Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers ( Last updated Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST)
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
CEP ( Last updated Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST)
Unifor stands firmly in opposition to Trans-Pacific Partnership
January 23, 2018
Reports have surfaced today suggesting that Canada has agreed to terms on a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Although details are sparse, this is a deeply concerning development, to which Unifor stands firmly in opposition.
Unifor’s criticism of the TPP agreement has been unwavering. The original pact, signed in February 2016, was deeply flawed. Major concessions were made by Canada that would have negatively affected our country’s auto and dairy industries, our cultural sector, access to affordable medicines, and other areas of major concern.
The TPP, like other so-called “free trade” agreements, directed minimal attention to broader social and economic development issues. It failed to meaningfully address the negative consequences of greater trade and investment liberalization, including rising inequality, environmental sustainability, job displacement and lower work standards. In fact, the language embedded in the original TPP labour chapter has been proven so weak as to render it entirely ineffective at protecting and enhancing worker’s rights.
It has been our view that the TPP represented the worst of what trade agreements have to offer, including extraordinary privileges afforded to investors, enabling them to use private courts to sue governments (for unlimited sums of money) over rules and practices that limit profit.
Breaking from the TPP could have purposefully signalled a new direction on managing global trade and investment – one that aims to serve the needs of people. Instead, Canada chose to participate in the TPP’s revival, despite the U.S. announcing its withdrawal. Assurances of close consultation and collaboration have not been met. In fact, dealings over the past months have been mired in secrecy.
As early as yesterday (January 22), Unifor National President Jerry Dias met with International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne to discuss the union’s concerns on the TPP deal. There was no indication from the Minister, at that time, that a final deal was imminent.
There is nothing remotely progressive about the TPP, despite a cynical attempt to change the agreement’s official title to the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” – a slap in the face to the trade union and civil society activists around the world who have spent decades pursuing an alternative, more humane model for truly progressive international trade and development.
Not only does the TPP fail to advance progressive values, it moves us in the wrong direction.
Unifor will actively and aggressively oppose ratification of this deal.
To download as a PDF click here. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Unifor dedicates Walk for Alzheimer's events to Bob White
On January 21 Unifor members and leaders took part in the Walk for Alzheimer’s in St. Catherines, Ontario, dedicating it to Bob White, the first President of the Canadian Auto Workers who passed away early last year after battling the disease.
This was one of a handful of events that took place this month, with a number of Unifor locals honouring White’s memory and his significant contributions to the labour movement.
“What you saw was what you got with Bob White,” said Peter Scott, Recording Secretary of Unifor Local 199 and organizer of the Unifor team. “He was as tough as nails when he had to be but he was a genuine individual and who was an inspiration for an entire generation of labour activists. His courage made you want to do more.”
Six Unifor locals, 199, 5555, 636, 504, 88, and 1859, hailing from St. Catharines, Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Woodstock, and Hamilton, as well as Unifor staff participated in Walks. So far the team has sold more than 400 Team Bob White t-shirts and raised over $14,000, with all proceeds being donated to the Alzheimer Society in White’s name.
“They saw him as a worker and a colleague," said Scott. "He wasn’t someone you just saw with other political leaders. He remembered your name and he would help out.”
Today’s Walk participants filled the halls of Brock University with over 200 people, dozens of whom wore the red Team Bob White t-shirts. Along with Unifor members and staff the event was attended by Wayne Gates, Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Niagara Falls, and former Member of Parliament for the riding of Welland, Malcolm Allen.
You can learn more about the Woodstock and McMaster Walk for Alzheimer’s events, including how to donate. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Tentative agreement reached with Bell Aliant
The Unifor ACL bargaining committee representing 2200 workers across Atlantic Canada has reached a tentative agreement with Bell Aliant.
After eight tough sessions of bargaining in Halifax, the committee will be recommending ratification of this agreement.
“When we started this negotiation the company was seeking major concessions that would have taken away many of our members hard earned retirement benefits, but we managed to push back to get a fair agreement,” said Bobby MacDonald, Chair of Unifor ACL.
