March 15, 2013
Volume 43, No. 10
Sunwing Pilots Ratify First Agreement
Pilots at Sunwing Airlines have ratified thier first collective agreement since joining the CAW by a margin of 78 per cent.
The new deal includes wage and pension increases and a commitment by the company to recognize fatigue in pilots' schedules.
Captain Dave Matkovich, President of CAW Local 7378, said the new agreement makes a number of key improvements and meets membership concerns. "The solidarity of the members and the bargaining committee's hard work helped ensure a strong agreement for our pilot group while allowing Sunwing Airlines to remain competitive over the long term," Matkovich said. CAW Local 7378 represents the 155 professional pilots at Sunwing, who joined the CAW in January 2012.
The agreement also includes a number of new jobs being created as well as wage increases of up to 2 per cent per year over the term of the three year contract, retroactive to December 1, 2012. Other gains include improvements to the scheduling system, increase in annual sick days, maternity benefits, and new work sharing programs to reduce the number of layoffs in slow periods.
Pilots voted on the new agreement after a series of cross country meetings held over the last week of February. The ballot count was conducted late last week.
Major Victory for former Navistar Workers
A decision by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) is a major victory for more than 800 former Navistar workers seeking a just decision to protect their pensions following the shuttering of the company's Chatham truck plant more than three-and-a-half years ago, CAW President Ken Lewenza said.
Lewenza said the CAW along with the former workers at Navistar have sought a fair and equitable ruling since the plant officially closed in 2011. The March 7 decision from the FSCO pension regulator deals with the wind-up of the Navistar pension plan.
The FSCO decision covers four key issues: the date of the wind up of the pension plan; the early retirement programs in the pension agreement; pension entitlements of those who retired before the wind up date of July 28, 2011 and credited service upon layoff.
"This FSCO decision supports the CAW and the former workers' position on all four of these key issues," Lewenza said. "After Navistar closed its plant during negotiations it has fought its own workers at every step. The company had left more than 800 workers and their families facing an uncertain financial future. They now have clarity about the future of their pensions."
Navistar idled its Chatham plant in June 2009, but only announced the official closure in July 2011. There is a 30-day appeal period following the FSCO decision.
"What is so frustrating is the role of the provincial and federal governments which have the power to protect workers' pensions and severance, but who have repeatedly failed to act in these kinds of situations," Lewenza said.
For more information regarding this FSCO decision on the Navistar pension plan please visit: www.caw.ca/navistar .
CAW Members Ratify First Contract at LaHave Manor
On March 7 CAW members at LaHave Manor (located near Bridgewater, Nova Scotia) unanimously ratified a new three-year collective agreement that provides strong wage increases and premium pay gains as well as first time provisions respecting seniority, job security and posting rights.
CAW National Representative Rick Rose commended the 65 members at LaHave Manor for their resolve during negotiations for this first contract after lengthy delays in the certification process in 2012.
"We made gains in key areas and have built a strong foundation for future agreements," said Rose.
Wages will increase by 2 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 3 percent over the life of the three-year agreement. Workers will also get a shift premium of $1.50 per hour when they work nights, among other monetary gains. Other provisions in the first contract include lieu time for statutory holidays, sick leave, group insurance and pension plans.
"Since we voted to join the CAW, we finally have the rights and protections that have been needed for so long and an amazing collective agreement to back us up," said Stacy Harvey, CAW Local 4606 bargaining committee member at LaHave.
CAW members at LaHave provide long-term care and other health-related services.
Governments Ignore Precarious Work at Own Peril
Canada turned out 51,000 new jobs in February and more people are actively seeking work, but governments across the country are ignoring the underlying spread of precarious work at their own peril, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.
"Putting tens of thousands of Canadians back into paid work is only worth celebrating if these jobs provide some sense of security, stability and well-being," Lewenza said following the release of Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey on March 8.
Lewenza noted that precarious work has been on the rise in Canada over the past decades, with temporary (contract) jobs far outstripping the pace of growth in permanent jobs.
Buried deep within Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey are data that help track the rise of precarious work, but that do not typically make it into the national headlines, said Lewenza.
Comparing last month's job stats to February 2011, there has been a 9 per cent increase in temporary jobs (including contract and temporary agency jobs)
- rising at three times the pace of permanent jobs.
"There are cracks in the foundation of our job market," Lewenza said. "Unions, social agencies and academics are raising the flags, but it's ultimately up to government and employers - the standard-setters and job creators - to heed the call."
Investment in CAMI-GM a Boost for Industry and Community
The CAW applauded the announcement by General Motors on March 8 to invest $250 million in its CAMI facility in Ingersoll, Ontario.
The new investment will be used to turn CAMI into a flexible manufacturing facility that can produce multiple architectures and body styles.
"This is excellent news for the Canadian auto industry, workers and the community that greatly depends on this manufacturing facility," said CAW National President Ken Lewenza. "New investment in infrastructure is difficult to obtain in today's economic climate. This success can be directly attributed to the quality work of CAW members at CAMI."
The expansion and transformation of the current body shop, as well as new tooling is needed to support a future new product program, according to General Motors.
