Labour News Update: October 2 2017

‘Progress remains disappointing’: Cami union on talks with GM | ‘You will be sexually harassed’: just one of the perils of working for tips | Migrant workers use art to protest for rights, recognition, permanent status | ‘It shouldn’t be part of the job’ – CUPE campaigns against workplace violence in hospitals | ‘At a non-union site, the employer can change anything they want’: United Steelworkers confident Cameco mine will form union this year | Supreme Court poised to deal a sharp blow to unions for teachers and public employees | Don’t bank on TD’s $15 minimum wage impact forecast | Bears Woods released by Alouettes for reporting safety violations to union: report | Canada pushes inclusion of strong, progressive labour standards in NAFTA | Laurentian University classes cancelled for professor strike | Ontario college faculty: organizing and bargaining hard | CUPE protest outside of Cornwall city hall has effect inside council chambers | Uber threatens to leave if Quebec insists on stricter rules

‘Progress remains disappointing’: Cami union on talks with GM
CBC News
September 30 201721616423_1686355171409054_1533727217808717732_n

The union representing striking workers at Cami Automotive in Ingersoll, Ont., says it’s disappointed after a high-level meeting in Detroit with General Motors failed to break the deadlock.

The 2,800 workers walked off the job almost two weeks ago in the town.

Already, businesses in Ingersoll and auto suppliers in southwestern Ontario are feeling the impact.

‘You will be sexually harassed’: just one of the perils of working for tips
Rose Hackman, The Guardian
September 28 2017

How are you doing today, sir? Dining in, or placing a to-go?” asks a cheery waitress. “Eating in,” a man in his late 20s replies. We are in a casual dining restaurant off a highway in eastern Michigan, Friday, mid-afternoon. Above him, televisions blare; behind him, squeaky-looking booths are starting to fill up.

The man places his order – a burger, some sides – and looks back at his phone, slouching on the leather bar chair. A few moments later, the bartender returns with a beer, which he drinks quickly.

After he leaves, from the other end of the empty bar, I squint my eyes as hard as I can to see what he has left behind for her.

It’s a measly one-dollar bill.

Migrant workers use art to protest for rights, recognition, permanent status
Tamar Harris, The Toronto Star
September 29 2017

An ill child and growing health-care costs led Rene Lopez to leave his family and home in Colima, Mexico and journey to Canada for work.

Lopez, 44, arrived in Canada as a migrant worker 11 years ago. Today, the father of six works in British Columbia at a vineyard.

“The conditions are not the best,” Lopez told the Star through a translator. “There’s a range of issues, the conditions of work are not always adequate. We have issues with health and health care. We don’t have guarantees of our rights.”

‘It shouldn’t be part of the job’ – CUPE campaigns against workplace violence in hospitals
CBC News
September 28 2017

Most people expect a hospital to be a safe place.

But physical, verbal and sexual assault is a growing problem in Ontario hospitals, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The union has begun a campaign against workplace violence, since the problem has become a regular part of the job for many hospital staff.

‘At a non-union site, the employer can change anything they want’: United Steelworkers confident Cameco mine will form union this year
Alex MacPherson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix
September 27 2017

Canada’s largest mining union says it’s confident the roughly 250 non-management workers at Cameco Corp.’s flagship uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan will agree to unionize before the end of the year.

United Steelworkers (USW) negotiated access to the Saskatoon-based company’s Cigar Lake mine after being approached by employees, and began giving presentations two weeks ago, said USW International staff representative Mike Pulak.

The union drive comes nine months after Cameco announced it would lay off around 40 people and implement a new two-weeks-in-two-weeks-out work schedule at the remote mine as part of a broader effort to save money in a weak market.

Supreme Court poised to deal a sharp blow to unions for teachers and public employees
David G. Savage, The Los Angeles Times
September 28 2017

The Supreme Court is poised to deal a sharp blow to the unions that represent millions of teachers and other public employees, announcing Thursday it will consider striking down the mandatory fees that support collective bargaining.

The justices will hear the case of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to the union, which represents 35,000 state workers.

