December 7, 2012
Volume 42, No. 43
New Agreement at Irving Shipyards in Halifax, Nova Scotia
CAW/Marine Workers Federation Local 1 members at the Halifax shipyard voted 70 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement on November 28, which provides wage gains, a new long-term disability plan and maintains seniority rights, among other improvements.
CAW/MWF Local 1 represents approximately 1000 skilled workers at the shipyard. On October 19, 2011 the federal government announced the Irving Shipyard had been awarded $25 billion in shipbuilding contracts.
The new five-year agreement, provides a 10 per cent wage increase in the first year (including five per retroactive and five per cent for this year). Next year there is a 2.5 per cent raise and 2.5 per cent in 2014 and three per cent in each of the following years. The agreement also includes a new long-term disability plan and it maintains seniority rights.
"Our negotiating committee worked very hard to get a good deal for our members, one that increased benefits for workers and improves our ability to attract new skilled trades members to Halifax Shipyard to build new ships for Canada," said Karl Risser, President of CAW/MWF Local 1.
"Our campaign to build ships in Canada, by Canadian workers, for Canada has been going on for years. The competitive wage rates in this new agreement will help us to attract and retain skilled trades here in Nova Scotia," Risser said. "Our membership and their experience was one of the leading reasons Irving Shipbuilding successfully landed the bid to build the Navy's new combat fleet."
Workers at the shipyard are currently constructing nine patrol vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard, an Irving news release states. Also underway are refits of seven frigates for the Canadian Navy. In addition, estimates call for the first set of vessels under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, Arctic offshore patrol ships, to go into production in 2015.
CAW Atlantic Area Director Les Holloway said ratification of the new agreement means that numerous upgrades at the shipyard will now go ahead.
"With these upgrades this yard will be a state of the art facility that's as good as any other shipyard in the world," Holloway said. He added there will be not only long-term benefits to the members of CAW/MWF Local 1 in Halifax, but also the surrounding community and future generations of workers.
Negotiations between the CAW/MWF and Irving lasted 11 months.
Diamond Jubilee Medal for Young Cancer Research Fundraiser
Owen Millar, son of CAW Local 707 Recording Secretary Dave Millar, was presented with the Governor General's Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on November 30. Halton MP and Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt presented Owen with the medal at an assembly at his elementary school.
Up until that point Owen, 8 years old, was unaware he was receiving the award. Owen was recognized for raising $3,500 in the Great Ride and Stride for Cancer in Burlington, in memory of his uncle who passed away from cancer.
Owen is shown here with father Dave Millar, step-mother Nadine Millar, mother Jennifer Millar-Giudice, brother Adrian Giudice and step-father Carm Giudice.
Canadian Unions Call For a Sustained Push to Meet HIV GoalsOn the occasion of World AIDS Day 2012, December 3, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), called on governments across the globe to mount a final push in the next 1,000 days to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets and achieve an AIDS-free generation by 2015.
Although the global growth of new HIV infections has receded, an estimated 2.5 million people were newly infected last year, 1.7 million more died of HIV-related illnesses and 34 million people continue to live with HIV. Once again, this year's figures underscore the need to step up efforts of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
A coalition of trade unions throughout Africa and Canada succeeded earlier this year in securing the G8's commitment to strive for "an AIDS free generation by 2015," renew support for the Global Fund and recommit to the goals of the Muskoka Initiative for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.
The CLC is now calling on governments world-wide to share responsibility and deliver promised resources for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, especially through workplace actions. Canadian unions also stand ready to work with African counterparts and civil society partners to lobby governments to meet the Abuja Declaration target by dedicating 15 percent of their annual budgets to the health sector.
The CAW joins Canadian unions in a call for a concerted effort to carry out national implementation plans for ILO "Recommendation 200 concerning HIV and AIDS and the world of work." They say the Canadian Government could set an example by implementing its own report on R200 here on Canadian soil and promote a zero-tolerance policy on HIV-related stigma and discrimination in all workplaces.
The CAW's booklet 'HIV/AIDS: A Worker's Issue, a Union Issue' offers information on the face of HIV/AIDS in Canada, prevention and transmission , model collective agreement language and a wealth of other data. For more information or to download the new booklet or poster, please visit: www.caw.ca/humanrights.
CAW Lauds Aerospace Review
CAW President Ken Lewenza is lauding the report of the Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies, released November 29 in Ottawa.
Lewenza called the report "encouraging," and said that it raises the profile of a very important sector of the national economy, including in Quebec. Lewenza said the review is an excellent example of pro-active engagement by government to develop industrial policies for key economic sectors.
The report suggests that for the Canadian aerospace sector to thrive, government must play an active role, as is the case in many other countries.
"The Review clearly advises that government must look at proactive policies, measures that will level the playing field with countries that rely heavily on state investment and ownership and ways to invest in building aerospace knowledge through research, development and training," said Lewenza.
