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  • Labour News Round-up, February 11 - March 3 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    through what the Saunders family is dealing with right now An inquiry is long overdue Dias said Tories giving up on union disclosure bill The Conservatives in the Senate have indicated they are backing off of bill C 377 which would have selectively forced unions to disclose financial information and was criticized as an attempt to suppress union activism and derail collective bargaining It treated unions like organized crime according to economist Jim Stanford A Conservative leader in the Senate said last week that the bill was no longer a priority The Tory backbencher who was behind the bill has also said he won t seek re election in 2015 Middle class suffering under Conservatives government report admits An internal government report obtained by the media frankly described how Canada s middle class is mortgaging its future to stay afloat economically making the Canadian dream a myth more than a reality A report produced by Employment and Social Development Canada tracks how the wages of middle income workers have stagnated over the period of 1993 to 2007 during a period of neoliberal cuts and downsizing by the federal government which continues today As a result they get an increasingly smaller share of the earnings pie compared with higher income families who have increased their wealth under corporate tax cuts Middle income families are increasingly vulnerable to financial shocks according to the report a far cry from how the Conservatives have described how the middle class is faring under their economic management Quebec protests against PQ s austerity budget The Quebec government has proposed an austerity budget that caps funding for social programming and increases the cost of daycare which will rise from 7 per child a day to 9 depriving families an extra 500 annually for every child Most of the burden of the budget will fall on those of lower and middle income ASSÉ the Quebec student union that led the massive student strike and mass movement of 2012 has called for a demonstration on April 3 and produced a website that outlines the negative impact of austerity while suggesting alternatives including restoring tax brackets and imposing a modest capital tax BC s LNG plan not all it s hyped to be The prosperity that the BC Liberal government says liquefied natural gas LNG extraction and export will bring the province is hype according to a critical economist By the calculations of CCPA economist Marc Lee the plans would raise about 30 billion much less than Premier Clark s claim of 100 billion But it s unlikely that BC will even be able to get the high end prices it is banking on as Japan s nuclear capacity will soon come back online Each LNG plant of which BC wants to build five come with a 10 billion price tag Beside the economic drawbacks the five plants would in themselves produce nearly double the province s 2020 carbon target and more than five times the legislated 2050 threshold Youth

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2014/labour-news-round-february-11-march-3 (2015-04-05)
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  • Labour News Roundup: January 27 - February 11 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    child care to all of Canada invest in public transit reduce spending on defense extend employment insurance invest in First Nations education and infrastructure like water pipes expand dental care coverage to children reduce tuition rates return to 2007 corporate tax rates crackdown on tax havens and more The fight for a living wage continues in Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a small increase in Ontario s minimum wage to 11 an hour in response to a province wide campaign but campaigners say they will continuing pushing for a 14 minimum wage Despite pressure from some quarters of the business class the campaign for a living wage gained momentum and shifted the debate in the province But the promised legislation to index the minimum wage does not guarantee the legislation will be adopted by legislation while many complained that 11 is still legislating a poverty wage It is too small and locks in the poverty level wages of the province s lowest paid workers a Unifor representative said Harper s deep cuts to government science damage the public The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada released a study showing the federal government aims to cut 2 6 billion and nearly 5000 jobs from science related branches of government between 2013 and 2016 The Vanishing Science report warns that many of the cuts have eliminated any hope at least for the foreseeable future of policies based on evidence Just one of those whose jobs was impacted included Transport Canada engineer Jean Pierre Gagnon who left government as he was working on a review of rail tank cars including those types involved in the Lac Megantic train explosion These are not cuts to back office operations as the Finance Minister described them in 2012 not unless by back office he means Canada s natural environment air and water quality the survival of other species and the health and safety of all Canadians said PIPSC President Debi Daviau Gold plated pensions in the public sector are too generous says retired CEO with 26 5 million pension Gwyn Morgan a retired top executive of Encana Corp was quoted in the Globe and Mail saying that gold plated defined benefit pensions in the public sector are too generous the average is 24 000 and unaffordable Morgan is calling for the conversion of such plans to defined contribution plans which means employees contribute to their pension and employers can choose but are not required to contribute This would only apply to employees and not bosses like him Morgan boosts his Encana pension by being paid through his employment as chair of the board of SNC Lavalin During Morgan s time there senior executives got into trouble over allegations of bribery and corruption around the globe Harper s rosy job creation record is a myth says former Toronto mayor Former Toronto mayor Art Eggleton questions the Harper government s assertion that the economy is doing well Eggleton said we have been fed the myth that