The decision, due by next June, could prove a costly setback for public-sector unions in 22 states, including California, where such fees are authorized by law. Labor experts have predicted a significant percentage of employees would stop supporting their union if given a choice. The other 28 states have “right to work” laws that forbid requiring workers to join or support a union.

Don’t bank on TD’s $15 minimum wage impact forecast
Michal Rozworski, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
September 29 2017

Business in skewed economic assessments of Ontario’s move to a $15 per hour minimum wage has been brisk this week.

Only a day before the Chamber of Commerce released its full (of holes) study, the economics department of TD Bank published its own dire predictions about job losses. The gloomy prognosis discounts the weight of much recent research, which points in the opposite direction: substantial net benefit for low-wage workers.

On a positive note, the TD analysis is at least explicit about impacts of minimum wage increases on both sides of the cost-benefit ledger—unlike recent reports by the Fraser Institute and CANCEA.

Bears Woods released by Alouettes for reporting safety violations to union: report
Drew Edwards, 3 Down Nation
September 28 2017

Former Montreal Alouettes linebacker Bear Woods was released by the club for reporting safety infractions to the players’ union, according to a report in the French-language newspaper La Presse.

Citing anonymous sources, reporter Miguel Bujold says that Woods – who was CFLPA player rep in Montreal – complained to the union after the Alouettes held padded practices on the first day of training camp, in violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

According to the story, he was released by general manager Kavis Reed the following morning and without the knowledge of head coach Jacques Chapdelaine.

Canada pushes inclusion of strong, progressive labour standards in NAFTA
Joan Bryden, Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press
September 26 2017

Canada is pushing for the inclusion of enforceable, progressive labour standards in a rewritten North American Free Trade Agreement, aimed at compelling Mexico to pay workers higher wages and do away with so-called “yellow” unions that represent employers rather than employees.

Canada’s proposed chapter on labour standards also calls for an end to right-to-work laws in the United States, whereby workers in 28 states have the right to refuse to join or pay dues to a union while enjoying all the benefits of a unionized workplace. Labour leaders contend such laws are essentially aimed at starving the unions of cash and weakening their ability to represent the interests of their members.

Laurentian University classes cancelled for professor strike
CBC News
September 28 2017

Classrooms at Laurentian University will be quiet today as over 500 professors are now on strike.

The 367 full-time teachers and 200 sessional staff are represented by the Laurentian University Faculty Association.

The union posted on its Facebook page last night:

“At 8:30 this evening, LUFA presented the administration with an offer aimed at averting a strike. Rather than responding to the offer, the university left the negotiations and issued a public communication at 10:50 pm that an impasse had been reached.”

Ontario college faculty: organizing and bargaining hard
Pam Johnson, socialist.ca
September 27 2017

Faculty in Ontario’s 24 colleges reach two critical junctures in the coming week that will impact faculty jobs and student education. Unionized faculty come to the end of their collective agreement on September 30, with a strike mandate in hand. Non-unionized contract faculty will begin voting on whether they will form a union on October 2.

Faculty, who are members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), have voted by a two-thirds majority for a strike mandate to push hard at the bargaining table for better working conditions for precarious faculty and for more control over academic decisions. They could be striking by the middle of October.

CUPE protest outside of Cornwall city hall has effect inside council chambers
Alan S. Hale, Cornwall Standard-Freeholder
September 26 2017

The city has followed through on a confidential directive from council – made public by the Standard-Freeholder in April – by offering Cornwall’s unionized municipal workers a zero percent raise in their next collective agreement.

But a protest led by those workers on Monday may be causing some increased tensions between council members.

According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the municipality’s opening offer in its contract negotiations was for their members to take a one-year contract with a wage freeze and go back to the bargaining table against next year.

Uber threatens to leave if Quebec insists on stricter rules
CBC News
September 26 2017

Uber is threatening to cease operations in Quebec next month if the province doesn’t back down on new, stricter rules regulating the ride-hailing service.

Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, director general of Uber Quebec, said the service will shut down Oct. 14 if nothing changes.

On that date last year, the two sides agreed to a pilot project that allowed the ride-hailing company to operate.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Add Comment