Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers ( Last updated Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:48 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
CEP ( Last updated Sunday, July 22, 2018 9:48 pm EDT)
Unifor warns against auto tariffs
Unifor is warning the U.S. Department of Commerce that tariffs on the import of automobiles and parts, being investigated under the guise of a national security threat, would devastate the entire North American auto industry if imposed.
“The suggestion that auto imports from Canada constitute a security threat to America is beyond ridiculous,” said National President Jerry Dias. “The only real danger here is to the workers and communities that depend on auto jobs on both sides of the border.”
Joined by Unifor Local 222 General Motors workers Dias addressed the threat of tariffs while speaking to media in Oshawa, Ontario on Thursday.
“Donald Trump is practicing suicide economics,” Dias said. “There are major trade discrepancies with international car makers that must be dealt with but a scorched earth policy of imposing tariffs on all auto imports into the U.S. would be disastrous.”
At a U.S. Department of Commerce public hearing on the tariff investigation, held July 19 in Washington D.C., representatives of the automotive industry, labour, corporate stakeholders and multiple governments united in opposition to the proposed duties.
David MacNaughton, Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Jim Wilson, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade were among the more than 40 speakers at the hearing.
Dias also criticized Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s call to reconvene Parliament to rush through passage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as an additional threat to the auto sector.
“It doesn’t make a stitch of economic sense to quickly pass the CPTPP,” said Dias. ”I don’t know whose side Andrew Scheer is on but he clearly isn’t on the side of Canadian auto workers.”
Unifor has expressed concern that the CPTPP will act as a disincentive for Japanese and other foreign automakers to invest in Canada as the deal opens the domestic market to foreign imports while failing to achieve reciprocal access to international consumers.
“In the midst of an escalating trade war with the U.S. there couldn’t be a worse time to sign the CPTPP as it’s currently written,” said Dias. “Ratifying a deal that negatively affects auto and other major sectors would also set an incredibly dangerous precedent as NAFTA renegotiations continue.”
For more on Unifor’s trade agenda and to find out how you can take action visit unifor.org/peoplestrade.
Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT
New Unifor members at Hyundai Saint-Laurent car dealership
Unifor’s representation in the auto sector in Quebec continues to grow with the addition of 13 new mechanics and parts workers at a Hyundai dealership in the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent.
"We are proud that the workers stood up against this employer, who treated them unfairly, and we are pleased that they chose the large family of the union,” said Felix Bélanger, Vice-President of Local 4511, which will represent the workers.
Local 4511 has more than 70 units and 1,600 members in the automotive sector in Quebec. The workers came to Unifor over concerns about several internal housekeeping pressures, a lack of respect on the part of the employer and a salary much lower than at Unifor-represented garages.
The next steps will be to elect union leaders from their unit and begin the process of negotiating their first collective agreement. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT
Tentative Agreement ratified in Unifor-unionized sawmills
Saint-Félicien – Following ratification meetings held over the last two weeks, Unifor members supported a tentative agreement reached with the eastern pattern bargaining target company Resolute Forest Products (RFP), with 70 per cent support. This new contract will serve as a model contract for the sawmill industry in Quebec.
“The negotiations focussed on one of the major issues facing the sawmill sector, namely, labour renewal. The new agreement will help to attract and retain workers in our facilities,” stated Renau Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.
The highlights include:
A four-year contract with wage increases of two per cent in the first two years and two-and-a-half per cent in the last two years;
A wage adjustment of $0.40/hour for production employees;
A wage adjustment of $0.75/hour and $0.50/hour in 2021 for trade employees;
An improved group insurance plan;
Quicker attainment of full pay (1000 hours or less; 90 per cent of wages and 1001 hours or more, 100 per cent);
A one percent increase in the employer contribution for the target benefit plan (Mistassini) on May 1, 2021;
For hybrid retirement plans, starting May 1, 2021, the normal annuity will be increased to 0.75 percent of the final salary;
Starting May 1, 2021, the monthly additional supplement will increase from $16.00 to $17.00.
A contribution of $0.02/hour to the Canadian Community Fund; and
An improved bereavement fund.
“It needs to be stressed that this negotiation was possible thanks to the solidarity of our local unions that pooled their common interests for better results,” said Mr. Gagné.
Overall, this collective agreement will affect some 1000 unionized workers in the six RFP sawmills that participated in the negotiations: Girardville (Local 497), La Doré (Local 498), Mistassini (Local 1495), Saint-Thomas (Local 1496), Maniwaki (Local 182) and Comtois (Local 3057). It will subsequently be negotiated with the other employers in the sawmill sector in Quebec. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT
Education is a powerful tool for human rights
A commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity starts with each one of us, members, staff and elected officers, and education is an important part of this fulfilling commitment. Just last week members and national staff representatives attended the Unifor week-long human rights training at the Port Elgin Education Centre to take action on Unifor’s important equity agenda.
