Time’s up, Justin

Trudeau Liberals to maintain Harper’s cuts to healthcare transfers
Laura Payton, CTV News
September 25 2016

Health Minister Jane Philpott says the Liberal government won’t increase the health-care funding formula imposed by former prime minister Stephen Harper’s government. The provincial and territorial governments received guaranteed six per cent increases in their transfers from the federal government. Harper Conservatives told the provinces and territories that they were cutting the annual increase to three per cent.

Why we should vote down the GM contract
Cory Weir,
September 24 2016

[Editors note: the contract was ratified with 65% of the vote on September 25 2016] We’ve been told that we have finally secured the footprint of General Motors in Canada, and we have. That footprint can now be seen on the backs of Supplemental Workforce Employees across the province.

OmniTrax fails to show for meeting with Port of Churchill workers’ union
CBC News
September 21 2016

Officials with OmniTrax Canada failed to show up for a planned meeting with the union representing laid-off workers at the Port of Churchill. The meeting was set to happen Wednesday morning at OmniTrax’s downtown Winnipeg office — after the company cancelled an earlier meeting that was supposed to take place in Churchill in the summer.

14424862_1299309116780330_6028235263002863115_oOntario government to allow Bedrock to restructure US Steel
Hamilton Spectator
September 21 2016

Ontario announced Wednesday that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bedrock Industries Group (Bedrock) to facilitate the restructuring of U.S. Steel. U.S. Steel remains in court-supervised creditor protection proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Harvesting Freedom: Farmworkers march to Ottawa
CJ Chanco,
September 20 2016

Farmworkers and migrant rights activists have reached the midpoint of a month-long caravan they call Harvesting Freedom. Calling for permanent legal status for the tens of thousands of farmworkers across the country, they began their march in Windsor and Leamington, aiming to reach Ottawa by October.

Grand Falls-Windsor workers protest Nalcor’s out-of-province contracts
Leigh Anne Power, CBC
September 20 2016

Unionized tradespeople in Newfoundland and Labrador say they’re angry Nalcor is bringing in workers from other provinces for jobs in Grand Falls-Windsor. The government-owned utility is refurbishing a turbine power generator on the Exploits River, a project that has been ongoing since 2014.The most recent contracts, for a six-to-eight month piece of work, went to Voith Hydro from Quebec. Voith has hired an Alberta company to complete the work, and that company is hiring workers from Western Canada to fill jobs in Newfoundland.

SEIU-West blasts Saskatoon Health Region layoffs
Jason Warick, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
September 16 2016

The Saskatoon Health Region’s announcement of 70 layoffs this week “contradicts” the provincial government’s promise to support quality health care, according to a union president. Health region officials say they are making the cuts, announced Thursday, to deal with an increasingly dire financial situation. They said the 70 job cuts are part of a $34 million savings plan.

Nearly 14,000 Uber and Lyft drivers sign union cards in New York
Cora Lewis, Buzzfeed
September 22 2016

Nearly 14,000 Uber and Lyft drivers in New York have signed up to join the local branch of the Amalgamated Transit Union, according to a union spokesperson. The group plans to rally at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) headquarters next week to demand a formal vote on unionizing.

14358830_1301059949938580_6407483367509052812_nNew leak exposes three Canadian banks with huge offshore tax haven dealings
Robert Cribb and Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star
September 21 2016

Three of Canada’s big banks have registered nearly 2,000 offshore companies and private foundations in the Caribbean tax haven of the Bahamas, according to newly leaked corporate records obtained exclusively in Canada by the Star and CBC/Radio-Canada. RBC, CIBC and Scotiabank appear conspicuously throughout the database of 175,500 corporate registrations on the island nation, which has earned an international reputation as one of the most secretive financial jurisdictions in the world.

Arbitrates picks OLG offer in Rideau Carleton Slots contract dispute
Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
September 21 2016

After a bitter lockout that lasted more than five months, workers at the Rideau Carleton Raceway Slots agreed last May to submit their contract dispute with Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. to binding arbitration. In a Sept. 15 decision, arbitrator William Kaplan picked the final offer put forward by OLG.

Four decades later, 90% of Grassy Narrows population shows signs of mercury poisoning
Jody Porter, CBC
September 20 2016

More than 90 per cent of the population at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong First Nations is showing signs of mercury poisoning, according to new research released on Tuesday by Japanese experts. Mercury was dumped in the river that flows through the two northwestern Ontario communities by Reed Paper, upstream in Dryden, Ont., in the 1960s and early 1970s. Recent scientific reports show the water is still contaminated.

Time’s up, Justin
Michael Harris,
September 18 2016

Are Canadians really headed to Camelot or back to Bullshit City? Selfies, canoe sorties, sunrise rituals and tattoos all have their place in post-substance politics. But they do not replace credible legislative action in the long run.

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