March 1, 2013

Volume 43, No. 8

Federal Study Eyes Stronger, Sustainable Auto Policies 

The federal government is commissioning a five-year research initiative to study Canada's auto manufacturing sector. The project aims to examine and strengthen research and development as well as investment policies to keep one of the country's most critical industries competitive and sustainable.
CAW President Ken Lewenza called the February 22 announcement a step in the right direction, noting the study's objectives are in line with the union's 10-point auto policy campaign entitled Re-thinking Canada's Auto Industry, launched in April of 2012.
"We approached key federal government officials last summer with a slate of proposals to help create jobs, encourage investment and improve the competitiveness of this core Canadian industry that received all-party support," Lewenza said.
The CAW auto policy framework includes a demand for green-car auto investment in Canada, a re-balancing of current unfair trade flows and a Buy-Canadian vehicle procurement strategy, among other items.
The $2.1 million study will be headed up by Professor Charlotte Yates, Dean of Social Sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton through a new Canadian Automotive Policy Partnership (CAPP). The study will be informed by both academic and industry partners, including the CAW.
"The project will be ground-breaking not only because of the breadth of its analysis, but also because of its capacity to build functioning, long-term partnerships between industry, researchers and the government," said Yates, as reported in the McMaster Daily News.
For more information on the CAW's Re-Thinking Canada's Auto Industry campaign, and to sign the pledge, visit:

Ratification at Toronto Terminal Railways

CAW Local 4003 members who work at Toronto Terminal Railways have voted 63 per cent in support of a new three-year collective agreement that includes wage and benefit increases and a commitment to providing more training opportunities for members.
The new agreement includes a 3 per cent wage increase, retroactive to January 1, an additional 3 per cent in the next year and three per cent in the final year.
Other gains include improvements to short term disability benefits, maternity benefits, extended health care, dental and the post-retirement health care plan.
Barry Kennedy, President of CAW Council 4000, said it is a "good deal for the members that provides wage and benefit increases, as well as work rule changes that address membership concerns. The solidarity of the members and the bargaining committee's hard work helped ensure a strong agreement," Kennedy said.
The CAW represents 125 members at Toronto Terminal Railways who perform maintenance-of-way, track protection and maintenance duties in and around Union Station in Toronto. CAW Local 4003 is part of CAW Council 4000.  

New Study Highlights Alarming Rise of Precarious Jobs

One-half of workers in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton work in a precarious job or jobs that are unstable, according to a new study released by the United Way Toronto and McMaster University.
The 115-page study, entitled It's More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Well-Being, offers a comprehensive look at the prevalence of both stable and precarious forms of employment across workplaces in the GTA and Hamilton, including the regions of Durham, Peel, Halton and York.
The study found that at least 20 per cent of those working are in precarious forms of employment, including temporary or impermanent contract jobs, jobs that offer no benefits, have erratic work schedules and offer low pay, among other characteristics. Additionally, precarious employment in the region has increased by 50 percent in the past 20 years.
The report offers a realistic assessment of how Canada's labour market has transformed over the last number of decades, said CAW National Representative Cammie Peirce, who is assisting in various elements of the study.
"Too much emphasis is put on the number of jobs being created as a measure of our economic well-being. That's increasingly not the case, especially since more of our jobs become more precarious," Peirce said.
The United Way/McMaster study also drew connections between precarious work and its negative impact on household well-being. Study participants (mainly those identified as low- and middle-income earners) cited increased levels of stress and anxiety with their job that interferes with family life, household activities and the increased likelihood of running out of money to buy food, for example.
Half of the workers identified as "insecure" in the study were living in households that earned between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, an unexpected finding according to study author Wayne Lewchuk.
"What we didn't expect to see was how much precarious work has crept into middle-income households," Lewchuk said in an interview with the Toronto Star. "The impact is even being felt in upper-income levels."
The report, released on February 25, is the first in a series of six case studies to be released over the coming years as part of the larger Precarious Employment and Poverty in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) project.
The full text of the study can be downloaded here:

