November 9, 2012
Volume 42, No. 39
Coast Guard Service Cuts Dangerous, Marine Communicators Say
A CAW delegation representing 350 Marine Communications and Traffic Service officers from across Canada outlined the dangers to marine safety from Coast Guard service cutbacks at Canadian Marine Advisory Council meetings which began on November 6.
More than 550 delegates including ship owners, ship officers, crew union representatives, as well as government representatives were on hand to discuss various maritime related issues.
On May 17, 2012 the Canadian Coast Guard informed 184 MCTS officers working at 10 centres across Canada that their centre was closing. These centres are located in St. John's and St. Anthony, NL, Saint John, N.B., Rivière au Renard and Montréal, QC, Thunder Bay, ON, Vancouver, Tofino and Comox, BC. This is in addition to Inuvik, NWT which closed in October.
"This drastic reduction of essential services was done to save money, not to save lives," said Chad Stroud, president of CAW Local 2182, which represents the communications officers. "The reduction in MCTS centres will result in a decreased ability to hear that critical 'mayday.' It's hard to hear when no one's there."
The CAW delegation to CMAC included affected employees. They outlined their concerns regarding the pending cuts and also circulated a petition to be presented in the House of Commons calling on government to reverse its decision on cuts scheduled for 2014-15.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cost cutting agenda represents a total disregard for marine safety," Stroud added. "After cutting important rescue coordination service in St. John's, NL and later this fall similar cuts planned for rescue coordination in Quebec City, "government has turned its axe on important MCTS centres that play a significant role in the Search and Rescue and other safety infrastructure of this country", said Stroud.
Another important feature of the Harper cuts is the serious lack of analysis and consultation with maritime community stakeholders across Canada. Even CMAC, which has legislative responsibility to deal with matters of maritime safety, has been void of any consultation around the pending cuts to Coast Guard safety services in Canada.
"We will take that message to senior Transport Canada officials who are mandated to administer the CMAC process," Stroud said.
Please take a moment to send a letter to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and your MP: www.caw.ca/safeseas
Lear Workers Approve New Contract
CAW members at Lear Seating in Whitby, Ontario have ratified a new collective agreement by 78 per cent at a November 4 meeting.
Production workers approved the contract by 77 per cent, while skilled trades workers approved it by 100 per cent.
A tentative agreement was reached on October 29, after a two day long strike.
"As our members endured extreme weather conditions on the picket line, we were at the bargaining table pushing back against Lear's huge list of concessions," said CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley.
"The determination and support from our members gave us the ability to bargain a fair settlement that did not include Lear's concession list. This round of bargaining was about allowing our members to share in the company's success and we have done that," Buckley said.
The union was successful in resisting some $20 million in concessions tabled by Lear and made gains in time off the job, retirement incentives, lump sum payments and skilled trades improvements.
The contract contains slight changes to work practices, with the goal of positioning the facility for future investment. The CAW also obtained a commitment in writing from Lear that should it be successful in acquiring seat contracts for any of GM's future models, the seats will be built in the Whitby facility.
Negotiations began in early August, but were suspended on account of the contract talks with the Detroit Three. Talks between the CAW and Lear Whitby resumed in early October.
CAW Local 222 represents 400 workers at Lear Whitby.
Deny Greyhound Proposal for B.C. Service Cuts, CAW Urges
The CAW has submitted a proposal to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) urging denial of Greyhound's application to cut service on Vancouver Island and the B.C. interior.
The Greyhound proposal calls for 3.54 million kilometres (or 2.2 million miles) of service cuts in B.C.
"Greyhound, the PTB and the provincial government have a social contract with all of British Columbia," CAW Local 114 President Gord McGrath said. "We call on British Columbians to voice their concerns to the PTB and to the provincial government to deny Greyhound's application. Greyhound needs to understand that when they are granted a license to service the province, this means the entire province. Greyhound cannot be allowed to cherry pick routes," McGrath said.
"CAW Local 114 represents Greyhound employees on Vancouver Island and Fort St. James," McGrath said. "Greyhound's application not only affects these members directly, but other 114 members throughout British Columbia, their families and friends and especially their communities. These communities rely on Greyhound for services."
CAW Local 114 has an online petition for the public to send their message to the Passenger Transportation Board and the Liberal government, which can be found at: http://www.cawlocal114.com/.
The proposal was submitted in collaboration with the CAW Greyhound membership and CAW Economist Jim Stanford.
CAW Local 114 currently represents over 4000 members across B.C. and Alberta. The CAW's proposal submitted to the PTB and the petition to have Greyhound's application denied, can also be viewed at (http://www.cawlocal114.com/).
Jazz CSA/ACS: Looking for Efficiencies at Workers' Expense
On October 29-31, 2012 in Toronto, the Jazz Customer and Aircraft Services (CSA/ACS) bargaining committee met with representatives from the company to open negotiations.
CAW National President Ken Lewenza and Assistant
to the President Bob Orr attended a portion of the negotiations, committing the full support of the CAW to the Jazz CSA/ACS membership.
The company is proposing a number of contentious issues that would negatively impact the membership such as contracting out over 30 per cent of the workforce (300 jobs, above and below the wing),the introduction of a "B" pay scale and reductions in sick time allotments, to name a few.
The union understands that sustaining a viable, healthy company is in everyone's best interest. However, the race to the bottom is not the answer, said CAW Local 2002 President Jamie Ross. "Members ask why they are continually forced to take cuts. Jazz is making a healthy profit and the workers deserve their share."
As talks continue the committee remains confident that both sides can come together in a mutually beneficial agreement. The bargaining committee will meet again with the company on November 27-29, 2012 in Toronto.
Health Care Workers Support Wescast Picket Line
The master bargaining committee for the Group of 24 long term care homes paid a visit to the Wescast picket line in Strathroy, Ontario on November 2.
Wescast workers have been on strike since October 27.
Fatality: CAW Local 462 Member
CAW Local 462 member Terry Finch died on the job on October 25, 2012. Finch, 55, of Brampton, Ontario worked at Parmalat (formerly Beatrice and Heritage Farm Dairy) for more than 26 years.