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 Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers
( Last updated Monday, July 16, 2018 6:08 am EDT)
Safety Survey Results
The AWPPW staffed a booth at the annual safety conference and asked folks to fill out an anonymous survey about safety where they work.  There were 142 people who participated in the survey and the totals are listed under each category of the questions asked. Friday, December 8, 2017 2:33 pm EST

AWPPW Local 675 Members 94% Rejection of WestRock Labor Offer
. Wednesday, October 25, 2017 3:56 pm EDT

Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) formally begins this August 16 - RSVP to the Portland Town Hall
. Monday, August 7, 2017 6:36 pm EDT

An inside look at how Koch Industries does business

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:59 pm EDT

Japan's Nippon Paper to buy US beverage container operation
June 16, 2016 2:00 am JST Japan's Nippon Paper to buy US beverage container operation src=http://asia.nikkei. Wednesday, June 15, 2016 6:26 pm EDT

( Last updated Monday, July 16, 2018 6:08 am EDT)
Striking health care workers rally
Striking health care workers at the Port Arthur Health Care Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario drew support from members of Unifor, other unions and the community as well as municipal and provincial politicians at a colourful rally on July 9. “This is a classic example of the needy and the greedy,” National President Jerry Dias told the rally. “You have doctors making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and paying their employees, including some that have been working here over 30 years, $14.71 an hour. This is absolutely disgusting.” Prior to speaking at the rally Dias led an impromptu march inside the health clinic to confront the doctor owners who are refusing to negotiate with the 65 support staff who work as  appointment secretaries, medical aids, and medical records personnel. "We're at the clinic trying to get the attention of those who refuse to bargain," said Dias. “The fact that you have workers that work in a health clinic that do not even have health benefits, don't get prescription drugs, is an embarrassment." The doctor’s and the health centre CEO refused to come out of their offices to meet Dias and the workers inside the clinic that is currently staffed by a scab workforce consisting mainly of the partners and children of the doctors. “They have kids working here if you can imagine,” Dias said. “There are confidential medical files all over the place and you have teenagers working here. What kind of doctor would have their kid acting as a scab over the summer?” The rally then moved outside where Assistant to the National President Katha Fortier called the strike an example of workplace sexism in action. “This is about lack of respect for women workers,” said Fortier. "If these doctors could pay women support staff less they would." The workers, who are all women represented by Unifor Local 229, have been on strike since April 9. Many members make little more than minimum wage with no health care benefits while staff who have been working full time at the clinic for years are still classified as casual. In a show of solidarity the strikers were joined by a large contingent from OPSEU as well as members of CUPW, OECTA, OSSTF, CUPE and ONA among others. View a photo gallery of the rally at Facebook.com/UniforCanada With multiple union flags and neon placards held high the group then formed the “Longest Picket Line”, organized by local business owner and community activist Lori Paras, which received constant honks of approval from vehicles as they drove by. Additional action is planned in the coming days with a second “Longest Picket Line” scheduled for next Monday. At the rally Dias vowed that the union will continue to escalate pressure on the health care centre owners. “If we have 6,000 members in Thunder Bay, then we are going to have to bring a heck of a lot of them here to show the doctors that we mean business and we are sick and tired of them exploiting their own employees. They should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. The workers continue to garner support with over 1,700 emails sent to the employer to demand that the Centre and its doctors get back to bargaining. “The support of the community of Thunder Bay and across the world has been incredible,” said Andy Savela, Unifor Health Care Director. “Over 102,000 people have seen the video that talks about these workers’ fight for justice and are standing in solidarity with them.” For more information on this strike and to find out how to offer solidarity please visit unifor.org/portarthurhealthstrike Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

More school bus drivers join Unifor
Unifor’s strong position as the voice of school bus drivers has grown with the addition of 216 new members at Campeau Bus Lines Ltd in Durham, Ontario. “The drivers knew they needed a voice in a difficult industry. They held strong in their resolve to unionize and Unifor Organizers were with them every step of the way,” said Unifor Interim Organizing Director Danny McBride. Unifor either collected both federal and provincial membership cards from the workers, because unions at school bus companies can be federally or provincially certified, depending on the nature of the company’s business. Unifor applied for a federal certification in early June, and on the eve of the Canada Day long weekend, the Canada Industrial Relations Board recognized that the majority of workers had signed a union membership card and certified the new bargaining unit. “With all the challenges facing the industry, school bus drivers are increasingly recognizing that they need a union to protect their rights,” said Organizer Kellie Scanlan, who led the organizing drive. After successful organizing campaigns, Unifor now represents about 1,700 school bus drivers and has been a strong voice for workers in the industry, speaking out on issues such as unpaid work and the challenges in recruiting drivers to the industry, leading to shortages. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