Save Our Services: March 4 Health Care Rallies

A day of action to save quality, public health services in Ontario is planned for communities across the province on Monday, March 4.
The rallies, which are coordinated by the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC), are in reaction to the Ontario government's austerity budget. The OHC is warning of the negative impact of the Ontario government curtailing health spending by more than $3 billion, "most of which will be shouldered by hospitals and OHIP," an OHC release states.
CAW President Ken Lewenza urged wide-spread support for the March 4 rallies and ongoing efforts to not only save but also improve quality, universal public health services.
"Public health care must be protected from privatization, cutbacks and underfunding," Lewenza said. "I encourage CAW members to take part in these rallies and to speak out loudly and take action to protect public health care not only on March 4, but also in the months ahead."
Support Our Services (SOS) rallies and events will be held in Campbellford; Chatham-Kent;  Durham Region; Guelph; Kingston; Listowel; London; Niagara; Ottawa; Perth/Smiths Falls; Peterborough; Petrolia; Quinte West/Picton; St. Marys; Sudbury; Thunder Bay; Toronto and Windsor.
 To find more about an event near you, please visit

International RSI Awareness Day - February 28

CAW members took part in community events and activities commemorating February 28, 2013, International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day - a day to emphasize the vital need for ergonomic regulation, justice and dignity for injured workers and respectful accommodation. The following is an excerpt of a letter sent to local unions from CAW National Health & Safety and Environment Department Director Sari Sairanen:
International Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) Awareness Day was spearheaded by Catherine Fenech, an injured worker and union activist in Toronto. The first RSI Awareness Day was launched in 2000. The idea is to increase public attention as well as encourage corporate and government action on a class of injuries that were on the rise throughout the 1990s and still show no sign of declining. 
According to Statistics Canada, 2.3 million Canadian adults annually experience an RSI serious enough to limit their normal activities. The majority of these injuries are caused by work-related activity. Beyond the social, emotional and economic costs to affected individuals are the economic costs to us all. RSIs cost Canadians upwards of $26 billion dollars annually. Much of this cost is born, not by employers who operate unsafe workplaces, but by Canadians through our public health care system and income assistance programs."
To read the full letter, and for more information, visit:

CALM Conference in Edmonton - May 23-25

The Canadian Association of Labour Media's annual conference is just around the corner. It's a great opportunity for training, networking, and strategizing with labour communicators from across the country.
CALM is planning a program with exciting keynote speakers, the CALM award ceremonies and banquet, panels on key issues for labour, open sessions for collective strategizing, and a wide range of  workshops on writing, social media, campaigning, web design, photography, video and lots more.
The conference will start the evening of Thursday, May 23rd and run through to the afternoon of Saturday May 25. The CAW is a member of CALM.
For more information, please visit:

CAW Leads One Billion Rising in Communities Across Canada

CAW women led the way in their communities right across the country for One Billion Rising events on February 14.
Women gathered together in solidarity to rise, dance, sing and speak out; to raise awareness, protest and demonstrate; and to demand an end to violence against women and girls everywhere. Events were held in Oshawa, Pickering,  Kitchener, Hamilton, Windsor, Toronto, London, St. John's, Newfoundland and Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The flash dance event in London, Ontario (pictured here) attracted more than 500 participants and observers. To see more photos and videos of events, please visit:

CAW National Young Workers Conference -

May 3-5

Registration is now open for the 2013 CAW National Young Workers Conference entitled Charting Our Course: Developing a Young Workers Agenda for the New Union.

This year's conference is fully bilingual and open to all young CAW members 30 years of age and younger (35 and younger in Quebec). It will include a series of large and small group discussions to chart a course for a young workers program for the new union, alongside representatives of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP). The conference will be held at the CAW Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.
Participants will also have the opportunity to take part in activist-oriented skills-building workshops, designed to encourage young worker participation in their local union and community. As always, the conference will inspire through special guest speakers, fun activities and opportunities to socialize and network with other young workers.
The deadline for registrations is April 12. To download a copy of the call letter, visit .
For more information, contact or visit

CAW Group Insurance Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the recent CAW Breckles Insurance Brokers Group Insurance contest. The following CAW members won a $500 Visa gift card. To qualify for the draw, the members were asked to call in for a comparison quote on their home and automobile insurance. 
Local 88 - Azra Skapur
Local 707 - Kevin Lucas
Local 200 - Rolando Fuentebella
Local 444 - Karen Mendel
Local 1285 - Wladyslaw Baginski
Local 195 - Bill Potter
Local 302 - Michelle Flewin

 All CAW members are eligible for the group rates offered. Breckles Insurance workers are represented by CAW Local 1524.
For more information on the CAW Group Insurance plan, please visit:

CAW Welcomes New Members

  • Chartwell Senior Housing (Leamington Court), Leamington ON, 86 members.
  • Chartwell Senior Housing (Royal Oak Long Term Care), Leamington ON, 150 members.
  • Georgia Pacific Canada Inc., Thorold, ON, 30 members

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