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2014/labour-news-roundup-january-27-february-11 (2015-04-05)
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  • New election reform bill will hurt democracy, says Council of Canadians | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    concerns including the fact that the bill does not give the Commissioner of Elections the authority to compel witnesses to give evidence Commissioner Yves Cote has said that his inability to legally compel witnesses was hampering the investigation of more than 1 400 complaints about false or misleading telephone calls to electors in the 2011 election Instead the power to investigate electoral cheating will be handed over to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions Sounds good in theory but this office privately reports to the Government i e Harper and not Parliament which is who Elections Canada publicly reported to This sounds like the fox guarding the hen house Nor does the bill give election officials the investigative power to compel political parties and their riding associations to provide financial documentation to support their financial returns In addition the bill stops voters from using the voter card sent out by Elections Canada as valid ID This could mean that some Indigenous people young people seniors homeless even those without a drivers licence may not be able to exercise their right to vote And there s more Read the list of Council of Canadian s concerns with the Election

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/blog/jessica-bell/new-election-reform-bill-will-hurt-democracy-says-council-canadians (2015-04-05)
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  • Labour News Roundup: January 14 - January 27 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    to bargaining The united stance will prevent unions from being blindsided as happened in the last round of bargaining when they lost severance pay after the Public Service Alliance of Canada gave it up setting a precedent for the rest Government embedding officials in industry groups at taxpayer expense The government has embedded officials into business groups that lobby on behalf of the weapon s industry oil and gas companies and the automotive sector These federal officials have worked in industry association offices and been directly involved in regular operation since at least 2010 The government and industry say it provides better understanding between the two especially about business opportunities abroad but critics say there are serious concerns about conflict of interest When you re looking at selling arms abroad having the government so closely intertwined with the industry itself raises a lot of questions particularly when it comes to the government s role of regulating the industry at the same time one critic said Unifor study shows that unionization reduces povertyWhat have unions ever done for us They reduce poverty for one As part of its Rights at Work campaign Unifor pulled together the data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD on some of the world s most developed countries to compare the impact of unionization on a country s poverty rate The graph shows that the lower the unionization rate the higher the poverty rate Canadians paying more for EI but less able to access itBetween 2013 and 2016 the federal government will have collected 13 8 billion more than it has paid out in EI claims to workers And as of January 1 2014 Canadians are paying higher EI premiums than before Despite the surplus the Conservative Government has resisted calls by many labour groups to expand the number of workers who are able to access EI when they need it Precarious part time and casual workers are often unable to access employment insurance when they lose their jobs even though all workers pay into this profitable program Sign the NDP s petition to Fix EI Graph shows Conservatives are embracing Temporary Foreign Worker program not condemning itPrime Minister Stephen Harper recently delivered a scathing critique of the controversial Temporary Foreign Worker TFW program during a roundtable in Vancouver saying companies have been abusing the program and harming Canadian workers only for the sake of the bottom line profit But his government has been facilitating the growth and abuse of the program since coming to power in 2006 by rewriting favourable rules to invite employers to recruit temporary foreign workers for any legally recognized occupation from any country changing advertising rules so employers could post jobs in Canada for as little as six days before looking for TFWs down from six weeks creating fast lanes for all employers to deal with self identified shortages and allowing employers to pay 15 less to all workers doing the high skilled job for which temporary work permits

