October 6, 2011

Volume 41, No. 35


New Agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway

 

CAW St Lawrence Seaway bargaining committee, September 29, 2011

 

 

The CAW has reached new tentative agreements with St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation October 3, avoiding a possible strike set for that day at noon. The CAW represents supervisory, operations, maintenance and headquarters workers  at the corporation in Ontario and Quebec.

Ratification meetings are scheduled over the next two weeks, where members can vote on the new contracts. Details of the agreement and the vote will be released following the completion of the meetings.

Members of the CAW bargaining committees involved in the negotiations unanimously recommend acceptance of the new three year agreements. The committees were pleased that a disruption to shipping on the Seaway system was avoided.

CAW Locals 4211, 4212, 4319, 4320 and 4324 represent 475 St. Lawrence Seaway workers across the Seaway system in Ontario and Quebec.

 

CAW Members Approve Deal at Oakville Transit

CAW members at Oakville Transit, in Oakville, Ontario approved a new two and a half year agreement during a ratification meeting October 2.

Workers voted 78 per cent in favour of the new deal.   The agreement includes a two per cent wage increase in each year of the agreement with minor wage adjustments, retirement incentives and improvements to scheduling practices.

"I think this is a great agreement that addresses the concerns of all of our members, including injured workers," said CAW Local 1256 President Angus MacDonald. "The new agreement recognizes the important contributions our members make to the well-being of the community through public transit services."

CAW Local 1256 represents 180 workers at Oakville Transit, including drivers, mechanics and cleaners.

 

Hudak Jeopardizes Tens of Thousands of Auto Jobs

Conservative Leader Tim Hudak's promise to end all provincial government subsidies to business, in the name of ending so-called "corporate welfare," would destroy Ontario's chances of winning new auto investments that are crucial to the future of several Ontario auto communities, warns CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

"The puritan Conservative position against subsidies is driven by ideology, not economic reality," Lewenza said. "If enacted, this promise would mean we'll never receive another major auto investment in this province."

Hudak's pledge to end all business subsidies appears on page 15 of the Conservatives' "Changebook" platform document.

In capital-intensive, globally mobile industries like auto and aerospace, it is a near-universal practice for host governments to provide a range of incentives to attract new investments (including capital grants, infrastructure subsidies, and training subsidies). 

In Ontario for the last decade, every major capital project by global automakers has received major financial support from both the federal and the Ontario governments.  Typically, each level of government kicks in about 10 per cent of the capital cost of the new investment, for a combined subsidy of around 20 per cent.  This has been the practice both at new "greenfield" sites (such as Toyota's new plant in Woodstock) and for the retooling of existing factories.

Several major Ontario auto facilities will require major retooling within the term of the next Ontario government, including plants in Brampton, Oakville, Ingersoll, Oshawa and Windsor.

"Without significant participation by both the provincial and federal governments, not one of those crucial projects will go ahead," Lewenza said.  "Tens of thousands of auto jobs in Ontario will be jeopardized if a Hudak government puts naïve philosophical convictions ahead of concrete support for this vital industry."

"Of course, we'd all rather see companies investing in this province out of a sense of social responsibility," Lewenza said.  "But that's not how most industries work anymore.  You have to have money on the table, in order to play in the game."

Government participation is all the more important today, Lewenza noted, in light of actions by competing jurisdictions (including the U.S. and Mexico, which also pay large investment subsidies), the over-valued Canadian currency, and the need for auto companies to invest in new environmental technology and other innovations.

About 95,000 Ontarians currently work in auto assembly and components manufacturing.  About 9000 new auto jobs have been regained in the province since June 2009 - the worst point of the global financial crisis.

 

CAW Welcomes Paperworkers

The Independent Paperworkers of Canada Local 69 have joined the CAW.  The 116 members are now part of CAW Local 1917

L-R Secretary-Treasurer Peter Kennedy; former CAW Local 398 President Doug Aitchison; former President of Independent Paperworkers Local 69 Jerry Heffernan; CAW National President Ken Lewenza; CAW Local 1917 President Robin Dudley; CAW Kitchener Area Director Bill Gibson and Health & Safety Co-Chair at Hitachi ( Local 1917) in Guelph Kevin Patterson pictured here at the Ontario pre-election meeting in Kitchener, September 19, 2011

 

CAW Applauds Support of Ontario Northland

The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission has announced a new contract with Metrolinx to refurbish ten more rail cars in its North Bay, Ontario facility.

CAW Local 103 President Brian Kelly and CAW Local 103 Vice-President Andy Mitchell were on hand September 30 with Nipissing Liberal candidate Catherine Whiting and Liberal MPP Monique Smith to announce the contract, which is worth $9 million.
Taken together with the previously announced Polar Bear Express refurbishment the new contract means 12 months of work for CAW Local 103 members at the plant. Officials from the ONTC, Metrolinx and the provincial government have been meeting to structure a strategic alliance that will allow both government agencies to work more closely and to bring more work to the ONTC, Smith said.

"The McGuinty government has been very supportive of the ONTC over the last eight years with investments of over $400 million," said Brian Kelly, CAW Local 103 President.