That was made possible because members sent the employer a strong message of solidarity with the bargaining committee. The committee would like to thank all members who showed your support by wearing Unifor Red in the workplace.
The hundreds of photos and videos posted on social media made a powerful statement to the employer that helped the committee hold their ground at the negotiating table.
"I want to commend our Bell Atlantic bargaining committee. Not only did they fight hard at the table, they mobilized our members and built our union with an inspired campaign. Our members and committee should be very proud of what they have achieved here," said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director.
Details of the tentative agreement will be presented at membership meetings in the coming days across Atlantic Canada. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Facts on Unifor’s disaffiliation from the CLC
Download the PDF
Why did Unifor leave the CLC?
This dispute is about the governance of the Canadian Labour Congress and its failure to prevent attacks on workers from their U.S.-based unions. The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has rules in place to ensure workers have democratic rights, and that Canadian members of U.S. unions have clear autonomy. Unfortunately, this is not being followed or respected. Unifor is gravely concerned with U.S.-based unions trampling on the rights of workers and has made the decision to disaffiliate.
This exact issue was raised in 2017 when Unifor was vocal about the trusteeship of Local 113 of the ATU. Our union’s opposition is simple: we are opposed to any union that threatens, harasses, intimidates, or silences workers for simply asserting their democratic rights and autonomy. When workers turned to the CLC for support, they have been met by silence, despite Article 26 of the CLC constitution that is suppose to protect the rights of workers in Canada who are members of U.S.-based unions.
In addition to the lack of action to defend the democratic rights of workers in Canada, there has been an ineffective application of Article 4 of the CLC constitution. Article 4 outlines a democratic process for workers to change unions, but it is not enforced. Affiliates agreed to it, but, in practice, do not grant workers those rights.
When members apply for justification (to change their union) under this process, their rights are not protected and affiliates have worked to shut down any investigation. Subsequently, virtually no members have been granted justification in recent memory. In two recent cases, ATU Local 113 and UNITE HERE Local 75, we have seen local unions put under trusteeship by their U.S.-based union to quell dissent.
Trusteeship has meant that offices have been taken over, democratically-elected officers were removed, staff fired and property or membership funds have been seized.
The constitution of the CLC should protect workers, but this has not happened and Unifor is at odds with many CLC affiliates. We will no longer stand by and be silent or to allow this to continue.
Given all of this and our desire for immediate change to defend workers in Canada from U.S.-based bullies, our union made a decision it will no longer participate in the CLC.
This decision is a principled one. It’s about holding others accountable for not putting principles into practice. Unifor’s leadership believes strongly that in order to make things better for workers there is a need to advance this issue now in the hopes that there will be a stronger labour movement in Canada.
What is Unifor seeking?
Change is needed to stop the bullying tactics of U.S.-based unions that deny workers in Canada basic and fundamental democratic rights. This decision is rooted in a perspective that unions and the CLC must act as defenders of workers’ rights and remain a relevant voice for workplace and social justice—without that we are not upholding our obligation to members.
The birth of Unifor was an act of hope for the Canadian labour movement and working people more generally. Our union has pushed for workers’ rights and made great gains and we will continue to do this. It is our hope that the action to disaffiliate from the CLC will trigger change to ensure that workers in Canada have their democratic rights respected.
Has Unifor broken solidarity with the labour movement?
Absolutely not. Solidarity is not about paying dues to a central labour body, it is about the work that we do every single day.
Unifor has been adamant about supporting labour councils, community actions, and grassroots organizations. The President of the CLC has now directed labour federations and councils to block Unifor members and activists from participating in their work.
This is an act that seeks to remove our participation and involvement in the movement but our activism will continue. We are dedicated to building a new kind of unionism and will continue to do this with those who want to work with us.
Building a movement is not about relying on the bureaucracy it is about solidarity actions, inclusion, and moving forward for justice.
How was this decision made?
This was a difficult decision and it was not made lightly. Unifor first discussed this issue in 2017 and in light of recent events involving UNITE HERE Local 75, a decision was made by the leadership team to raise the concerns with the members of the National Executive Board, Unifor’s highest governance authority between conventions.
