Labour News Update: December 26 2017

More civil servants may see ‘low pay or no pay’ after new glitch found in Phoenix pay system: official | Cafeteria workers at Halifax and Dartmouth Community College campuses join union | CUPE Ontario is shocked and appalled that OMERS pension plan is investing in tax havens | Exclusive: Secretive cabinet decision limits sick days for autoworkers | Arbitrator sets new contract for Ontario college faculty following strike | Liberals to miss second self-imposed deadline for Canada Post review: official | Xmas blues: Labour standards for the holiday season | Millions of Canadians have pension money offshore — without knowing it | Stressed this Holiday Season? Five Tips to Take Care of your Mental Health in the Workplace | ‘Cash-for-jobs’ scheme forced workers to shell out for hospital gig | After Closing Newspapers and Laying Off Journalists, Postmedia Executive Pay Hits New High in 2017 | Black eyes and teeth marks: Graphic photos show injuries to educational assistants | Larry Haiven: Civil service arbitration award – less than meets the eye

More civil servants may see ‘low pay or no pay’ after new glitch found in Phoenix pay system: official
Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press
December 22 2017

OTTAWA—Federal government managers were warned this week of a possible surge in emergency pay requests from civil servants over the holidays after new issues were discovered with the troubled Phoenix pay system.

Managers were to receive lists of “low pay or no pay employees” by Friday, and were being encouraged to reach out to those who might need help.

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Photo via Nova Scotia Advocate

Cafeteria workers at Halifax and Dartmouth Community College campuses join union
Robert Devet, The Nova Scotia Advocate
December 21 2017

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Food service workers at Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) campuses in Dartmouth and Halifax voted overwhelmingly to join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 2.

This afternoon’s formal count, conducted by the Nova Scotia Labour Board, shows that employees of Chartwells voted in favour of joining the union by a 6 to 1 vote in Halifax, and a 13 to 3 vote at the Dartmouth Ivany Campus.

CUPE Ontario is shocked and appalled that OMERS pension plan is investing in tax havens
CUPE Ontario
December 20 2017

TORONTO, ON – The revelation that the public sector pension plan, OMERS has been using tax havens to avoid their tax obligation has come as a shock to CUPE Ontario that represents the largest group of the pension plans membership. Tax avoidance is no way to fund a pension plan, says Fred Hahn, the union’s president.

“No worker wants their retirement pension to be funded at the expense of community services or the wages of other workers,” says Hahn. “As we age, our need for public services like health care actually go up. We still need our roads and bridges, we want good schools and child care for our grandkids. It is not acceptable that our pension plan is trying to avoid paying the very taxes that fund the services we need.”

Exclusive: Secretive cabinet decision limits sick days for autoworkers
Christina Howorun and Jessica Bruno, CityNews
December 20 2017

It’s one of the most important sectors in Ontario’s economy, but thanks to a behind-the-scenes government decision, auto workers aren’t getting the same protections as most other people working in this province.

“We can build a better, fairer Ontario for everyone” was what Labour Minister Kevin Flynn promised as the province passed major changes to the Employment Standards Act in November. Those included a $15 minimum wage, domestic violence leave and ten emergency leave days for everybody who works in a provincially regulated field. Everybody, that is, but the auto sector.

A quietly approved cabinet regulation exempts the auto sector from the 10 days of emergency leave. Instead, those workers only get seven unpaid days for personal illness, the illness of a close family member or an emergency situation.

Arbitrator sets new contract for Ontario college faculty following strike
The Canadian Press
December 20 2017

An arbitrator appointed to settle a contract dispute with Ontario college faculty that led to a five-week strike has awarded them a 7.75 per cent raise over four years.

The 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians were legislated back to work last month and outstanding issues were sent to binding mediation-arbitration.

Liberals to miss second self-imposed deadline for Canada Post review: official
Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press
December 19 2017

The federal Liberals will miss a second self-imposed deadline for deciding whether to restore door-to-door mail delivery to thousands of Canadians, says a government spokeswoman.

The most recent delay is frustrating the union representing postal workers as issues surrounding the future of Canada Post are figuring prominently in negotiations to reach new contracts with the Crown corporation.

Xmas blues: Labour standards for the holiday season
Judy Haiven, The Nova Scotia Advocate
December 19 2017

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Have a holly, jolly Xmas – but if you expect to be paid for the holidays, the Grinch may have something to say about it.

Myth: Boxing Day is a statutory holiday in Nova Scotia.

Reality: No. Boxing Day is a ‘retail closing day’ – if you get the day off, your employer has no obligation to pay you. And, if you work on Boxing Day you are only entitled to your regular wages.

Millions of Canadians have pension money offshore — without knowing it
Zach Dubinsky and Valérie Ouellet, CBC News
December 19 2017

Palm-fringed islands, balmy weather, luxury yachts moored in azure waters — offshore tax havens conjure up a wonderland for the well-heeled and their wealth.

But a CBC investigation based on the Paradise Papers leak has found that millions of ordinary Canadians also have an interest in money parked in tax havens — almost certainly without knowing it.

Seven of the country’s so-called Big 8 pension funds, representing more than 25 million workers, have used tax havens as they invest Canadians’ retirement savings, according to records in the huge leak of offshore financial documents made public last month.

Stressed this Holiday Season? Five Tips to Take Care of your Mental Health in the Workplace
Teamsters Local 362
December 19 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except if you are completely stressed. Unfortunately, stress is something that has become synonymous with the holiday season and it can affect your home and work life.

For people who already have trouble with a work – life balance, it can be particularly daunting with even more put on your plate at home and work with deadlines, parties and presents.

Some experts have said this time of the year can even have an effect on the brain by releasing a certain type of hormone when you are too stressed. The hormone it releases can disrupt your sleep, suppress your immune system and cause depression and anxiety.

‘Cash-for-jobs’ scheme forced workers to shell out for hospital gig
Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star
December 19 2017

Toronto Western Hospital is at the centre of a bizarre “cash-for-jobs” scandal in which prospective employees were apparently forced to pay up to $2,000 to land a part-time housekeeping position — in a scheme allegedly co-ordinated by the department’s manager and chief union steward.

The claims were outlined in a recent decision by labour arbitrator Paula Knopf, who ruled that a union grievance demanding a third-party investigation into the “unusual set of allegations” could proceed, after the hospital tried to quash the complaint.

After Closing Newspapers and Laying Off Journalists, Postmedia Executive Pay Hits New High in 2017
PressProgress
December 18 2017

Your local newspaper may be shutting down and longtime reporters are getting pink slips, but don’t worry about Postmedia’s corporate executives – public documents show they got a big raise in 2017.

Last month’s blockbuster deal between Postmedia and Torstar saw two of Canada’s biggest media conglomerates swap 41 newspapers and immediately liquidate most of their assets, resulting in nearly 250 media job losses.

Black eyes and teeth marks: Graphic photos show injuries to educational assistants
Rachel Cave, CBC News
December 18 2017

Graphic images accompany the latest report on violence in the classroom from the union representing New Brunswick’s 3,500 educational assistants.

The union says 2,471 cases of violence were reported in the past 16 months by the frontline workers who play a critical role in supporting students with complex needs.

Larry Haiven: Civil service arbitration award – less than meets the eye
Larry Haiven, The Nova Scotia Advocate
December 18 2017

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On 9 December, an arbitration board delivered its decision on a collective bargaining dispute between the province and its direct employees (civil servants) represented by the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU).

Strangely, both sides have lauded the board’s decision. How could that be? I will argue below that the arbitration award continues, arguably worsens and certainly vindicates McNeil’s throttling of the unions.

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