February 8, 2013
Volume 43, No. 5
CAW Local 598 Members Ratify New Agreement at Xstrata
CAW/Mine Mill Local 598 members who work at Xstrata Nickel in Sudbury, Ontario have overwhelmingly ratified a new collective agreement that provides wage increases, COLA, pension gains and benefit improvements.
Workers voted 92 per cent in favour of the four-year agreement at meetings February 1. CAW Local 598 represents about 865 Xstrata Nickel production and maintenance workers.
"This round of talks was extremely difficult," said CAW Local 598 President Richard Paquin. "I think it's because of the extensive issues that were on the table at the time -- like the length of the contract, our pensioner's COLA indexing issues, our DB pension increases. Introduction of a voluntary DC pension plan for new hires, and the wages were an issue for us. We haven't had fair wage increases in years, and the members wanted that this time around. It was very challenging," Paquin said.
The new agreement includes a $4,000 signing bonus for all active members, wage increases of one per cent each year, COLA roll in wages ( total $3.20/hour increase over four years), pension and benefit improvements, including long-term disability and group life insurance gains.
For retired employees and spouses, there will be a one-time payment of $500 to the lowest earning pensioners and surviving spouses who are receiving pensions of less than $500 a month and the pension indexing will continue to be funded.
New Agreement Ratified at Coast Mountain Bus in Vancouver
CAW Local 111 and 2200 members have ratified with an 88 per cent vote a new three-year no-concessions collective agreement with the Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink, which serves Metro Vancouver.
The two locals represent more than 4,700 transit operators, mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers.
Don MacLeod, president of CAW 111, which represents transit operators, said the new contract was reached with no concessions after tough bargaining but that the union negotiated improvements to address concerns about pass-ups, overcrowding and lack of night bus service.
"Our members will work with Coast Mountain Bus Company and TransLink to find the sustainable funding that will improve service, reduce traffic congestion and make public transit a viable option for more and more people," MacLeod said.
Joe Elworthy, president of CAW Local 2200, which represents mechanics, maintenance and SeaBus workers, said the new contract also deals with important issues for his members.
"This contract provides new language and new approaches that will help ensure Coast Mountain retains skilled trades and other workers and keeps all parts of the system moving for our riders," Elworthy said.
MacLeod added that both sides also want to dramatically reduce violent attacks against bus drivers after a series of vicious assaults in the past few years, to ensure that driver safety is paramount. And Coast Mountain and CAW are committed to finding ways to accommodate injured workers returning to the job.
The new contract expires March 31, 2015. The agreement follows provincial wage guidelines and provides members with a 2 per cent wage increase in the second year and a 2 per cent wage increase in the third year, MacLeod said.
February is African Heritage Month
February is African Heritage Month, a time to commemorate African Heritage and those individuals who fought to enrich it - changing the world for the better.
African Heritage Month is also an opportunity for all of us to speak out against racism and for the strengthening of human rights for those of African heritage, and for all people of colour in Canada.
The CAW is committed to continue protecting and promoting human rights - for African Canadians and all equity-seeking groups, said Vinay Sharma, CAW Director of Human Rights.
As part of CAW's support for African Heritage Month, Sharma said the union is supporting The Childrens Breakfast Club, which will take 50 children to Ottawa as part of the celebration of Black History Month.
One Billion Rising February 14
The CAW is throwing its support behind One Billion Rising, a Valentine's Day initiative to shed light on violence against women and girls globally. February 14 was claimed as V-Day by Vagina Monologues author and activist Eve Ensler 15 years ago. One Billion Rising commemorates this anniversary.
According to the One Billion Rising website, a number of events are being set up right across the country. For more information or to find an event in your area, please visit: http://www.facebook.com/events/519179748113908/?ref=ts&fref=ts.
CAW 2013 Family Education Program
Have you ever thought about taking a family holiday with your union? How about taking a summer vacation where your accommodations, meals and airline travel (if applicable) are paid for?
The CAW Family Education Program will provide quality time in a beautiful setting where qualified childcare staff provide programs for your children. You will meet people from across Canada and learn about the CAW and issues facing Canadian families.
Participants will discuss current economic and social issues from a worker's viewpoint, as well as the history, structure and policies of the CAW.
The program is held at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario on the shores of Lake Huron. CAW members in good standing are eligible to apply for the Family Education Program (you don't require Paid Education Leave (PEL) in your contract).
This year the CAW is holding two English language programs that last one week and one French language program for two weeks.
Session 1: Sunday, July 28 through Friday, August 9 (French);
Session 2: Sunday, August 10 through Friday, August 16 (English);
Session 3: Saturday, August 17 through Friday, August 23 (English).
Application forms and information packages can be printed off the CAW website at www.caw.ca/education. Applications must be postmarked no later than Friday, March 22, 2013.
Idle No More Trail of Fire March to Citadel Hill in Halifax, Nova Scotia
The following story was submitted by David Ladouceur, CAW/MWF Local 1 member and native activist
It was a bitter cold morning here in Halifax when Les Holloway, CAW Atlantic Area Director, Karl Risser President of CAW/MWF Local 1 and I, (David Ladouceur, Sergeant at Arms, Local 1 CAW/MWF), participated, along with other local unions and concerned citizens about the effects of Bill C-45.
We began our journey on the Dartmouth side of the MacDonald Bridge at 10 am with about 400 other activists, not protesters as the media would have you believe. Our march led us up Gottingen Street with a refreshment break at the MikMaq Friendship center and a few short speeches and to pick up some more activists along the way. Then we were under way once more rejuvenated and reinvigorated, buoyed by the sunshine, the drummers and chants. Nothing was going to spoil this great day.
We arrived at the base of Citadel Hill where we listened to Jean Sock, who was also one of the Hunger Strikers along with Chief Theresa Spence for her 44 day fast on Victoria Island, just a stone's throw away from Parliament Hill. Chief Spence's hunger strike ended with the signing of a Declaration of Understanding with the Liberals and the NDP.
From there it was a short walk to the meeting ground, where we had our round dance and some speeches were made, the highlight being a 10 year-old MikMaq girl, wise beyond her years as she spoke of the effects of Bill C45 and the loss of protected waterways and the effects it would have on all the people who depended on the water for sustenance.
It was with great pride that I was able to share this Idle No More event with my CAW family and inform you how these omnibus bills affect each and every one of us.
In solidarity, David Ladouceur