Bell Clerical membership grows as contracted positions convert to union jobs
Unifor Local 6006 held a special new member orientation on June 28 to welcome about thirty members who were new to the union, but not new to Bell Canada, their workplace. The new members were former contractors who had initially been hired to work on site to do clerical work but were converted to unionized positions and happily accepted.  In the last round of negotiations, finalized on March 7, 2018, members organized against widespread erosion of bargaining unit jobs that had in some cases, seen unionized workers forced to train and work alongside contractors who would then perform their job. “Before the last round of bargaining, Unifor members were not respected and felt anxious about their job security,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “Because of Unifor members mobilizing and bargaining, we reversed these attacks. It’s important to the union to do everything we can to defend member’s jobs and build an effective, strong union all members can take pride in.” The bargaining committee won language to address the issue, and all contractors doing the same work as clerical members in Bell workplaces, some 225 jobs, will be converted to the bargaining unit job classifications that they should have been hired as in the first place. As a Local 6006 chief steward and Bell Clerical member in the engineering department, Jillian Waterfield has had firsthand experience both of the discouraging experience of working alongside contractors, and of this new, positive transition. “We’re getting to know the former contractors better now, and they’re already some of the most engaged new members that I’ve met, always asking questions and looking for ways to get involved,” Waterfield said. The local has a newfound sense of unity and solidarity that clerical workers and former contractors have not known for many years. Local 6006, President Pearl Almeida describes the difference it has made. “We recently welcomed about 30 new members into the union so far, former contractors. It has improved morale and inclusiveness for existing members and former contractors. The change has been so refreshing, to see the right thing being done,” said Almeida. “Welcoming these new members is about Unifor’s goal of ensuring that all workers have access to join a union, and for Bell Clerical members to have strong language protecting their jobs against future erosion,” added Chris MacDonald, Assistant to the National President. “If you’re hired to do bargaining unit work, then you deserve bargaining unit protection, and to be a member of our union.” New Unifor members can learn information about the union thought the New Member Kit, which is available free of charge to all local unions. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

Heat stress is a serious concern as temperatures soar
With summer here and temperatures soaring, heat stress can be a real threat to workers’ health and well-being.   The average human body naturally maintains a temperature between 36°C and 38°C. Sweating cools our bodies down, but if you work in a hot environment this might not be enough to provide relief to the heat.  “Working in hot conditions puts stress on our body’s cooling system,” said Sari Sairanen, Director Health, Safety and Environment. “High temperatures and humidity stress the body’s ability to cool itself and heat illness becomes a special concern during hot weather.”  The three major forms of heat illness are: heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. A heat stroke can be a life threatening condition but it is one that is mitigated through engineering and administrative controls, including: the use of insulating and reflecting barriers, air conditioned rest areas and mechanical assistance to reduce the physical demands of work. Other mechanisms for preventing heat stress are increased frequency and length of breaks, training workers to recognize symptoms of heat stress and possibly scheduling hot jobs to cooler times of the day. In advocating for these and other strategies to manage work in hot conditions, members, health and safety reps and the union can help to collectively negotiate more permanent solutions. Unifor has made several health and safety gains by negotiating solutions that range from isolating hot equipment to implementing mandatory cooling down periods and revising work schedules during heat waves. In 2001, the heat stress related fatality of a member at Weston Bakeries led to an inspection of the workplace by the Ontario Labour Ministry. The inspection resulted in the plant being shut down temporarily and heat stress education and training for workers was mandated. This came at the heels of workers’ expressing concerns about excess heat, lack of sufficient cool water and inadequate heat stress breaks. “We need to ensure workers are aware of their right to refuse work, including work which can endanger them,” said Vinay Sharma, National Representative for Health and Safety. “In addition to environmental and work scheduling controls, workers should have access to personal protective equipment, like water-cooled jackets and reflective clothing in high radiant heat situations as may be required.” For more information about heat stress and ways to address it, please review this PDF document and be sure to co tact your local health and safety workplace rep http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/documents/document/heat_stress.pdf. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

