Labour News Update: January 9, 2017

Rising up against unjust recruitment in B.C. | The MANA lockout in Hamilton | Using your contract survey to maximum effect | Alberta workers under the NDP | CEO salaries soar to new heights | Cold Lake Points West Living Lock-Out | Essex County Library strike | Part-time work fuels Canada’s labour market in 2016 | NSGEU files for conciliation | N.S. needs to implement $15/hour minimum wage | Winnipeg enters whirlwind of labour negotiationss | Minimum wage hikes not effective in reducing poverty: Manitoba premier| Gatineau transit talks break down | UberEats bike courier pulls back the curtain | A year after Bill 6, Alberta farm workers WCB claims more than double | Leitch tells Fox she agrees with critique of ‘socialized medicine | Quebec unions to lobby for more health care spending | Unions say talk of wage rollbacks, layoffs unfair to Saskatchewan workers |


Rising up against unjust recruitment in B.C., January 3

On December 16, the Rising Up Against Unjust Recruitment coalition launched their campaign to highlight the mistreatment of migrant workers at the hands of third-party recruiters and a BC government that fails to enact policies to protect them. Members of the coalition point out that charging people money to find a job in BC is in violation of the province’s Employment Standards Act, and yet that’s exactly what migrant workers in the temporary foreign worker program face.

Using your contract survey to maximum effect, January 4

For a union bargaining team, a contract survey can be one of your most useful tools. But like any tool, it works best for certain jobs, and there are things that it just can’t do. Contrary to what you might think, contract surveys are not the place to start finding out the core issues motivating your membership. If you don’t know what the membership wants, you won’t know to ask a question about it

The MANA lockout in Hamilton, January 5

The arrival of Max Aicher North America (MANA) in Hamilton was supposed to be a success story, ushering in a new era of advanced steel manufacturing in a beleaguered steel city eager for good news. Public money was thrown its way by both the province and the city as politicians saw their next big chance to bring new manufacturing jobs back to Ontario. Instead, the story of MANA has become a case-study in corporate fraud, union-busting, and the politicians who enable it by looking the other way.

Alberta workers under the NDP, part one, January 6

In part one of this interview, Barnetson surveys the state of health and safety and workers’ compensation reforms in Alberta, including Bill 6. In part two of the interview to be published next week, Barnetson talks about the challenges of union organizing in Alberta, the $15 minimum wage, and the politics of the province in a period of low oil prices.

15844294_1416177651760142_545559458551363090_oIn Other News

CEO salaries soar to new heights
Toronto Star, January 3

The average total compensation for Canada’s 100 best-paid CEOs hit a historic high of $9.5 million in 2015, according to the results of an annual report on executive compensation. That is 193 times the average worker’s salary in Canada, according to the report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. In fact, by 11:47 a.m. on Jan. 3, the first working day of 2017, CEOs in the top 100 will have earned what the average Canadian earns in a year — $49,510. “Although public outrage over exorbitantly high CEO pay continues unabated, especially since the Great Recession of 2008-09, CEO pay in Canada takes a licking but keeps on ticking,” according to the report’s author, economist Hugh Mackenzie.

Gatineau transit talks break down after union president suspended
CBC, January 7

With a potential bus strike looming, the union representing public transit workers in Gatineau has walked away from labour negotiations with the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO). The union announced Friday it was ceasing talks after disciplinary measures were imposed on its president, Félix Gendron, and other members of the union.

Part-time work fuels Canada’s labour market in 2016
Toronto Star, January 6

Canada’s job market ended 2016 with a bang — recording an unexpected boost in full-time work in December — even though last year was all about the part-timers. Statistics Canada’s year-end employment review Friday said the country added 153,700 net new part-time jobs last year and just 60,400 full-time positions — a number so low it was statistically insignificant. The final number for 2016 would have actually shown a loss in full-time work had it not been for a surprise December gain of 81,300 new positions in the category.

NSGEU files for conciliation, says government won’t budge
CBC, January 5

The union representing 7,300 government workers in Nova Scotia is filing for conciliation after reaching what it calls an impasse in contract talks with the province. The Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union issued a news release Thursday night saying members want a fair agreement and hope a conciliator can help make that happen.

Young activist hands out breakfast to striking library workers
Windsor Star, January 6

The warmth of a 12-year-old girl has helped brighten the spirits of Essex County Library workers nearing their 200th day on the picket line. Local activist Jada Malott handed out breakfast to nearly 50 library workers at the Essex County Civic Centre on Friday morning as they marked their 196th day on strike.

Winnipeg enters whirlwind of labour negotiations
CBC, January 5

More than 80 per cent of the City of Winnipeg’s unionized workforce entered the new year without a collective bargaining agreement, as labour deals covering most city employees expired over the winter holidays. Winnipeg’s contracts with its police officers, firefighters, professional and general employees all expired before Christmas, paving the way for a busy schedule of negotiations in early 2017 — and an uncertain impact on the city’s budget after all the talks wind up.