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2014/labour-news-roundup-january-14-january-27 (2015-04-05)
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  • Labour News Roundup - January 1 to January 13 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    be put in its place said Co chair of the union management National Joint Council Ron Cochrane Hopefully the employees will recognize the bully and stand up to it Top Canadian CEOs earn average workers salary by your lunchtime The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives CCPA found that by 1 11pm on January 2nd the average top paid Canadian CEO will have earned as much as the average full time worker s yearly income The review found the average compensation among Canada s top 100 CEOs was 7 96 million in 2012 This compared with the average annual Canadian worker s salary of 46 634 Employers convicted of major crimes now allowed to access temporary foreign worker program Employers convicted of human trafficking sexually assaulting an employee or causing the death of an employee will be allowed to access the Temporary Foreign Worker program after the Harper Government backed away from a proposed ban The country s 250 000 temporary foreign workers are more vulnerable to employer abuse as they have tenuous immigration status and often have a limited understanding of Canada s labour laws An editorial in the Calgary Reporter summarized it nicely with this quote Just as someone convicted of child molestation doesn t get to work in a daycare centre so too should a company found guilty of crimes against its employees not be allowed to benefit from the temporary foreign worker program Canada s unions still have majority support poll finds A Canadian Association of University Teachers CAUT survey found that 70 percent of Canadians say unions are still needed compared to fewer than 30 per cent who say they are obsolete And by a two to one margin respondents said everyone who benefits from a union s services should be required to pay dues to that union This flies in the face of some Conservative politicians push toward right to work laws which allow union members to opt out of paying dues Critics say Saskatchewan s new labour law paves the way for such right to work laws Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is also making right to work a part of his election platform Unions says bosses shouldn t ask sick workers for doctors notes The Ontario Medical Association is calling on employers to drop the requirement of a doctor s note when workers call in sick The Association s president Scott Wooder says you don t want to encourage people who have infectious diseases to go to their doctor s office when it s not necessary They re in a waiting room with other people and some of them have very serious illnesses like cancer There are pregnant mothers and children They re putting those people at risk Wooder believes that employers should be more trusting of workers that call in sick and that sick workers should stay at home Unemployed Canadians collecting EI drops Figures from Statistics Canada show that the percentage of unemployed people collecting employment insurance on P E

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2014/labour-news-roundup-january-1-january-13 (2015-04-05)
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  • CUPE: Make 2014 the Year of the Organizer | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    Labour as a whole has yet to figure out how to best address the problems that these conditions have created Consider the fact that part time college workers in Ontario remain un unionized despite having won the legal battle to unionize in 2008 OPSEU has publicly shamed the Ontario government for refusing to open ballot boxes containing the votes of 9 400 part time college workers It s been an expensive and frustrating campaign that hundreds have worked on for decades and victory still seems elusive In the meantime Ontario colleges have exploited their status and run programs off the backs of part time college sessionals For union activists who want to target young workers these conditions should be seen as having created a great opportunity to expand union density on campus However like in the college sector organizing these workers has not been easy As universities have tried to declassify workers from being workers or gutted bargaining units by declaring workers to be managers many workers have fallen through the cracks The case of the residence fellows at Carleton University illustrates these problems perfectly According to folks involved in the organizing drive CUPE National kyboshed it after having given conditional approval for a drive to take place conditional on what remains un reported Once organizing had started and after cards had been collected CUPE National said they wouldn t represent these workers The reason given as reported by Rabble ca was this The relationship between these students and the University is not an employer employee relationship that can be governed by a collective agreement Organizing a group of workers like residence fellows raises a host of technical questions How do we define workers If a worker receives compensation through room and board how would they pay membership dues Should unions always try to use the traditional union model for workers whose status should be but isn t necessarily a traditional employee employer relationship When should the union fight for employee status When is fighting for worker status through the courts and potentially losing and setting precedent for residence workers at colleges and universities across Canada worth the gamble Can CUPE justify the legal costs to fight for this Once unionized how would a group of people who work for seven months and then leave be represented How could workers have their demands met if they work as an RA in a year where there s no bargaining How would the administration be prevented from waiting out one group to ignore their demands And for a group of people whose work and home life is intertwined would the normal structures of a union satisfy the demand for more fairness in their workplaces or are there other issues that the normal union structure couldn t contemplate or handle Should CUPE consider creating a new kind of representation like Unifor s community chapters to meet the needs of non traditional workers that the current structures aren t structured to meet Do workers

