Labour News Update: October 24, 2016

EU-Canada trade deal in crisis | Bombardier cutting another 7,500 jobs | More job cuts coming to City of St. John’s | NTCL offers severance deals with a catch | Rally to keep Hydro One public directs anger at Thibeault | Morneau says young Canadians should get used to precarious employment | UN says labour rights are human rights | Hundreds pack county council chambers in support of striking library workers | Montreal blue collars condemned for contempt of court | Charges in miner’s death | Pensions may vanish for Stelco retirees | Petawawa library staff join CUPE | Windsor-Essex school strike causes widespread chaos | Broad support in poll for $15 federal minimum wage | West Vancouver transit workers to strike Monday | Unifor strike deadline set with Ford

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Anti-CETA protestors in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Horst Jens

EU-Canada trade deal in crisis as Canadian minister walks out
Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian
October 22, 2016

A landmark trade deal between the European Union and Canada is in meltdown, after Canada’s trade minister walked out of talks with the Belgian regional parliament that has been blocking the deal.

The Canadian trade minister, Chrystia Freeland, was on the verge of tears on Friday as she announced the “end and the failure” of talks with the Walloon government.

However the head of the European parliament said late on Friday he would hold emergency talks in a bid to save the deal.

Bombardier cutting another 7,500 jobs; rail unit to be hit hardest
Nicolas Van Praet, The Globe and Mail
October 21, 2016

Bombardier Inc. is cutting another 7,500 jobs as the Canadian plane and train maker tries to rebuild profit amid deepening concern about production delays for its flagship C Series airliner and tough competition bearing down on its rail business.

Montreal-based Bombardier will announce a series of measures on Friday, including the job cuts, which represent about 10 per cent of its current global work force of 70,900.

More job cuts coming, after latest City of St. John’s program review
Garrett Barry, CBC News
October 20, 2016

Dozens of workers have been hit by the latest phase of program review at the City of St. John’s, Coun. Jonathan Galgay announced Thursday.

The third and biggest round of the city’s program review process has been completed, which will bring additional cuts of about $7 million and will see more workers lose their jobs by 2017.

NTCL offers workers severance deals. The catch? No badmouthing the company
Guy Quennville, CBC News
October 20, 2016

Northern Transportation Company Ltd. is asking at least 40 soon-to-be-former employees, including several people in Hay River, N.W.T., to sign a release form barring them from speaking badly about the company — before the employees can receive their severance pay.

The release comes just a week and a half before the financially troubled company loses its court protection from creditors on Oct. 31, a possible step to declaring bankruptcy.

Rally to keep Hydro One public directs anger at Thibeault
Jonathan Migneault, Sudbury.com
October 22, 2016

Participants in rally Saturday afternoon directed their anger toward Sudbury MPP and Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault as they marched in opposition to the province’s plans to privatize Hydro One.

“Glenn Thibeault just seems to be hiding behind Kathleen Wynne at every opportunity,” said Darryl, Taylor, president of CUPE Local 4705. “He was elected by the people to speak on behalf of the people. Stop being Premier Wynne’s puppet.”

Local union members with the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, along with members of the Hydro One Not for Sale campaign, were among the participants in Saturday’s rally and march to Thibeault’s Sudbury office, located at 555 Barrydowne Road.

Young Canadians should get used to precarious employment, short term contracts: Finance Minister
The Hamilton Spectator
October 22, 2016

Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canadians should get used to so-called “job churn” — short-term employment and a number of career changes in a person’s life.

Morneau made the comment on Saturday at a meeting of the federal Liberal Party’s Ontario wing, days before he’s scheduled to deliver a fall economic update.

The remark also comes just three days after the Bank of Canada delivered bad news for the economy, downgrading the country’s growth outlook yet again.

Labour rights are human rights: UN report
IndustriALL Global Union
October 19, 2016

A powerful new UN report on freedom of assembly criticizes the “artificial distinction” between labour and human rights.

The United Nations has released a report on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the workplace, to be presented to the 71st session of the general assembly today, 20 October 2016.