Unions say talk of wage rollbacks, layoffs unfair to Saskatchewan workers
Global News, January 3

Labour leaders in Saskatchewan say it’s unfair for public sector workers to pay for the province’s $1 billion deficit. Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) president Larry Hubich said workers shouldn’t be blamed for the government’s shortcoming and be penalized with wage rollbacks or layoffs. “There’s lots of places they can raise money on the revenue side as opposed to cutting workers and firing public sector workers and forcing them to accept the blame for something they didn’t cause,” Hubich said Tuesday.

Quebec unions to lobby for more health care spending
CTV, January 3

Quebec’s third-largest union is preparing to lobby hard in 2017 for major funding to health care and education. The CSQ outlined ten priorities for the upcoming year, including pressuring the provincial government to spend more on those two sectors of the economy. It argues the budgetary surplus comes as a direct result of making cuts to health and social services in Quebec, and is now suspicious of how the money saved will be spent.

Snowclearing cuts pose ‘serious risk’ to Newfoundland and Labrador drivers, after years of neglect
CBC, January 4

Cutbacks to snowclearing services are putting Newfoundland and Labrador drivers at risk, according to the union that represents highway maintenance workers. Jerry Earle, the president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Asssociation of Public and Private Employees, says it takes too long to call in extra crews after a storm.

15873229_1417156384995602_5554856185575707025_n3 Reasons the Cold Lake Points West Living Lock-Out is Important for Patient Care
Friends of Medicare, January

With the holidays behind us, many of us were able to reconnect and refresh with family and friends. For the staff and patients at the for-profit supportive living facility run by Points West Living in Cold Lake, those holiday traditions were disrupted. Despite extreme cold weather warnings in Cold Lake, the AUPE-represented staff were given lockout notice and sent out of the building on Friday, December 16 at 8:30 a.m. Facing freezing elements and separation from their residents, the staff remained united in their attempt to secure their first contract despite the adversity.

This UberEats bike courier is pulling back the curtain on the industry
Globe and Mail, January 6

In an industry rife with anecdote, where some bike couriers are known to brag about their income or cry poor, one veteran rider is pulling back the curtain. It’s not an easy life – a hospital visit is usually just one oblivious driver away and the weather turns hostile a few months each year – but this man says doing bicycle food deliveries now is better than the “sweatshop on wheels” he remembers as a traditional courier. And he realized that every day he worked he was creating a stream of data that could show the real picture of life on two wheels. So he started to post his mileage and earnings online, hoping to cut through the rhetoric and keep the blog going long enough to make a robust, albeit one-person, data set.

Leitch tells Fox she agrees with critique of ‘socialized medicine’
Ipolitics, January 4

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch told Fox News’ Business Network on Tuesday that elites, insiders, and left-wing media, are doing everything they can to stop her and also suggested she doesn’t agree with universal healthcare. Leitch’s interview with Fox host David Asman aired, yesterday, and the pair covered Leitch’s controversial plan to screen new immigrants for values and healthcare.

The United States Postal Service and Staples Deal is Over!
APWU, January 5

Postal management informed the APWU in writing that the “Approved Shipper” program in Staples stores will be shut down by the end of February 2017. This victory concludes the APWU’s three-year struggle. The boycott against Staples is over! “I salute and commend every member and supporter who made this victory possible,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “I never doubted that if we stayed the course, stuck together and kept the activist pressure on, we would win this fight.”

A year after Bill 6, farm workers WCB claims more than double
Calgary Herald, January 5

In the first year that controversial farm safety legislation was in effect, workers’ compensation claims for farm workers more than doubled in Alberta. Statistics provided by the Workers Compensation Board show there were 793 farm injury claims accepted by WCB in 2016, compared with 339 the year before.
N.S. needs to implement $15/hour minimum wage: Burrill
Metro, January 5

Nova Scotia needs to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage to help address an absurd wage gap issue that is devastating the economy, according to Nova Scotia’s NDP leader. “You have to have an economy that works,” Gary Burril told NEWS 95.7. “If you have as we have in Nova Scotia, 130-thousand people making less than $15 an hour and you have food bank use up 20 per cent, and in the meantime, you have the CEO of Emera making $4.3 million, this simply won’t work.”

Labor Opponents Already Have The Next ‘Friedrichs’ SCOTUS Case Ready to Go Under Trump
In These Times, January 4

The Supreme Court gave unions an unexpected victory last year when it issued a decision in a case that had threatened to take away the right of public sector unions to collect dues from workers they represent. That win may be short-lived. Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association was meant to be the capstone in decades of cases that sought to have the courts determine that fair-share fees for public sector workers are unconstitutional.

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