July 12, 2013
Volume 43, No. 26
CAW Ratifies New Agreement with Loomis Express
CAW members have ratified new 4-year collective bargaining agreements with Loomis Express, following a series of membership ratification meetings held over two weeks.
The new agreements include improved rules governing severance payments in the event of layoff as well as new provisions that protect workers should the employer attempt to contract out work. The deal also includes wage increases of 2.5 per cent across all pay classifications in the fourth year of the contract in addition to a $200 lump sum payment in the third year.
Bob Orr, Assistant to CAW National President Ken Lewenza said contract talks happened against the backdrop of major company restructuring across the country, causing feelings of uncertainty and insecurity among Loomis employees.
"The employer used this restructuring program as an opportunity to table major concessions, including wage cuts, that our bargaining committee simply could not accept," Orr said. "We bargained a no-concessions agreement with modest wage gains and other contract improvements. This is certainly a victory in challenging times."
Orr said this new deal should help provide some necessary stability and certainty for both the company and the workers during the restructuring period.
The union represents 1800 Loomis Express workers across Canada, including drivers that perform pick-up and delivery services, owner-operators, warehouse workers as well as customer service and clerical workers. Loomis workers are represented by CAW Local 4005 in Nova Scotia, Local 4457 in Ontario, Local 755 in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Local 4050 in Alberta and Local 114 in British Columbia.
The following is a breakdown of the ratification results: Nova Scotia (95%), Ontario (89%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (65%), Alberta (84%) and British Columbia (89%).
Coke Pushes Precarious Work on Canadian Workers
CAW National President Ken Lewenza joins Local 973 picketers outside the Coca-Cola Brampton bottling facility on July 2.
Workers at the Coca-Cola bottling facility in Brampton, Ontario were forced into a labour dispute on June 27, after collective bargaining negotiations broke down between the company and the CAW. Pickets were set up near the facility at 12:01 a.m.
CAW Local 973 Plant Chairperson Ryan Parson said the labour dispute is an unfortunate and frustrating turn of events, in what has been an unnecessarily difficult round of bargaining.
"Our members came to the bargaining table looking for modest improvements to our standard of living and work practices, and with every intention of signing a deal," Parson said. "Coke management has clearly not come to the table with those same objectives. They've consistently stalled the process and have made it clear to us that it's their way or the highway."
Parson said the company refuses to back off a slate of concessionary demands that would create more instability and insecurity for Coke workers in Brampton.
The company wants to remove all new hires from the existing pension plan; make it impossible for "temporary" employees to transfer to full-time; outsource skilled trades work; and weaken employee transfer rights in the event of layoff, among other demands.
CAW Local 973 President Norm Chow said this dispute has nothing to do with money, since the two sides have not exchanged any monetary proposals (including over wages, benefits or pensions) over months of fruitless bargaining.
"Coke's global profits topped $9 billion in 2012. Their revenues are higher than the GDP of many nations. And yet they're fighting to undermine the working conditions of 700 workers. This is infuriating," Chow said.
Parson said the company is taking a noticeably combative approach with the workers, which is fuelling frustration.
For more information, visit www.caw.ca/coke
First Agreement with Calm Air International
A new three-year deal has been ratified by CAW Local 2245 members working at the Calm Air System Operations Communication Centre (SOCC) and Calm Air International in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The new agreement includes wage increases of approximately two per cent for each year of the agreement, as well as cost of living improvements and a new training allowance. The agreement also introduces important new language around scheduling, overtime, hours of work and job security, specifically in the areas of lay-off and contracting out.
"This is a great first agreement for us" said bargaining unit co-chair Mary Boudreau. "We have secured language on some of our favorable past practises and can also now rely on many of the new provisions and protections of a collective agreement."
"This agreement provides us with stability and security for the future as Calm Air International is in a period of expansion and growth," said bargaining unit co-chair Jordan Richards. "The new agreement includes a new sick leave program, provision for leaves of absences, and member representation in operational matters."
Members voted unanimously in favour of the new agreement at a meeting on June 28.
"Negotiations with Calm Air went well, " said Derek Yakielashek, Bargaining Representative for Local 2245. "Both sides were committed to see this endeavor completed to the satisfaction of all parties involved. I believe that this is a good first step in the relationship between the CAW and Calm Air."
The CAW represents 15 dispatchers and flight coordinators at Calm Air, who joined the union in 2012.
Joint call for Improved Staffing in Long-Term Care Homes
The CAW has joined in a coalition of unions, long-term care advocates, academics and for-profit care providers, in calling on the Ontario government to increase staffing levels at long-term care homes across the province.
In its first action the coalition, called Staffing Alliance for Every Resident (SAFER), sent a joint letter on June 24 to Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews, requesting a meeting to discuss the current chronic under-staffing of long-term care homes.
"Many sources now indicate that the number of people living in long-term care who experience some form of mental health illness or dementia is approximately fifty per cent," the letter states. "Our current staffing levels have not kept pace with this increasing complexity and are not keeping residents and staff safe."
