Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers ( Last updated Thursday, October 18, 2018 1:01 pm 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
Fish harvesters across British Columbia are supportive of recommendations within a new report by the provincial government’s Wild Salmon Advisory Council.
“Salmon stocks are vital to thousands of jobs on the B.C. coast,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The government now has an action plan to guide policy-making for years to come.”
The Council, assembled by the B.C. government in June 2018, published its report containing a multitude of strategies to achieve the goals of increasing the size of wild salmon stocks, encouraging community engagement, and guaranteeing local economic benefit.
“Salmon stocks require an active government that protects habitat and regulates the industry so that local fishing communities can benefit from this resource,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director. “British Columbia’s salmon stocks don’t exist for the sole benefit of aging billionaires.”
Negotiations with D-J Composites and Unifor are underway this week for at least one round of collective bargaining before any unresolved issues go to binding arbitration.
“At the heart of this dispute has been the struggle of workers to have a union and Unifor will always defend that right,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President.
After 663 days on a picket line, and a massive solidarity action involving hundreds of Unifor members across Canada, the employer agreed to binding arbitration on October 5, 2018.
“This lockout has exposed gaping problems with the province’s labour laws. We made a promise to our 30 members that we would fight to have these laws fixed, so no other group of workers will have to experience such an egregious attack on their rights. We will continue that fight for as long as it takes,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.
Earlier this week, a Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court judge accepted a joint resolution of a contempt complaint by the company that Unifor violated a May 2017 injunction order when it blockaded the aerospace plant for ten days.
In order to resolve that contempt complaint, Unifor proposed that it would donate $100,000 to local charities, which were chosen by the employer.
The union also agreed to personal fines of $5000 each for Dias and Payne and $10,000 for Local 597.
The focus now is on reaching a new collective agreement for the 30 workers to resolve the longest lockout in Newfoundland and Labrador labour history.
Workers at Rogers Media have accepted a new four-year collective agreement that includes wage increases, upgrades, improved benefits and job security.
“I want to congratulate the Local 79-M bargaining committee for achieving real gains for media workers in an increasingly challenging sector,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Local 79-M represents 90 employees in broadcasting operations who will see annual wage increases beginning in June 2018 of 1.5, 2.0, 2.0 and 2.5 per cent.
Showroom clerks, studio camera operators, photographers, general operators and technical directors, who make up 50 per cent of the bargaining unit, will also earn special upgrades.
“The bargaining team has done a fantastic job at achieving gains not usually seen in the current broadcast climate. While this deal has significant gains in most areas, it’s clear there’s more work to be done in regards to scheduling,” said Jake Moore, President of Local 79-M.
Job security was important to members and this new agreement includes language that clarifies that layoff, bumping and recall goes by seniority with no management discretion. Other gains include doubling severance pay to two weeks per year of service, capped at 52 weeks, improved contracting out language, and new jurisdictional language prohibiting non-union personnel from performing union work.
Regular part time and casual workers who average 20 hours weekly will be eligible for benefits, and night shift and work on day off premiums are improved.
The employer has also agreed to contribute to Unifor’s paid education leave, phased in over four years until it reaches three cents per hour, per worker.
Federal government’s consultation on pharmacare solicits Canadians’ feedback
In June 2018, the federal government established an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare to get Canadians’ feedback on what a national drug program should look like. This consultation, which closed on September 28, included an online discussion forum and a questionnaire.
The Unifor Health Care Council focused on encouraging all Unifor members and their families to take the online questionnaire and support the idea of a universal pharmacare program. Members were asked to share their feedback on what national pharmacare can and should look like and Unifor continued to promote a national pharmacare program on social media and through our networks and coalitions.
Unifor industry councils also heard about the consultation at this year’s Canadian Council and members could easily take action through the Unifor mobile app. Early in September, members from coast to coast to coast received a letter from the National President’s office, calling on them to add their voice in support of universal prescription drug coverage. In addition to this, subscribers of our weekly e-newsletter, Unilink, also received reminders to join in the online discussion.