"Investment in infrastructure will mean greater job security for those working at the facility and the thousands of other workers whose livelihoods depend on it," said CAW Local 88 President Dan Borthwick, representing workers at the CAMI facility.
The CAW also kicked off negotiations with General Motors for a new contract at CAMI on March 11.
Talks are taking place months ahead of a contract expiry between the union and the company, after members voted in favour of the move at a meeting held on February 10, 2013.
Negotiators are working toward an advanced internal deadline of March 24 to get a deal done.
CAW Local 88 represents 2500 production and skilled trades workers at the CAMI facility, producing the Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles.
New Canadian Union Will Be a Voice For Working Women
CAW Local 2458 members working at the union's Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario donated $2,000 to Women's House, an area women's shelter serving Bruce and Grey County. The cheque presentation (seen here) was one of 50 events that took place across the country, in coordination with International Women's Day. The CAW contributed $100,000 as part of a nation-wide program to help fund community women's shelters. Photo by Gail Fairchild, CAW Local 2458
The new Canadian union being created by the CAW and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP) will be a force for working women and represent more than 80,000 women in several key sectors of the national economy, reads a joint statement issued by the unions for International Women's Day. The fight for women's equality will continue to be an important struggle in the new formation.
"We know that women are most affected by tough economic times, high unemployment and a rocky economy," said CAW Women's Director Julie White. "That's why part of our job as women in trade unions is to organize and use our collective strength to engage as many women as possible."
The unions marked International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8 by acknowledging the role of the new union as a strong mobilizing force for Canadian women and a source of support in the fight to improve their own lives and those of future generations. The new union has committed to ensure a mandatory threshold of women sitting on National and regional councils.
"Trade union women have always played an important role in the fight for better conditions for women everywhere and we mark this year's International Women's Day by renewing our commitment to that fight,"said Jen Britton, the Chair of CEP's National Women's Committee.
Fight Racism - March 21
Each year, the CAW recognizes March 21 - the International Day for the Elimination of Racism. It was on this day in 1960, that over 200 peaceful protestors were hurt or killed in Sharpeville, South Africa while demonstrating against the Apartheid regime's segregation policies. The tragic event serves as a constant reminder of the brutal and hateful consequences of racism in our world.
The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to CAW local union executives, by national president Ken Lewenza, condemning federal private member's Bill C-304 (amending the Canada Human Rights Act) and urging greater public attention to the matter:
"There has certainly been progress in the last number of years (to combat racism) but that progress has been limited and there have been serious setbacks as well.
People of colour in Canada are three times more likely to be poor than other Canadians because of imbalances in access to education, barriers to employment and low wages. Aboriginal people experience persistent health and income inequities - conditions made worse by racism and discrimination. As union members, we have the responsibility to speak out, take a stand, and fight for equality and combat racism in all its forms.
A Conservative private member's bill (Bill C-304), currently under review in the Senate, aims to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. Section 13 bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone. If passed, this new law would remove hate speech from the Canadian Human Rights Act which means human rights commissions will not have the authority to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down.
We must remain vigilant in our condemnation of racial discrimination and hate. Bill C-304 is a controversial piece of legislation that deserves far more attention than it has been given. It flies in the face of what March 21 stands for."
To read a full copy of the letter, visit: www.caw.ca/march21.
CAW Recognized for Environmental Efforts
On February 20, the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA) presented the CAW with an award of recognition for its work promoting environmental justice in Canada. The award was presented to CAW Human Rights Director Vinay Sharma (left) by Neethan Shan, Executive Director of CASSA during the Council's Concert for Social Justice. The award recognizes the union's leadership as well as ongoing advocacy and member education efforts around good, sustainable job creation. The CASSA event was held in conjunction with the United Nations World Day for Social Justice. For more information on CASSA, visit: www.cassaonline.com
CAW Prepares for Negotiations with BrinksCAW leadership from across Ontario representing over 1,000 Brinks workers met in Toronto March 7-10 to prepare bargaining demands. The meeting followed local union members adopting proposals for the upcoming negotiations set to commence on April 9.
This is the CAW's second round of contract talks with armoured car transportation company Brinks Canada since the workers left their former union to join the CAW in October 2010, said CAW National Representative Mike Armstrong. "Like every round of negotiations in our union, we expect Brinks to be no different in terms of their tough approach to bargaining. Our leadership across Ontario is ready for the challenge."
"Together, with the leadership of the other local unions in the province and with the support of our national union, our members expect us to make progress at the bargaining table," said CAW Local 112 President Roland Kiehne, representing more than 500 Brinks workers in Barrie and Toronto. "I am confident that after all the hard work of the branch leadership this past weekend, we are collectively determined in our resolve to make gains on behalf of our members and their families."
CAW President Ken Lewenza dropped in on the discussions to express the importance of the armored car sector to the union.
Brinks workers in Ontario are represented by Locals 27, 103, 112, 195, 229, 504, 598, 599, 1120, 1524. The CAW also represents Brinks workers in Local 4266 Ottawa and Local 114 in B.C.
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