After a thorough discussion the National Executive Board made a unanimous decision to leave the CLC. This decision is one of principled action that is rooted in upholding the values of our union.
If Unifor is not affiliated with the CLC, what does this mean for Unifor’s relationship with the broader labour movement?
Unifor is proud to defend the rights of working people and unions and will continue to do so. The union will continue to build workers’ power and defend workers’ rights. All members and staff are asked to continue to show the enormous power of our solidarity with and for working people. That will never change.
Regardless of Unifor’s affiliation with the CLC, we will continue to play an important role in building a vibrant, active and diverse labour movement. Unifor locals are encouraged to play an active role in regional labour councils and provincial and territorial federations of labour.
It is true that the constitutions of various labour central bodies require affiliation to the CLC as a condition of active participation. The CLC itself requires affiliated unions to actively participate in the work of federations and local labour bodies.
However, we know this is not always the case. We also know that these rules are unevenly applied across affiliate unions while some pick and choose where and how to participate in federations or labour councils. Some CLC unions do not pay affiliation fees or have membership in labour bodies, including provincial and territorial federations of labour. Some do not actively participate in their work.
It is important to remember the depth and diversity of the labour movement more generally. Apart from the central coordinating role played by the CLC, our movement is rich in grassroots worker activism and advocacy that is rooted in communities.
Our voices must continue to be heard as we advocate for the needs of working people, including those workers who are not in unions. Our work in support of these community organizations will continue, whole-heartedly, with renewed vigour.
What should Unifor locals do?
First and foremost we must continue to service and represent members to the best of Unifor’s ability and to defend workers’ rights in the workplace and in the community. It is important to maintain open lines of communication to keep members informed about what is happening.
All local executives, stewards and workplace activists are asked to step up their efforts to share information from the national union on this issue so that members are involved and receive proper accurate information.
Unifor locals must continue to build a movement of workers and continue to be the strong activist fighting union that we are. Involvement in labour, community and solidarity efforts should be supported. This means that Unifor will support union democracy, social justice, equity and the rights of workers, and our union must continue to act in solidarity from coast to coast to coast with all working people.
If I have more questions, who do I ask?
To help facilitate a quick response to members’ questions on this issue, contact Scott Doherty, the Executive Assistant to the Unifor National President via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members are also encouraged to contact their Regional Director, the Quebec Director or any member of the National Executive Board. Information on the Unifor National Executive Board is available at www.unifor.org/en/about-unifor/meet-leadership Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Solidarity with Tim Hortons workers and all not yet unionized workers
Unifor members across the country will be taking part in the national day of action on January 19 in support of Tim Hortons workers who have had their benefits and working conditions unilaterally removed by their employer. This is an important solidarity action to defend the rights of workers.
As a union and as individual trade union activists, we are deeply committed to supporting non-unionized workers in their fight to win justice on the job and a better standard of living for themselves and their families. This struggle is one for good jobs and a living wage for all. Unifor will never step away from this promise, for it is at the very core of our founding principles. Our union shares in these workers’ collective sense of injustice, frustration and steadfast determination to create a better future.
Unifor urges all members, and all people, to support non-unionized workers, particularly those who are seeing their benefits and working conditions rolled back as a result of recent changes to labour laws and an increase in the minimum wage.
In Ontario and Alberta, through lobbying and advocacy higher wages for minimum wage workers have been won. Now it is crucial that we step up our collective efforts to protect these gains and refuse to tolerate cuts to paid breaks, health care benefits or other aspects of workers compensation. All workers – in all jobs and sectors of the economy – deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, to be fairly compensated for their work with a living wage , have their work valued by their employer and society more generally, and all workers deserve to be able to join a union of their choice.
Unifor supports the Fight for $15 and Fairness actions across the country and will continue to be part of the global movement for decent work for all. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
New petition calls for referendum on stopping privatization
Local unions in Saskatchewan have thrown their support behind a new initiative to protect the province’s Crown corporations. Led by recently retired Canadian Labour Congress Secretary-Treasurer Barb Byers, the campaign aims to force a referendum on the process of any change to public ownership of Crowns.