This consultation was a significant milestone in lobbying for a national drug plan. We know that Canadians need pharmacare to provide comprehensive coverage and fair access to prescription medication for everyone. In particular, we have made it clear that what we need is universal prescription, and not a patchwork system that may subject Canadians to demeaning means-testing to determine eligibility.
Now that the consultation is wrapped up, a report-back is expected, which will be posted at www.canada.ca/pharmacare. Updates will be shared by Unifor on Facebook and Twitter, through our weekly online newsletter, Unilink and in future editions of The Pulse.
Unifor health care members gathered in Halifax September 28-30 to learn more about the issues facing health workers in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
“More than ever, our health care system needs defending and our health care workers need respect and support,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to the National President. “We come together at this conference to build our power, to educate each other, and to use this collective power to advocate for every health care worker in the country.”
Representatives from the Canadian Health Coalition, Ontario Health Coalition and the Nova Scotia Health Coalition shared the focus of their activism and how Unifor members can plug into these campaigns to fight back against privatization, to advocate for a national pharmacare program and to save our public health funding.
Keynote speaker Dr. Monika Dutt, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at Timiskaming Health Unit past chair on the board of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, shared her hope for Unifor members to rally around the campaign for pharmacare and push local candidates ahead of the next federal election to make it a key platform issue.
The Health Care Conference is also a space to discuss the daily struggles of working in health care. In a workshop on managing stress in the workplace led by National Executive Board member Shauna Wilcox, members shared the challenges they face, like dealing with violent patients and residents, the lack of training for dealing with mental health issues, chronic under-staffing and under-resourcing, to name a few.
“Occupational stress is always a concern for health care workers and we need to come together to remind each other that we’re not alone and share strategies for coping,” said Wilcox.
Two Nova Scotia MLAs from the Nova Scotia NDP spoke about their initiatives for health care workers and patients, in a province that still has 100,000 people without a family doctor. Tammy Martin, MLA for Cape Breton Centre, was recently thrown out of the legislature for asking the Liberal government about emergency room closures and the plans to shut down an entire hospital. And Dave Wilson, MLA for Sackville-Beaverbank, spoke of his support for all health workers – not just first responders – to receive presumptive coverage for PTSD.
“We have the power to make real differences in the lives of health care workers, and that, in turn, will benefit every single patient, resident of a nursing home or long-term care facitlity and every member of all our families,” said Unifor Health Care Director Andy Savela. “We saw the power of our union recently at the Port Arthur Health Centre - we can continue to build this capacity and make all our lives healthier and safer.”
On September 30, Indigenous elders, survivors, community activists, and Unifor members gathered on Treaty One Territory (Winnipeg’s Wellington Park) to honour and celebrate the resilience of area residential school survivors, their families, and the children who perished at the schools.
The first annual Orange Shirt Day Pow Wow was organized by Grace Redhead at the former site of the Assiniboia Residential School. The event featured a powerful and moving ceremony led by survivors and featured many drum circles and dances throughout the day.
“Canada is culpable, and acknowledging that is important, indeed critical to righting these wrongs. Building a better world is the responsibility of all Treaty people, in fact the responsibility of all Canadians,” said Joie Warnock, Unifor Western Regional Director.
The pow wow wrapped up with a feast onsite that was open to the community.
Unifor helped to sponsor the event along with the University of Manitoba’s National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
New members of Unifor Local 1S working for GardaWorld ratified a new collective agreement on October 1.
“Unifor has a strong presence in security services,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “We’re proud of the Regina GardaWorld members for what they’ve accomplished in a first contract.”
Nearly 100 security screeners at the Regina International Airport joined Unifor earlier in 2018. Their new 3.5-year contract includes wage increases totalling 7.5 per cent. It also features improvements to the pension plan, gives greater flexibility to members scheduling vacation, and begins Paid Education Leave contributions from the employer.
“The bargaining committee did a skilled job of identifying the challenges and developing solutions,” said Dave Kuntz, Unifor Local 1S president. “We’re thrilled to welcome them to the Local 1S family.”