Lewenza, along with Assistant to the President Jerry Dias, was in attendance for the launch of the report.
"Historically Canada has been one of the leaders in the aerospace industry," said Lewenza. "In recent years, this position has slipped due to a lack of concerted effort by government. Our aerospace sector cannot and should not be taken for granted."
The union welcomed the recommendations to maintain and stabilize program funding for the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) and the Canadian Space Agency.
Lewenza cautioned that although the Review highlights the need to secure greater benefit to Canada through government procurement of aircraft and aerospace-related equipment and maintenance contracts, it falls short in failing to focus more strongly on binding commitments to spin-off industrial and technical benefits, including jobs.
He also indicated that while the Review rightly highlights the role of trade, and the aggressive outreach undertaken by other nations, it does not go far enough in its recommendation for greater diplomacy. "Diplomacy alone will not ensure Canadian aerospace jobs - we need balanced trade rules or we'll see our global position in the industry diminish."
The CAW will join with other industry stake holders to press the government to implement the contents of the Review and greater support for the industry. The CAW represents approximately 10,000 aerospace workers across the country.
To see the complete Review of Aerospace and Space Programs and Policies please visit: http://aerospacereview.ca/eic/site/060.nsf/eng/h_00003.html
Toronto Council Votes to Maintain Statutory Holidays
In a vote closely watched by thousands of retail workers across the city, Toronto City Council has voted in favour of keeping stores closed on statutory holidays. City Council voted 36 to 7 on November 29 in favour of keeping stores closed on statutory holidays.
"The idea that all people, regardless of their job, need time to spend with their families really resonated with city councillors right across the political spectrum," said CAW Local 414 President Christine Connor. "Retail workers are among the most vulnerable in our city, working erratic shifts at all hours of the day and night. Last night they found some unlikely allies at City Hall," she said in reaction to the vote.
"Eliminating stat holidays should never have been raised in the first place," Connor said. "If retail businesses want to improve competitiveness they shouldn't be doing that on the backs of this city's most vulnerable workers."
Connor said statutory holidays provide the only guaranteed time off the job for retail workers, many of whom face constant fluctuations in shift schedules and other precarious working conditions.
The CAW, along with other retail worker unions and organizations, initiated a campaign to ensure retail workers would not lose their nine statutory holidays. The efforts were also aided by a number of store owners and companies who also did not want to see stores open on statutory holidays - days which would bring in little profit, at a high cost to staff.
In 2010, the City of Toronto undertook an effort to establish a long-term policy dictating the rules for holiday shopping for local retailers. The original proposal was to eliminate all nine statutory holidays and was billed as a move to improve the competitiveness of local businesses. CAW Local 414 represents approximately 6,000 retail workers across Toronto.
Maintain Industrial Jobs in Toronto, CAW UrgesThe CAW was successful in two key votes in maintaining industrial jobs in Toronto. The application to rezone the area near the Toronto Nestle chocolate plant on Sterling Road was rejected, with councillors voting 31 to 1 to preserve the area around Nestle as a commercial zone, instead of changing it to a residential area for condo development. There was great concern that the rezoning of the surrounding land for condos would be the beginning of the demise of the century old facility. The Nestle plant produces chocolate bars such as Aero, Coffee Crisp, Kit Kat and Smarties among others.
For more than two months CAW Local 252 campaigned and canvassed their community regarding Nestle.
The other vote involved a motion to force a wind down of the GE Hitachi facility located at 1025 Lansdowne Avenue. The wind down proposed to take place over the next five years was rejected by two thirds of the vote. The issue will now be referred to the Planning and Urban Growth Committee for further discussion. This facility manufactures natural uranium pellets which supplies 53 per cent of Ontario's energy. CAW lobbied council on this issue.
Both groups of workers are represented by CAW Local 252.
Activist Brigette DePape joins CAW Campaign to Stop Greyhound's Cuts
Brigette DePape has joined the Canadian Auto Workers union campaign to Stop Greyhound's application to cut service on Vancouver Island and the B.C. interior.
As a former Senate Page, DePape gained national attention when she held up a "Stop Harper" sign metres away from Stephen Harper during a throne speech. Since then she has been committing her efforts to promoting democracy and climate change justice.
"CAW Local 114 is extremely grateful for Brigette's support," said CAW 114 President Gord McGrath. "Brigette expressed concerns for the workers, British Columbians and the environment. We call on British Columbians to voice their concerns to the Passenger Transportation Board and to the Provincial Government in an attempt to put the brakes on Greyhound's application. Our union has an online petition for the public to send their message to the PTB and the Liberal government."
