Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers ( Last updated Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 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 Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT)
Hospitality Summit sets stage for growth
Unifor can lead the way to building better jobs in the hospitality sector across Canada by standing together and setting a common course for the future, Unifor’s first-ever Hospitality Summit heard.
“We are the biggest hospitality union in Canada, and we have the best collective agreements in the sector,” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.
Dias said hotel workers face many challenges in the workplace, including workloads, precarious work, fair scheduling issues, decent pensions and wages.
“The mechanism for fixing all of this is collective bargaining,” Dias said.
Unifor has set the standard for sector-wide bargaining in such industries as pulp and paper and auto, and can bring that strategy to hospitality, Dias said. The hospitality summit was the first step toward that goal.
“This sector is going to get stronger and we are going to keep holding summits like this,” said sector chair James Griffin, a cook at the Hotel Empress in Victoria.
The April 20-21 summit was held at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto, one of the hotels that came to Unifor from the American UNITE HERE in January.
Panel discussions looked at organizing strategies and bargaining wins. The Hotel Vancouver, for instance, was able to negotiate an RRSP plan to supplement the existing company pension, a transit subsidy and a Women’s Advocate position at the hotel.
The summit also included workshops on housekeeping, gratuities, non-contract issues such as transit and housing, and workloads.
Housekeeping workloads are a concern at many hotels, with room attendants often struggling to get all their assigned rooms cleaned on time while their co-workers are being told not to come to work. Paying workers by the hour, not room quotas, is the best way to address this.
“If you can’t finish, you punch out at 4:30, go home and get paid,” said Lis Pimentel, who led the disaffiliation of five Toronto Hotels from UNITE HERE earlier this year. “It protects ourselves, it protects our bodies, it protects our workloads and it protects our co-workers who are at home waiting to be called in.”
The second day of the summit was dedicated to Fairmont hotels, giving workers at the Royal York a chance to meet Unifor members from Fairmonts across Canada. Unifor is the top union for Fairmont hotels in Canada, and workers at the Royal York are signing Unifor membership cards to disaffiliate from UNITE HERE. Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Ontario government launches review of auto worker leave
The Ontario government has launched a review of personal emergency leave (PEL) regulation 502/06 for auto workers after Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and Transportation Minister Kathryn McGarry met with a Unifor led delegation of unionized and non-unionized auto workers.
“We had a frank discussion on how regulation 502/06 creates a lesser standard of personal emergency leave for auto sector workers. It is unfair and is hurting workers and their families,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Auto workers have the same need for personal emergency leave as everyone else, they incur injuries, their kids get sick and when they lose someone they need bereavement leave. The lesser standard must be fixed.”
The provincial government appointed independent reviewers Buzz Hargrove, former National President of the Canadian Auto Workers, and Stacey Allerton, former Vice President of Human Resources for Ford Canada, to evaluate the impact of the personal emergency leave exemption and provide recommendations to the government.
Ontario’s Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act allows workers 10 days of personal emergency leave with the first two days being paid leave. However, under the exemption, auto workers are only entitled to seven days for personal or family illness or emergencies and three days for bereavement, with none of the leave being paid.
“It’s not fair to treat auto workers as second hand citizens,” said Toyota Worker Representative Cindy Venier. “I do not abuse my time. I take pride in my job.”
“In addition to lobbying the government, Unifor has the ability to address this unfair regulation through collective bargaining,” said Dias. “However, thousands of auto sector workers are not covered by collective agreements so it’s important their voice is represented.”
Local union reps from GM Local 222 (GM), Local 444 (Fiat Chrysler) and Local 200 (Ford) were joined at the meeting by workers from Honda and Toyota which are non-union auto parts.
“Working at a large, profitable auto parts company it’s problematic that we’re not held to the same standard as the mom and pop restaurant down the street,” said F & P Manufacturing Worker Representative David Webster.
At the end of December when the exemption was confirmed by the government Unifor launched a campaign to advocate for fairness. To date, the Union has collected more than 7,000 signatures on a petition calling on the Ontario government to eliminate the personal emergency leave exemption for auto workers. To view the petition click here
“Employment standards should be fairly applied to all workers - full stop,” said Dias. “If it’s right for workers then it’s the right thing to do.” Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Reservations agents at Montreal’s Le Centre Sheraton join Unifor
Reservations agents at downtown Montreal’s Le Centre Sheraton Hotel are now part of Unifor, following a recent decision by Quebec’s Administrative Labor Tribunal to grant certification.