The report, by special rapporteur Maina Kiai, finds that the growing concentration of corporate power weakens labour rights. Although states are required under international law to respect and promote workers’ rights, the strength of multinational corporations means they often fail.

Hundreds pack county council chambers in support of striking library workers
Julie Kotsis, Windsor Star
October 20, 2016

Hundreds of people packed Essex County Council chambers Wednesday sitting three deep on the floor and spilling out the doors in a large show of support for striking library workers.

Amherstburg resident Cindy Lemieux told council she and her three children are avid readers and regular patrons of their local library branch.

Lemieux displayed 11 items in her “library bin” checked out more than four months ago that she has not been able to exchange because of the 117-day strike by 58 county library workers.

Montreal blue collars condemned for contempt of court
Catherine Solyom, Montreal Gazette
October 20, 2016

Montreal’s blue-collar union has been ruled in contempt of court for staging a one-day illegal strike Dec. 8., despite a formal injunction issued by the court the previous day.

Along with four of its directors – union president Chantal Racette, vice-president Michel Martin, secretary-treasurer Jacques Rochon and archival secretary Michel Jeannotte – the union could be facing penalties of $50,000, or, in the case of the directors, a prison term of one year each.

Charges in miner’s death
Carol Mulligan, Sudbury Star
October 20, 2016

Tears will be shed today by hard-rock miners at Nickel Rim South Mine, by the union that represents them, and by friends and family as they mark the one-year anniversary of the workplace death of a man who was beloved.

Richard Pigeau, 54, was killed Oct. 20, 2015, when he was struck by a piece of machinery while working in the mine owned by Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Glencore).

Stelco Retirees: Your pension might not be there
Bryce Moffat, The Hamilton Spectator
October 19, 2016

In 1996 the Ontario Government and Stelco violated Local 1005’s binding contract with Stelco by making a separate agreement, the result of which was that today, Oct. 2016, there is $600,000,000 less in our pension fund than there should be. Somebody owes us that money along with our OPEBs; Other Post Employment Benefits and our lost jobs.

Local 1005 (U.S.W.) is now well into the process of asking the Attorney General of Canada for a public inquiry into the conditions that allow our pensioners’ savings to be so easily accessible to others who wish to manipulate them. When our government allows foreigners to so easily walk into Canada and run the whole show the way they’re doing, while at the same time doing nothing to prevent Canadians from being so badly gouged, it’s time to do something about it. This public inquiry we’re asking for is a golden opportunity to expose this grossly unfair set of conditions that have been so dispassionately pressed upon us.

Petawawa library staff join CUPE
Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer
October 17, 2016

Petawawa’s public library staff have unionized.

In a press released issued Monday, Marc Lafrance, an organizing representative of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), said the seven employees of the Petawawa Public Library voted last week to join the union, joining CUPE Local 24.

Windsor-Essex school strike causes widespread chaos
Dave Waddell, Windsor Star
October 18, 2016

Half of Villanova’s 1,200 students signed out of school early Tuesday with teachers being held up at the picket line on the second day of a strike at the Catholic school board.

There were also confirmed reports of students deliberately trashing and urinating on washroom floors at a few schools while instructional time was once again significantly impacted.

Broad support in poll for $15 federal minimum wage
Hina Alam, The Toronto Star
October 19, 2016

A new public opinion survey shows a healthy majority of Canadians support an increase in minimum wage.

The Forum Research poll conducted last week showed that 63 per cent of Canadian voters approve increasing the national wage to $15 an hour. Thirty-one per cent disapproved; six per cent didn’t know.

West Vancouver transit workers to strike Monday
Chad Pawson, CBC News
October 23, 2016

The union representing bus drivers and transit workers in West Vancouver says its 149 members will go on strike indefinitely starting Monday, Oct. 24, 2016.

Unifor strike deadline set with Ford Motor Co.
CBC News, October 20, 2016

Unifor has set its strike deadline in contract negotiations with Ford Motor Co. for 11:59 p.m. Oct 31.

Ford is the last of the Detroit Three automakers to be negotiating a new contract with Unifor.

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