Labour News Update: October 3, 2016

Protest at Queen’s Park for decent work | Unifor concessions at GM the new reality | Winnipeg to continue with contracted out garbage collection | CUPE demands investigation in to replacement workers at Peel CAS | U of R prof examines Sask.’s dismal rate of job fatalities and injuries | Tories took away Phoenix training responsibilities from IBM | TappCar in Edmonton unionizes | Tribunal overturns punishment on whistleblowing scientists at Health Canada | GM deal too expensive, FCA tells union | Alberta building trades accept concessions | Manitoba’s northern economy facing serious challenges | Victoria General Hospital replacement in Halifax should not be P3

Hundreds rally at Queen’s Park to call for fair jobs, better Ontario minimum wage
Erica Vella, Global News
October 1, 2016 14572152_1311314658913109_1753334029927113132_n

Hundreds of people came together Saturday at Queen’s Park as a part of the “Rally for Decent Work” to advocate for fair jobs and a better minimum wage increases.

Ontario’s minimum wage increased to $11.40 from $11.25 Saturday, but workers earning that hourly rate say it’s not good enough.

“We came here as skilled immigrants,” Rebeka Amin, who currently works in the manufacturing industry earning minimum wage, said.

GM Union’s Pension Concession Signals New Reality: Experts
Linda Givetash, The Tyee
September 26, 2016

General Motors workers in Ontario decided Sunday to give up defined-benefit pension plans and guaranteed retirement incomes in return for company investments that will increase job security. Union members ratified a new contract negotiated by Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, that ends defined-benefit pension plans for new hires.

The change — expected to feature in bargaining with other automakers — is part of a long-term trend, experts say.

Winnipeg poised to replace Emterra, Progressive with 2 other waste-collection firms
Bartley Kives, CBC News
September 29, 2016

The City of Winnipeg is poised to replace garbage-and-recycling contractors Emterra Environmental and Progressive Waste Solutions with two other firms.

City solid-waste managers are recommending Winnipeg sign a pair of long-term contracts to pick up garbage and recyclables with Miller Waste Systems and GFL Environmental.

Striking CUPE workers want politicians to look at money offered Peel CAS replacement staff
Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian
Septebmer 29, 2016

The union representing striking Peel children’s aid workers is now calling on politicians to take a closer look at the expensive compensation packages the agency is offering replacement workers.

Peel Children’s Aid Society (CAS) Communications Director Lucie Baistrocchi confirmed this week that the compensation incentive being offered to find temporary staff includes a $82.54 hourly wage, reimbursement for travel expenses, accommodation at nearby hotels in Mississauga, a $45 daily meal allowance, a $50 daily stipend, laptop and Wi-Fi cost.

U of R prof examines Sask.’s dismal rate of job fatalities and injuries
Barb Pacholik, Regina Leader-Post
September 29, 2016

As Sean Tucker was about to launch into a lecture on Saskatchewan’s dismal numbers for workers killed or injured because of their jobs, the University of Regina associate professor began to falter.

Struggling with his emotions, Tucker admitted it’s difficult not to think about those behind those stark figures. “Statistics hide the human face of fatalities,” he said during Thursday’s public lecture, showing a slide filled with smiling photos of Saskatchewan workers killed on the job, or due to their work as in the case of a cancer victim exposed to asbestos.

Conservatives took payroll training responsibilities away from Phoenix creator IBM
Katie Simpson, CBC News
September 29, 2016

As the federal government shaped its plan to modernize the public service payroll system, CBC News has learned that the former Conservative government took training duties away from IBM — the company that created the Phoenix program.

The move raises new questions about what led to the payroll fiasco, as problems with training have been listed as a key cause of Phoenix’s troubled rollout.

TappCar announces unionized workforce
Dave Lazzarino, Edmonton Journal
Sepember 28, 2016

The first city in Canada to legislate ride-sharing is now the first in the country with unionized drivers.

Edmonton-based private transportation provider TappCar announced Wednesday that its drivers now have a collective agreement with Teamsters Local 987.

Tribunal overturns punishment on whistleblowing scientists at Health Canada
Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen
September 28, 2016

A dozen years after two high-profile whistleblowers were fired by Health Canada for alleged insubordination, a tribunal has ordered the reinstatement of one and voided a 20-day suspension imposed on the other.

The decision by the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board late last week is being hailed as a major victory for federal whistleblowers by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada.

GM deal too expensive, FCA tells union
Windsor Star
September 28, 2016

Fiat Chrysler and Ford Canada officials have told Unifor that wage gains in the new collective agreement with General Motors are too costly, union president Jerry Dias said Wednesday.

“FCA, like Ford, are ticked off about the agreement with GM because of the changes to the new hire grow-in,” Dias said.

After 3,900 hourly GM workers ratified the agreement on the weekend, Unifor launched contract talks Monday with FCA Canada with the expectation that it would follow the pattern set by General Motors.

Alberta building trades to get paid less for maintenance work due to bad economy
The Canadian Press
September 27, 2016

Hard economic times have prompted an organization that bargains for Alberta’s unionized building trades to sign a deal that includes lower pay for some workers in the hope of keeping them on the job.

The agreement that is to start Jan. 1 covers employees who do daily upkeep and prepare for shutdowns and overhauls at oilsands, energy, petrochemical and other industrial plants

Northern exposure: Manitoba’s northern economy facing serious challenges
Cameron MacIntosh, CBC News
September 29, 2016

It’s a long drive, twisting through seemingly endless forest, past lakes, down a long two-lane highway that alternates between patches of broken pavement and gravel.

Eventually Manitoba’s Provincial Road 391 comes to an end.

A nearly 1,100 kilometre drive north of Winnipeg, Lynn Lake is just about as far north as you can drive in Manitoba on an all-weather road.

It’s also long been at the end of the road economically.

Victoria General Hospital replacement should not be P3, says coalition
David Burke, CBC News
September 28, 2016

The Nova Scotia Health Coalition wants the provincial government to stay away from public-private partnerships as it works to replace the problem-stricken Victoria General Hospital.

The Nova Scotia Health Coalition is a community group that aims to stop the privatization of the health-care system, ensure high levels of care and foster discussion of health-care issues.

Exactly how the Nova Scotia government will pay to replace the VG hasn’t been worked out yet. It’s not even clear how much the new building could cost.

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