May 24, 2013
Volume 43, No. 20
We're About to Launch!
The CAW and CEP are getting ready to combine forces and launch the name and logo of the new union. This will take place in Toronto on May 30 at 11 a.m. ET. Are you ready?
The event will be livestreamed at: www.newunionconvention.ca
Sign up for updates and to download graphics to share on social media at: http://www.newunionproject.ca/were-about-to-launch/
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
The following is an excerpt of the CAW statement marking the 2013 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia:
The CAW is proud of our contributions to the progress we have made on LGBT issues in Canada and we re-confirm our commitment to fighting all forms of discrimination. The responsibility lies with each of us to create positive space and challenge homophobia and transphobia, and other forms of discrimination such as racism, sexism, ableism, and classism whenever we can.
We can support co-workers who face homophobia or transphobia on the job. We can and should challenge bullies. We should all make attempts to attend upcoming pride events, anti-violence rallies and show our communities that we stand up for the rights of our members and everyone within the broader community. We can demand that the rights we have won in Canada be extended to other countries and call on the government to voice their opposition to the criminalization of homosexuality.
Therefore on May 17th the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, the CAW stands in solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities to continue the fight against homophobia and transphobia in our workplaces, communities and around the world.
You can read the full statement at: http://www.caw.ca/assets/pdf/transphobia_and_homophobia_statement_May_17_2013.pdf
CAW Reaches New Deal for Workers at Trench Electric
A new three-year deal reached between Trench Electric and the CAW includes important gains for members. CAW Local 303 represents 178 workers making transformers at the plant in Scarborough, Ontario.
The new agreement includes wage increases of 2 per cent for each year of the agreement, a signing bonus of $800 for all current employees, improvements to vision and dental care as well as provisions for safety shoes. The agreement also introduces specific skilled trades contract language and benefits for electricians and millwrights.
The biggest success, however, was the union's ability to stop the company's attempt to replace the defined pension plan for all new hires with an RRSP plan, said CAW Local 303 President Anand Boodhai.
"With this agreement, we have not only made significant improvements in wages and benefits for our existing members, but also secured pensions for future workers at the plant," Boodhai said.
Members voted 82 per cent in approval of the new agreement at a meeting on May 7.
Expansion at Hitachi Plant in Guelph
The Hitachi truck plant in Guelph, Ontario has completed an expansion that had the plant under construction for the past year. The expansion doubles the size of the plant and will lead to hundreds of new jobs in the coming years.
Hitachi builds some of the biggest mining trucks in the world and plans to continue to increase production at the Guelph plant.
CAW Local 1917, which represents 232 of the workers in the plant, welcomes this expansion.
"This expansion is exciting for members of CAW Local 1917 and the community of Guelph," said Robin Dudley, president of Local 1917. "This will mean more good jobs in our community. It is important to see a company investing in Canada's manufacturing industry when other companies are looking to ship jobs overseas".
Dudley also emphasized the need for Canadian content regulations to support the manufacturing industry. Expansions like the one Hitachi is undergoing could occur across the industry if companies were encouraged or required to source Canadian machinery, he said.
Flex-N-Gate Workers Ratify New Contract
Flex-N-Gate workers in Windsor, Ontario ratified a three year collective agreement on May 16. CAW Local 195 represents the 120 workers at the plant who make frame rails for Chrysler's Windsor Assembly plant.
Four years ago, when the auto industry faced a near collapse, workers at many parts facilities accepted cutbacks in order to keep plants afloat.
"With the industry fairing much better today, members are looking to regain some of what was lost during the recession through collective bargaining," said Gerry Farnham, CAW Local 195 president. "While we weren't able to win back everything lost during the recession, this agreement is a step in the right direction and puts us in an even better position for the next round of bargaining".
Highlights of the agreement include: the reinstatement of two paid personal holidays, a $1,000 signing bonus, a workplace commitment letter for the duration of the agreement, improvements to benefits, an increase to the defined contribution pension plan to three per cent, and a wage increase of $1.20 per hour over the life of the agreement.
Members voted 60 per cent in favour of the new agreement.
CAW Celebrates Asian Heritage Month
The CAW joins with people of Asian heritage and other Canadians to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.
Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on how cultural diversity
strengthens our nation, and to celebrate the diverse cultures and contributions Asian Canadians bring to our communities, from coast-to-coast.
In Ontario, the CAW is joining with the Ontario Federation of Labour and Ontario Common Front (a coalition of over 90 community groups and labour unions) on June 1 for the South Asian Community Activism awards gala. The event is taking place at the Sagan Banquet Hall in Brampton. Tickets are available through www.weareontario.ca/index.php/south-asian-awards-2013.
We hope all CAW members take the opportunity to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in through their local unions and in their communities. If you have an event planned, please let us know. Send your stories and photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll share them in an upcoming issue of Contact. You can read the CAW's full statement at: http://www.caw.ca/en/12129.htm
Lewenza Honoured by Windsor Regional Hospital
On May 22, Windsor Regional Hospital honoured CAW President Ken Lewenza for his contribution to the Windsor community. The hospital renamed a lobby after Lewenza, former President of Windsor's CAW Local 444, at the Tayfour Regional Rehabilitation Centre's Tower Building. Fundraising by Local 444 and the CAW National Union raised $75,000 for the Centre. During the unveiling ceremony, Lewenza issued a challenge to the provincial and federal governments to put up the necessary funds, and be stronger advocates, for mental health care improvements. Lewenza was joined by friends, family and community well-wishers at the event.
Call for Submissions: Welland Canal Workers' Historical Exhibit
During the building of the Welland Canal from 1914-1932, 124 men tragically lost their lives while working in difficult and dangerous conditions. When the canal opened in 1932, the Federal Minister of Canals and Railways committed to building a memorial to remember the sacrifice of those men. Unfortunately to this day, that memorial still does not exist.
Malcolm Allen, MP for Welland and member of CAW Local 199, is organizing an exhibit to promote the need for a permanent memorial. His office is looking for photographs, letters, artifacts or historical pieces relating to the Canal workers to be a part of the exhibit. Items loaned by community members and organizations will be displayed in the constituency office in Welland for the month of June.
For more information, please contact Lisa Bastien at 905-788-2204.