President’s conference drives the spirit of Unifor
For two days, local presidents from across the country were in Port Elgin for the second President’s Conference. As our union prepares to celebrate five years of Unifor, this was an opportunity to discuss ways to build engagement of members, strengthen our activism, and identify opportunities, challenges and future priorities to continue the union’s progressive vision. Most of all, the conference provided an opportunity for the national leadership team to say thanks for all of the tireless work that presidents do each and every day to build the union. During his opening speech, National President Jerry Dias extended his gratitude to local presidents, all members, the national executive board and staff for the tremendous amount of work done to create and establish Unifor. “There is not a single government official, a member of the media or trade unionist in this country that doesn’t know our union and its’ work, and that is because of all of you”, said Dias. “I thank you for what you have done and what you are going to do keep pushing our union’s progressive agenda forward.” In keeping with the founding principles of Unifor that led to the creation of a new union for changing times, the conference had presentations and sessions that focused on building our union and the labour movement, organizing, defending labour rights, making our progressive voice heard and of course staying tough at the bargaining table.   Political reports and updates on the work of the union were delivered by the leadership team including Bob Orr, National Secretary-Treasurer, the three Regional Directors, Joie Warnock, Naureen Rizvi and Lana Payne, and the Québec Director Renaud Gagné; along with staff from several departments in the national union. Orr told presidents that the national union continues to act in an accountable and smart fiscal way. “We use members’ dues wisely to advance the important political work of the union while defending workers at the bargaining table, in grievances and on strike.” Orr added that this year the union provided 30 per cent of funding from the Social Justice Fund to support projects that tackle the issue of violence against women, “Through our political campaigns and the Unifor Social Justice Fund, I am proud to say that our dues allow us to defend members, and workers in Canada and internationally. We make a difference worldwide.” Along with offering a snapshot of regional work and successes, the Regional Directors commented on the past five years of Unifor and discussed the second phase of the Local Union Task Force that is underway, with a plan to build the union’s activism on a local and regional level. While commenting on the she pride felt by the victories in the Western Region, Warnock also noted that the structures of Unifor, including the regional councils help to ensure both representation and that an equity lens is applied to all of the union’s work. “Our union is tackling the most challenging issues of our time and we continue to deliver because doing nothing is not an option, it is not who we are. Now is the time to really flex our power to push back,” said Warnock.   After running a massive member-to-member provincial election campaign in Ontario, Rizvi spoke to presidents about the need to strengthen the activism of locals in their communities, which makes all the difference in building a strong union. “Every day we can inspire change, sometimes it is small, but other times it’s enormous and we can’t forget that on the hard days.” Rizvi added an emphasis to encourage political engagement at all levels, “Campaigns matter so do our political actions, it is good for our soul.” Payne wrapped up the first day of the conference by reinforcing a heartfelt appreciation to presidents for the tireless work done for the union. She also discussed the ongoing project of the union, the building of Unifor. Payne reminded presidents that there is a need to be vigilant and defend the rights of all working people and said, “In today’s world, there is no room for complacency in anything we do. But I am filled by hope about the future because I know that when we organize, and mobilize together we build worker power.” Throughout the conference, presidents vocalized an important message about the union’s work in the future by reiterating that Unifor must continue to build on our social union principles to defend and advance the rights of workers and social justice. The Quebec Director started day two of the conference and offered a summary of how in five years Unifor has taken its rightful place to be stronger, more inclusive and to literally be everywhere to defend workers. Gagné expressed his immense pride in the union and members who continuously answer the call to be political active. In the past year, members have held several rallies including one in Quebec that brought out five thousand members on the issue of trade and U.S. imposed tariffs. He reminded presidents, “Be proud of our work and what we have accomplished together. Each of you have made a difference, so hats off to all of you!” The conference wrapped with an action that reflected the driving force of Unifor. Local presidents loaded onto buses and joined striking workers, members of Local 16-O, at Compass Minerals mine.  As presidents traveled an hour and half to Goderich it was clear that the solidarity and energy that brought together the union in August of 2013 was thriving and strong. The future of the union is bright and filled with a continued progressive vision of activism. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