“The Sask Party can’t be trusted to keep our Crowns strong,” said Joie Warnock, Western Regional Director. “Time and again they’ve lied about privatization. They must be held to account.”
In the 2016 election, the incumbent Premier Brad Wall promised not to privatize large Crown corporations. A year later, his government passed a law to facilitate partial privatization, then promised to repeal it, but then only retracted some sections of the law.
Tired of piecemeal privatization and broken election promises, Byers and other activists want to leverage the massive popularity of Crowns such as Sasktel, Sask Power, and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) to eliminate the possibility of incremental privatization. If the petitioners are able to trigger a referendum and it’s passed, no future change could be made to the Crowns’ ownership model without voters’ explicit approval.
“Saskatchewan Crowns save people money every day, plus millions are contributed in annual revenue for schools and hospitals,” said Warnock. “Selling off Crown corporations would be a disaster.”
Warnock says the campaign is a good fit with Unifor’s ongoing Stand Up For Your Crowns campaign. In the coming months, Unifor locals will begin canvassing workplaces to collect signatures.
The Sask Party has a long record of privatization, which includes Heritage Gas, Navigata, and DirectWest Canada. Over the last two terms, Premier Brad Wall has also privatized portions of SaskTel via contracting out, including Operator Services, Max Television Service. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Notice to Members on Unifor’s Disaffiliation from the Canadian Labour Congress
Over the course of the past year Unifor has been vocal and public about our concern with US-based unions trampling on the rights of workers and their democratic right to choose their own representation or to express dissent. In light of the ongoing lack of action and will by the affiliates of the Canadian Labour Congress to address the aggressive and undemocratic tactics shown by US-based unions towards workers in Canadian locals, a decision was made by the leadership of our union.
The National Executive Board (NEB) made a unanimous decision on January 16, 2018 to discontinue Unifor’s affiliation and membership in the Canadian Labour Congress effective immediately. The CLC has been notified of this decision today, along with other labour federations.
Our union will remain affiliated and continue to participate in and support the federations of labour and labour councils and our collaborative campaign work. The NEB and leadership of Unifor feel strongly that this is the principled action to take at this time. Ongoing communication will be provided to members in a timely matter as we move forward.
Unifor stands in support of union democracy and the rights of workers. Our union is opposed to any union that threatens, harasses, intimidates, or silences workers for simply asserting their democratic rights to choose a union or for the purpose of quelling dissent within the local.
Unifor is proud to defend the rights of working people and unions and will continue to do so in a stead fast manner.
Should you have any questions on this decision please contact the Executive Assistant to the President, Scott Doherty email@example.com.
Please see this letter that was sent to Brother Yussuff on Wednesday, January 17.
Jerry Dias, National President and Renaud Gagné, Quebec Director Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST
Airport Terminal Services bumps up all wages in response to Ontario wage hike
As a result of advocacy by the union, Airport Terminal Services (ATS) has increased all wages for its Toronto Pearson International Airport workers by $2.20.
While ATS was required by law to increase wages for those earning less than $14, the company took the move a step further and increased wages by $2.20/hour for every level of the pay scale, with the highest paid on the wage grid now earning close to $20 an hour.
The change was agreed to in a signed memorandum of understanding with Unifor. The 175 workers at ATS are unionized with Local 2002 and work as baggage handlers, aircraft marshals, in lavatory services and as passenger service agents.
“In the ground handling world, the wages are not high, so this win is quite significant,” said Leslie Dias, national representative in the airlines sector. “At a time when employers like Tim Hortons are crying poor, this is an important example of a business that understands if it wants to keep trained employees, it must also pay them properly.”
Dias also mentioned that over the summer, ground handling companies operating at the airport were forced to pay higher wages beyond the legislated minimum to recruit new workers and reduce heavy turn-over.
This wage increase occurred outside of the collective bargaining period and is just one example of how the union continues to make gains for workers as a result of positive changes made from Ontario's recent labour law reforms. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 2:47 pm EST