“We warmly welcome them into our ranks,” said Unifor Organizer François Beaudoin.
The decision by the tribunal on April 12 paves the way for the agents to join Unifor Local 2609 as an add-on department to the existing bargaining unit, which represents about 400 members workers in various departments of Le Centre Sheraton.
The local signed a four-year collective agreement last year that included three per cent wage increases each year, improved vacation and sick day provisions, and improvements to bonus and scheduling provisions.
Unifor is Canada’s leading hospitality union, with 19,000 workers in hotels and gaming across Canada. Besides the workers at Le Sheraton, more than 900 hospitality workers in Toronto and Mississauga have joined Unifor so far this year. Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Election an opportunity to push for equity
The push to eliminate systemic barriers for all workers is part of Unifor’s work as a social justice union and the upcoming Ontario election will be no different.
On April 16-17, representatives from the Ontario equity standing committees met with Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director, and members of the political action department to plan how to connect with members on the issues that matter most to their communities.
“Every issue at stake in this election will impact workers and there is a great risk for workers from equity-seeking communities,” said Rizvi. “The threats from the Progressive Conservatives to stop the rollout of the $15 minimum wage will have the greatest impact on women, on workers of colour, and immigrant workers. Election issues are equity issues.”
Together, the representatives from the Aboriginal and workers of colour, LGBTQ, workers with disABILITY, women, and young worker committees plotted a map to engage with Unifor members in the coming weeks. Members of the equity committees will be canvassing and knocking on members’ doors to talk about why voting in the June 7 election is crucial. Upcoming events will be posted on uniforvotes.ca at the beginning of May and all members are encouraged to get involved.
“The equity committees show the vital reasons why our union engages in electoral politics,” said Roland Kiehne, Director of Member Mobilization and Political Action. “From sky-high child care fees to the chronic underfunding of our health care system, the issues that matter to Ontarians affect traditionally marginalized workers more acutely, and it is these workers that will take a leading role in Unifor’s member-to-member outreach.”
Unifor is engaging in a province-wide campaign to mobilize members to vote and participate in the provincial election, continuing to push for progressive investments and expanded public services. The outcome of this election will affect every Unifor member and the union's work will kick in to high gear starting in May. To see what the campaign is all about and how to make your vote count, visit uniforvotes.ca. Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Solidarity needed for 65 Unifor sisters on strike
In Thunder Bay, Ontario there are 65 Unifor sisters walking the picket line and holding strong since Monday, April 9. The striking workers are represented by Unifor Local 229 and work at the Port Arthur Health Centre.
These workers put in long hours to support the health clinic as medical aides, medical recorders, medical secretaries and medical billing clerks. Despite the valuable role provided to the clinic, or the range in extensive years of service, the employer continues to show them disrespect and is choosing to profit off the workers.
The overall feeling from Local 229 is that enough was enough! A majority of the 65 members in the bargaining unit, 43 workers, have been employed as casual employees despite working full-time hours for up to 15 years; a majority do not have health benefits or job security and the wages are just over the minimum wage.
On top of the precarious working conditions every day of the strike there have been replacement workers - scabs -crossing the picket line to work for the doctors at the clinic. The workers have had enough of disrespect and a lack of recognition of the value and quality of their work. Local 229 President talks about the issues in this short CBC radio interview: www.cbc.ca/player/play/1208299075507/
To hold the strike line and send the employer a clear message about decent work, equal pay and to end long-term precarious contract jobs Local 229 needs our help. There are three things you can do to show solidarity.
Email and contact the employer to demand fairness - email email@example.com, call 807-346-6217
There is no respect from the management team for the work these women do. The management team at the Center has taken advantage of this tiny, but mighty group of women. The employer continues to bully and intimidate these workers but we can’t let that stand.
These Unifor sisters need solidarity and support. Here are three things you can do.
Tell the employer to get back to the table and negotiate! Since the strike the employer refuses to talk. It’s time to give these women a fair agreement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 807-346-6217 or send a fax to 807-346-6251.
Send a solidarity message today! Email Kari Jefford, President Local 229 at email@example.com, or in the Thunder Bay area – join the picket line, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on the weekends from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Make a donation to the strike fund, purchase gift cards for Metro grocery stores or gas cards. Send all financial donations to Local 229 101-106 North Cumberland Street, Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4M2
Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Striking Caesars Windsor casino workers hold the line
Since April 6, 2,300 workers employed by Caesars Windsor casino and represented by Unifor Local 444, have been walking the picket line over workload and respect.