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2014/cupe-make-2014-year-organzier (2015-04-05)
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  • Labour News Round-up, December 2 - December 16 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    jobs by requiring clean energy enterprises to buy a certain portion of their inputs from Ontario in order to qualify for feed in tariff energy prices The WTO found that the Ontario policy discriminates against foreign suppliers Critics said options remained for Ontario to comply with the ruling while still preserving the vital job creation component of the Green Energy Act A poll found that 73 percent of Ontarians feel that the World Trade Organization should not be able to override Ontario s plans to encourage investment in green renewable energy Harper s vast assault on programs and services documented Over its eight years in power the Harper government has embarked on a thoroughgoing project to dismantle the social programs and services that Canadians won through decades of political struggle The government has kept no official list of what programs and organizations have been impacted or eliminated but the Toronto Star compiled a detailed list showing more than 100 cuts under the Harper government impacting EI pensions healthcare women s and Indigenous organizations and environmental bodies By 2017 it is estimated the Conservatives will have reduced spending by a total of 13 6 billion since 2010 Meanwhile they have foregone an estimated 23 billion a year with cuts to the GST and corporate tax breaks New non partisan anti union group emerges as Tories push labour issues to the forefront A new anti union coalition was founded in Ontario to support Tim Hudak s anti worker policies The spokesperson of the Working Canadians coalition Catherine Swift is the chair of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business an organization that is funded by Merit Canada which lobbies for open shop construction companies The coalition seems to be modelled on the Working Families Coalition a group that has constantly opposed the rhetoric of the Progressive Conservatives Swift told the Toronto Star that they hope to directly challenge the anti Tory message of the Working Families Coalition Nurses union takes aim at Cornwall hospital over flu shots The Ontario Nurses Association has accused several Ontario hospitals of trying to shame nurses into getting the flu shot ONA argues that this approach ignores the professionalism and knowledge of nurses and feeds the false notion that the flu shot alone will prevent the spread of infectious disease They instead want the Government of Ontario to implement a compressive province wide infection control strategy that respects nurses UVic faculty clears key hurdle to forming a union Professors and librarians at the University of Victoria have signed the necessary number of union cards to organize a union Over its 50 year history the UVic Faculty Association has not been a formal union operating instead as a professional organization without the benefits that union recognition provides A vice president of the Faculty Association said that unionization is necessary for their members to be able to grieve working conditions tenure policies and long term disability regulations In Canada most faculty associations are formal unions with exceptions at some large

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2013/labour-news-round-december-2-december-16 (2015-04-05)
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  • Labour News Round-up, November 19 - December 1 | Canadian Association of Labour Media
    company had been consistently denied by Ministers of Transport until this past October when the WestJet exemption was granted WestJet flight attendants are not unionized Unions rally as Alberta government poised to ram through two new labour billsLabour activists in Alberta are protesting their government s plans to introduce new labour legislation that would dramatically increase fines for workers who engage in or threaten an illegal strike Unions would have to pay their employers for time lost as a result of illegal strike actions and employers could refuse to remit union dues for three months Fines for engaging in an illegal work action would go from 1 000 per day to 250 000 per day and union leaders could face fines of up to 10 000 The legislation targets Alberta Union of Provincial Employees members many of whom do not have the right to strike and who have been without a contract since March The other part of the proposed labour legislation would make it impossible for this round of negotiations with AUPE to go to arbitration Student movement spokesperson challenges labour movement to hit the streetsThe former spokesperson of the main student union behind Quebec s 2012 student strike predicted that the future will be even more difficult for the labour movement if they limit themselves to defending only their members and do not fight for broader social gains Speaking at the the congress of the FTQ Quebec s largest trade federation Gabriel Nadeau Dubois called on the labour movement to focus not just on collective bargaining and wage increases but also on higher education employment insurance Indigenous rights and the environment What s the point of earning two percent more on wages if the electricity bill increased by 15 percent What s the point of negotiating a 100 bonus if you pay twice as much to send our children to college he asked According to Nadeau Dubois the only way for the labour movement to win is to return to the streets as the student movement did in 2012 If the economic elite continues to attack us there is only one answer and that is to defend ourselves And it is not only in the courts and in the media but in the street How Tim Hudak s Tories are unifying unions CohnThe attacks waged by Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Tim Hudak have united unions across the province argued Toronto Star columnist Martin Regg Cohn The Ontario Federation of Labour dealing with some internal division just months ago emerged with a united front at their recent convention Plans from some unions to present another candidate and oppose Sid Ryan were abandoned and Ryan ran unopposed Cohn argues that the attacks against labour might backfire against Hudak and cites the fact that the anti union agenda of Hudak was criticized by many delegates at his party s last convention and that high profile Conservative activists are warning that attacking labour will alienate more people from their party

    Original URL path: http://calm.ca/article/2013/labour-news-round-november-19-december-1 (2015-04-05)
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