Unifor sponsors Masters Indigenous Games
Unifor is a proud sponsor of the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games (MIG 2018), taking place at Toronto’s Downsview Park July 13-15. “The Masters Indigenous Games provide a venue for Indigenous peoples from around the world to engage in athletic competition while creating an environment that encourages dialogue and learning through sport and culture,” said National President Jerry Dias. “This is a platform to raise greater awareness and further constructive conversation about Truth and Reconciliation efforts with members of our communities.” The Masters Indigenous Games for adult athletes is a direct legacy of the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), which brought together more than 5,000 youth to compete last summer in Toronto. Unifor was a Presenting Partner at NAIG 2017, with union wide engagement and interactive support including a member volunteer contingent, and is returning as a Gold Sponsor at MIG 2018. The partnership demonstrates Unifor’s mandate to support diversity and inclusion initiatives and the union’s ongoing commitment to Indigenous communities and issues. “We are thrilled to have Unifor at the table again, as a Gold Sponsor for the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games. We have been able to build a relationship with Unifor which goes beyond singular events and instead is focused on long-term solutions and investments in ensuring the wellbeing of Indigenous communities and Peoples in Ontario and across Turtle Island,” said Marc Laliberte, President of the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario. “Unifor is interested in building bridges, supporting Indigenous wellness and engaging in action to help further the journey of Truth and Reconciliation.” MIG 2018 will feature hundreds of participants competing in contemporary sports, including athletics, basketball, canoe, golf, softball and volleyball, along with the traditional sports of archery, standing kick, tug of war and teepee building. View a schedule of sporting events here. A Cultural Village showcasing Indigenous artists, performers, sport demonstrations, storytellers and vendors will be located at Downsview Park. The Cultural Village is free and open to the public throughout the Games. On the final day of competition, MIG 2018 will also host a free event featuring a traditional Powwow with dance specials and a community feast. For more information visit MastersIndigenousGames.ca. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

Talks resume to end 11-week strike in Goderich
Unifor and Compass Minerals agreed to return to the bargaining table on Thursday, July 12, 2018, 11 weeks into a strike at the Goderich salt mine. “We have had hundreds of members of Unifor and other unions strengthen the picket line plus community members visit daily and it’s an amazing show of solidarity for Local 16-0,” said Jerry Dias, National President. Dias joined 348 striking miners on the picket line July 5 for the first in a series of daily rallies in support of the workers. Unifor has also produced a series of videos showcasing daily community events hosted by Local 16-0, including a children’s chalk art contest, a concert, a fishing derby and daily barbecues. Many young families say their children are now feeling the stress of having parents off the job. Vanessa Kelly says it’s very hard on her two children. “They know we are stressed and struggling financially and they just want dad to go back to work at the salt mine because that’s where he belongs,” said Kelly in a video posted here. “The people of Goderich want us to get back to work so life in this town can get back to normal,” said Gary Lynch, President of Local 16-0 at a rally at the picket line. “The solidarity we have seen from members across the province had a real impact on getting us back to the table,” said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to the National President. In addition to the efforts on Goderich, Unifor also placed a full page letter in a newspaper from Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director, raising concerns about the labour dispute. For more on the history of this strike that began April 27, watch this Unifor YouTube video. To find out how you can help Local 16-0 go to unifor.org/compassmine Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT

Participate in the federal government’s online pharmacare consultation
Have your say on how Canada implements a national pharmacare plan. The federal government has opened comments and a poll for members of the public to share thoughts about the high cost of prescription medication, and what we can collectively do to fix it. Join the discussion here.  “Unifor members know that the time to act is now – together we need to demand universal pharmacare for everyone, regardless of income, age, or where the person works or lives,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “If we want a truly universal system to become a reality in this country, then we need to make sure the federal government hears this call loud and clear.” As many as 8.4 million Canadians have no prescription drug coverage at all; this disproportionately affects women and young workers. In addition to this, Canada’s spotty prescription coverage system is inefficient and expensive, with Canadians paying wildly different rates and receiving grossly inconsistent coverage. Recent studies show a national drug plan through bulk purchasing and negotiated pricing with drug manufacturers could lower the costs of drugs enough to finance a full pharmacare system with no increase to government costs. The federal Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) estimates minimum savings of at least $4 billion annually based on the most comprehensive drug coverage, while other estimates include savings of up to $ 11 billion.  “A robust, national pharmacare program is critical for Canada’s success in a global economy,” said Andy Savela, Director of Health Care. “Participating in this discussion with the federal government is one way for Unifor members to advocate for a universal, national pharmacare plan.” Share your thoughts on implementing national pharmacare today. Read more about Unifor’s advocacy efforts for national pharmacare here. Monday, July 16, 2018 6:40 am EDT


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