The strike was initiated after a majority of the workers rejected the tentative agreement reached. The striking workers include dealers, cooks, housekeepers and janitors. To learn more about this strike, watch this video from the front lines about their story:
Amid the strike the union’s bargaining team returned to negotiations on April 18 in part because of the energy of the hundreds of workers and the strength of the union who have been holding the picket line and demanding a good contract.
To send the employer a united message the Local is organizing a community rally this coming weekend. Members in the southwestern Ontario area mark your calendars because everyone is invited to join Jerry Dias, National President and Bob Orr, National Secretary-treasurer to a solidarity rally happening on Sunday, April 22 at 11:00 a.m., at the Windsor Riverfront Festival Plaza, 375 Riverside Drive East, Windsor, ON N9A 7H7.
If you are on social media be sure to send a message of solidarity to the striking workers. Local 444 is on Twitter at @LOCAL444UNIFOR and on Facebook at facebook.com/LOCAL444UNIFOR/. Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Nova Scotia health care workers gather for strike vote
Unifor is calling for a strong strike vote mandate among health care members in Nova Scotia to send a message to both the employers and the McNeil government.
“This government has interfered with fair collective bargaining from day one through its multitude of laws which have strengthened the hand of the employers by imposing wage freezes and concessions,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director.
The first real movement that the Council of Health Care Unions, which includes union representation from Unifor, the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union (NSGEU), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), and the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union (NSNU),has seen since the bargaining process began was when a province wide strike vote was announced said Payne. The Council of Unions have been in bargaining for nearly two years with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and the IWK Children’s hospital.
To discuss the status of negotiations, membership meetings along with a strike vote will be conducted with all eligible members of Local 4600 between April 24-29. CLICK FOR FULL LIST.
The employers have slowed the pace of bargaining significantly over the last two months and the unions believe there is no choice but to seek a strike mandate from members.
“It is extremely important members attend these town hall sessions to cast their ballot in support of their bargaining committee,” said Susan Gill, Unifor National Representative.
In addition to seeking a strike mandate the Council of Unions is also working to negotiated an Essential Services Agreement (ESA) with the employers as required by McNeil’s Bill 37 prior to job action occurring. The unions asked the Labour Board to determine the number of essential service positions after negotiations reached an impasse with the employers. The process for reaching an ESA has been stalled by the employer which continues to drag its feet.
Unifor and the other unions believe a strong strike vote is the only way to conclude a fair collective agreement and to push back on concessions being demanded by the employer. Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT
Pulp and paper workers ask Trudeau to fight for their jobs
U.S. President Donald Trump’s reckless trade war on Canadian forestry is not a theoretical exercise: it will cost thousands of Canadian jobs in 2018 if we don’t stop him.
Will you sign a letter calling on the federal government to take immediate action to stop these unfair duties and support the communities affected by Donald Trump's bully tactics?
Here’s what workers at pulp & paper mills impacted by Trump’s tariffs have to say:
Brett Vizzuti, Instrument Mechanic
“These Tariffs are not only going to shut down these mills but they are also going to shut down these communities.”
LeeAnn Tucker, Wrap Line Operator
“It would be really sad to have to move away to try to find work. It would be really sad for the mill to have to shut down because it would impact the whole city.”
Eldon Haggarty, Paper Machine Operator
“There’s 1500 jobs on the line with a stroke of a pen from the United States Government.”
Donna VandeVelde, Mill Security
“The mill will close. If somebody doesn’t do something, not in August, not in September, if somebody doesn’t start speaking up now, we’re done.
Lindy Vincent, President, Unifor Local 60N
“If that mill goes, there’s no forestry industry left in Newfoundland.”
Mike Rumley, Mill Lab Technician
“Donald Trump is acting like a bully and the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up and push back, and our government needs to stand up and push back.”
Shannon Park, Electrical & Instrumentation Technician
“My job would be over and I’d have to go somewhere else. I’d have to pack up and move and hope for the best.”
Gary Jackson, Paper Machine Operator
“This is our town. This is our mill. Just leave us alone and quit the bullying.” Monday, April 23, 2018 8:42 pm EDT