Centered on the theme that “Human Rights are Workers Rights”, the training focused on topics of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination against people with disabilities. The week- program is a must for leadership and activists in our growing, diverse union.
“This training aims to explore human rights issues from a working class perspective, and to encourage open and respectful dialogue about difficult issues faced in the workplace,” said Christine Maclin, Director of Human Rights. “Attending the union’s education program is just one of the many ways members and staff are taking on human rights issues and this helps makes our union stronger.”
The training spent some time looking at the treatment of workers, migrant workers and the intersectionality of power, meaning that it examined how one’s identity or the multiple identity of a person, based on race, gender, disability, sexuality, religion, language can influence a worker’s experience with oppression in varying ways. Dismantling myths and stereotypes about certain groups of people by presenting facts and statistics was another focal point of the training session. Overall, the course provided an opportunity to develop the skills and perspectives that every trade unionist needs to build a stronger, more inclusive union.
Education is a powerful means to challenge stereotypes and myths and to unlearn racism. The Unifor website, unifor.org/equity has several tools and resources, everything from human rights legislation, to union policy statements and model language samples, guides and posters, for addressing workplace discrimination and harassment concerns.
To learn more about Unifor’s great education program and how you and your local can organize a one-day, three-day or week-long human rights course in your area please contact the Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is also an up to date listing of programs and upcoming courses on the website at unifor.org/education. Members located in Quebec should also visit the Unifor Québec website to see programs and courses offered in Québec. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT
Cheer up, jump up, and play in style for Unifor at this year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival parade.
The Toronto Caribbean Carnival is the largest Caribbean Carnival event in North America attracting over two million people annually and Unifor is a proud participant. Over the past five years, Unifor alongside the Executive of Local 40, has organized a mas band contingent to represent the union in the Grand Parade.
In past parades, the union has teamed with SunLime productions to design floats for the parade and create Canadian made costumes offered to members at cost. If you want to participate in this event now is the time to express your interest – and you better hurry!
This year’s Grand Parade will take place on Saturday, August 4, 2018, inside the Exhibition Place from 8:30 a.m. and end later in the evening. The Grand Parade is the final event of the four week festival that celebrates Caribbean culture and traditions through music, cuisine and entertainment. It is an opportunity for all participants, referred to as masqueraders, in colourful, striking costumes, and steel pan bands to march along Toronto’s waterfront.
Unifor’s parade contingent will be wearing Unifor coloured costumes while marching and dancing alongside Unifor floats. To participate in the Unifor contingent members must purchase a costume and pre-register at www.sunlime.ca no later than July 27, 2018.
Can’t make the festival event, don’t worry! Members that are unable to participate in the parade can watch all of the day's festivities for free anywhere alongside Lakeshore Blvd in downtown Toronto.
Unifor is proud to continue supporting our members as they participate, showcase, and highlight their rich Caribbean identity at this year’s Toronto Caribbean Carnival. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT
Unifor members at Oldcastle go on strike
After reaching a dead-end in negotiations to renew their collective agreement and dealing with an intransigent employer, the members of Unifor’s Local 6000 of the Oldcastle unit went on strike on July 6.
“We gave a clear ultimatum. There comes a point when enough is enough. The employer has to understand that we are determined to make legitimate improvements to our members’ working conditions. Under the circumstances, we had no other choice but to call a strike because the employer just wouldn’t listen,” explained Yannick Désautels, Unit President.
The parties have been in negotiations for 20 days, 12 of which were in conciliation. The employer remains intransigent on non-monetary issues such as employee turnover, work schedules, breaks and vacation periods. Yet, these issues are priorities for the workers. It is important to note that the Unifor members’ workplace is extremely challenging because they are exposed to intense heat while transforming glass into a finished product for fenestration.
Despite several possible solutions put forward by the union, the employer turned a deaf ear and remained fixated on the management of its operations with no regard for the workers’ needs. In addition to these problems, labour relations were difficult throughout the last collective agreement and, furthermore, the employer is now asking for monetary concessions that had not been brought up previously.
“We want to send a clear message to the employer. This work contract can only be renewed on the basis of negotiating in good faith and respecting our members,” said Mr. Désautels.
A strike mandate with 81% support was given by the members of the Bargaining Committee on June 9, 2018, although the collective agreement had expired in March 15, 2018. Oldcastle BE is located in Pointe-aux-Trembles and employs about 105 unionized workers. The plant manufactures glass for building construction. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm 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 Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm 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. Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:12 pm EDT