"The Liberal government has supported us and is now assisting us again as we transition from the Metrolinx deal. In 2002 Dalton McGuinty pledged not to sell the ONTC and has kept his promise. We are confident the pledge to create a strategic alliance between the ONTC and Metrolinx that will bring work into our shops will be kept as well," Kelly said.


CAW Youth Conference

Over 75 delegates participated in the 5th CAW Youth Conference held at the union's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario from September 30-October 2.

Through workshops, group discussions and special presentations delegates examined the challenges young workers face in Canada's underperforming economy as well as ways to address those challenges for the future, including improving retirement security, stopping two-tier collective agreements and taking action to stop climate change.

Conference guests included CAW President Ken Lewenza, CAW Economist Jim Stanford and South African metalworkers union representative Alex Mashilo (NUMSA). The conference also held a Turning Point gathering run by Jamie Biggar and Adam Shedletzky (co-founders of the grassroots citizen mobilization group Leadnow.ca).


CAW Welcomes New Members

George Jeffrey Community Day Care,  Thunder Bay, ON - 21 Members.

NS Technologies Group Inc. Injection Division, Whitby, ON - 150 Members.

Firan Technology Group Corporation, Toronto, ON - 76 Members

Rock-Tenn Container Canada L.P., Guelph, ON   - 116 Members

 

CAW Women Leaders Remember Nancy Riche

CAW members, activists and leaders remember Nancy Riche as an outspoken feminist with a keen sense of justice, a tireless fighter and a trailblazer for women in the labour movement.  Nancy passed away on October 1, 2011 at age 66.

Those who knew her best, described Nancy as generous, formidable, fearless, feisty and funny.  

Nancy began her professional life as a community college instructor and a member of the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE). She went on to become Director of Education, Research and Communications at NAPE and then Secretary-Treasurer of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).

She was elected CLC Executive Vice-President, a post she held for 13 years, before going on to become CLC Secretary Treasurer in 1999. She retired in 2002. As one of Canada's leading female labour leaders, Nancy also served as Vice-President of the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and Chair of its Women's Committee from 1993-2002.

Nancy served as Associate President (Labour) of the federal NDP and later President of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP from 2003-2008.

Nancy received the Order of Canada, a Dr. of Letters Honoris Causa from Memorial University, the AFL-CIO Meary-Lane Human Rights Award and the Elijah Barayi Award from the Congress of South African Trade Unions for her contribution to the struggle against apartheid.
 
Below CAW women leaders reflect on the contributions Nancy made to the trade union movement and to their own lives and the lives of others:

Julie White, Women's Department Director
 "Nancy Riche's forward in her book to trade union women "Dear Sisters, Dear Sisters" starts out with "I had an idea .to write a book as a gift to all the women in the movement who supported me, cried with me, laughed with me and inspired me. You are my friends. You are my sisters."

We should now take a moment to reflect on Sister Riche - a feminist, a trade unionist and a social democrat whose shoulders we stand upon. Nancy was a feminist who blazed a path for us to follow; a trade unionist who empowered us to lead; and a social democrat who taught us change is possible. Our parting gift to Sister Riche must be our commitment to continue her legacy and create new "ideas" through organizing, protesting and pushing back."

Deb Tveit, Assistant to the President
 "Nancy was a mentor to many CAW women over the years encouraging and developing their self esteem and instilling in them the ability to be leaders and be elected in leadership roles. I for one have benefitted from her encouragement and the confidence she gave me to hold many leadership positions over the years. She will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by myself and many others."

Peggy Nash, former Assistant to the President, current NDP MP
 "Nancy was a fearless fighter for the underdog and the marginalized.  She was a passionate trailblazer for women's rights and bristled immediately in the face of sexism or some other form of discrimination.  Never afraid to say what many only thought, Nancy would disarm negative reaction with one of those mischievous smiles.  

A tireless advocate for the New Democratic Party, Nancy led the party as president for several years, but she always rolled up her sleeves and pitched in to help local campaigns.  How sad that she won't see the tremendous success next week of her good friend Newfoundland NDP Leader Lorraine Michaels. What a celebration she would have had."

Carol Phillips, former Assistant to the President, Women's Department Director 
 "I was blessed to work closely with Nancy over the years both at the CAW and CLC and some of my most treasured memories come from times spent with Sister Riche. Nancy was an extraordinary and complex feminist and trade unionist who never forgot how tough it was to grow up poor and she fought for the disadvantaged all her life. She was funny and warm and could also be a royal pain sometimes! She never shied away from speaking truth to power and looking them straight in the eye when she did it. She was an inspiration to many of us women and men alike. She was much loved and Nancy will be sorely missed."

Cheryl Kryzaniwsky, former Women's Department Director, CAW Council President 
 "I became active in my union in 1976 and was elected to attend my first CLC convention in 1978. I was nervous and so unsure of myself not knowing much about convention protocol or procedure. Nancy Riche to the rescue!  Nancy held a pre meeting awareness session for "women" regaling those in attendance with a humourous look at what to expect. How to line up, speak at the microphone (which she insisted we do at least once); vote for or against the committee's recommendation; how to participate fully making sure our voices were heard.  She became a mentor and friend and the loss of her voice on issues of importance to working women around the world will be deeply missed."

You can sign the memorial book here: http://www.carnells.com/funeral-notice.aspx?id=2339

To download a copy of  this ad visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/10591.htm


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