DePape heard about the Stop the Greyhound Cuts Campaign during a youth conference in Vancouver leading up to the B.C. Federation of Labour Convention. Her commitment to the environment led her to offer her support. Holding a Stop Greyhound Cuts stop sign, she has leant her stop sign celebrity to the campaign. DePape is also promoting the campaign via social media. See pictures at: http://greyhoundcuts.blogspot.com/
CAW Local 114 currently represents over 4,000 members across B.C. and Alberta. The CAW's proposal submitted to the PTB and the petition to have Greyhound's application denied, can be viewed at (http://www.cawlocal114.com/)
CAW Movember Fundraiser
Pictured, left to right, front row: Abe Rosner, Shahmez Khimji (team captain), Ken Bondy and back row, Mike Reuter, Richard Vann, Gursharn Bedi, Shane O'Neil and Zoran Jovanovic.
Team CAW the br "OTHERS" raised $17,610 in support of men's health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives by growing an impressive array of moustaches during the month of November as part of the Movember and Sons fundraiser.
The group of eight CAW staff, retired staff and co-ordinators placed 17th in Canada in terms of Movember fundraising for teams of ten or less.
Across the globe in the month of November the Movember and Sons fundraiser brings in millions of dollars and heightened public awareness of men's health issues. In Canada more than $37 million was raised through Movember, making Canada the top Movember fundraising nation.
Team CAW the br"OTHERS" want to thank everyone who contributed and especially wives and partners who were supportive throughout a month of moustaches. Plans are already underway for next year's hairy crop of CAW moustaches.
December 6 Coalition Calls for National Action on Violence Against WomenOn the National Day of Remembrance and Action, a coalition of women's groups, shelters and labour organizations is urging the federal government to take concerted action to end violence against women in Canada.
Reminding the government that its 2011 Throne Speech promised to address violence against women and girls, the December 6 Coalition called for a comprehensive National Action Plan to end violence against women in Canada and a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Internationally, Canada should commit to playing a lead role at the 2013 UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) and work for an agreement that builds upon and strengthens existing rights for women, and holds governments accountable for their progress toward eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls. Last year's sitting of the UNCSW failed to reach an agreement.
"With the end of the gun registry, Canada lost an important tool for keeping women safe from violence. Without investment in social services, health care or educational supports, the government's law-and-order approach of longer and more punitive sentences cannot make women and children in Canada safer. It will only make them more vulnerable," asserted Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.
"The United Nations has recommended that Member States put National Action Plans in place by 2015, our government needs to adopt a proactive, comprehensive approach to a systemic problem and start the process of creating Canada's Plan now," said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. "Canada's National Action Plan needs to include legislation, as well as specific resources and strategies for those most vulnerable to violence: Aboriginal women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, LGBTQ women and young women."
"A key component of Canada's plan must also include strategies to end women's poverty and address the crises in affordable housing and child care," added Barbara Byers, Executive Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress. "Because we all know that women need to be able to work, they need safe, affordable housing, and they need economic security."
"It's long past time the federal government announced a national public inquiry to examine the deaths and disappearances of indigenous women," said Susan Young, Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses. "Aboriginal women in Canada are at least five times more likely to be murdered than non-Aboriginal women. As our organizations have repeatedly urged, such a response is necessary to address the scale and severity of violence faced by Aboriginal women and girls, and an inquiry would help identify strategies that could form part of a comprehensive and coordinated National Action Plan."
The groups are calling for Minister Rona Ambrose to announce these initiatives in March 2013, when the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meets to discuss the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.
"The stakes in these discussions are high, as any agreement will hold Member States accountable for taking action to prevent and respond effectively to gender-based violence," said Paulette Senior, CEO of YWCA Canada, a member of the World YWCA.
The following are excerpts from the CAW's statement on" The International Day of Persons with Disabilities": December 3, 2012:
CAW Statement on "The International Day of Persons with Disabilities"
Working people understand that we don't live in a fair society and this lack of fairness extends to our workplaces as well. Discrimination based on disabilities is a daily reality and we have a responsibility to confront it.
Our communities and our workplaces are designed with a fictitious "normal person" in mind, as if having a disability weren't in fact, normal.
Most of us though, will require some kind of accommodation at some point in our lives. When we do, we will need supports in place - we will need job security, we will need the assurance that we won't be thrown out on to the scrap heap, we will need medical coverage, and we will need time off. These are the things we fight for. If we are seeking employment, we want assurances that we won't be stereotyped - or not hired - because of our disability.
As trade unionists, we take a working-class perspective on disability. People with disabilities need and deserve meaningful work - we all need to feed our families and we all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. We will not allow our worth as people to be measured by how much we contribute to the GDP or the bottom line, or how well we fit the mould...
...CAW demands that the Government of Canada fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Canada signed onto the Convention in 2009, yet has taken few steps to implement this human-rights-treaty.
The commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to address this exclusion by focusing on promoting accessibility and removing all types of barriers in society to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their human rights and play their full part in the economic, political, social and cultural lives of their communities.
To read the full statement please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/11741.htm.