The letter, co-signed by the Ontario Personal Support Worker Association the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Extendicare Canada, and others, also recommends the government adopt staffing levels in line with an evidence-based minimum, measurable and enforceable standard, a campaign demand long sought out by the CAW, said Health Care Director Katha Fortier.
"In our view, a minimum, measurable and enforceable staffing standard is the floor for our ongoing campaign efforts," Fortier said. "We're very encouraged to see so many different stakeholders join in this call, including nursing home operators who have in the past fiercely resisted any move to impose measurable standards."
"This joint letter provides an important lift to our ongoing campaign efforts," said Deb Tveit, Assistant to the CAW National President. "Now we need the provincial government to step up to the plate and institute these long-overdue staffing improvements."
The CAW represents more than 26,000 health care workers across Canada.
Viola Pilkey Receives Oshawa Community Legends Award
Sister Viola Pilkey receives the Oshawa Community Legends Award from Oshawa Mayor John Henry on June 24.
The City of Oshawa recognized former CAW Local 222 Family Auxiliary President Viola Pilkey for her lifetime of volunteer work and community activism by awarding her the 2012 Oshawa Community Legends Award at a ceremony on June 24.
The award is given to those who have made a "significant contribution in an activity, sport or community initiative; contributed to improving the quality of life of the Oshawa community and/or have made an impact on the Oshawa community at a grassroots level."
Pilkey, who turns 89 years old on August 2, is the first female recipient of this prestigious award. Her volunteer work spans nearly six decades in the community of Oshawa, including with the local Meals on Wheels program, Oshawa Community Chest (later to become the United Way), and the Autoworkers Community Credit Union, where she was the first woman to sit on the board, among other initiatives.
"It is wonderful to see such a devoted trade unionist and social activist recognized by the City of Oshawa" said CAW Local 222 President Ron Svajlenko.
"Viola's stories of the early days of union organizing and the fight to get political respect for workers' candidates are inspiring. Our local and our entire community offer thanks to Sister Pilkey for her years of commitment to working Canadians."
Pilkey's late husband Cliff is the former president of CAW Local 222, former President of the Ontario Federation of Labour and a former Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario.
Take a Stand for Medicare: Renew the Health Accord
In 2014, the 10-year Health Accord that sets the terms for health care funding and priorities between the federal and provincial governments will expire. To date, the federal government has refused to renegotiate a new Health Accord.
In July all the provincial and territorial premiers from across Canada are getting together in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the last "Council of the Federation" meeting before the Accord expires.
A Shadow Summit and Mass Rally are being organized to coincide with the Council of the Federation meetings on Wednesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 25.
National President Ken Lewenza will be speaking at the rally and many locals from across Ontario are organizing busses to attend.
For more information on the event, how to register a bus, and for event posters visit: http://web.net/~ohc/
To find out about CAW buses or for more information on the CAW's involvement, contact Director of Health Care Katha Fortier at: email@example.com
Stronger Regulation Needed in Armoured Car Sector
The CAW is launching a new, national campaign aimed at enhancing public safety, and the safety of workers, through better industry regulation of Canada's armoured car industry.
The union, representing 2000 armoured car workers in Ontario and British Columbia, has released a new policy paper (entitled "Armed and Safe") as well as a petition calling on federal lawmakers to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework that establishes minimum standards in employee training, vehicle specifications, crew compliments and safety equipment requirements.
The movement of cash and other valuables is inherently dangerous and prone to criminal acts, making it especially risky for a growing number of Canadian workers, said Bob Orr, Assistant to the CAW National President.
"Without a strong regulatory framework that minimizes risk to the public and to workers, companies are more inclined to undermine safety standards in an effort to cut costs," Orr said. "We see it happening today under our current patchwork of federal and provincial rules, and it's destined to get worse unless something is done."
The tragic deaths of three armoured car workers in Edmonton on June 15, 2012 underscore the risks. Industry estimates indicate that since 2000 there have been more than 70 attacks on armoured cars in Canada.
The secure logistics (or "armoured car") industry is a lucrative global business worth about $14 billion. It is dominated by five multinational firms (including Brink's, G4S, Preosegur, Loomis and Garda), many of whom have operations in Canada.
The United States, Australia and European Union member states (including France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Finland) all have advanced regulations dealing with their respective armoured car industries.
To read the CAW policy brief and to download the petition, visit: www.caw.ca/armedandsafe.
Rethinking Child Care - Windsor Kitchen Table Conversations
Workers in Windsor came together on June 6 to discuss the ill effects of Canada's inadequate child care system on struggling working class families.
CAW members representing locals 444, 200 and 240 took part in a "kitchen table conversation," sharing experiences juggling work that is increasingly precarious along with family responsibilities. This event was part of a national campaign to 'rethink' child care in Canada.
"For most workers in Canada, the child care model simply isn't working," said CAW Local 200 member Tracey Ramsey who also helped coordinate the event.
Parents in Windsor have been hit hard by a number of city-run child care centre closures, as well as the recent closure of the CAW's own child care facility, Ramsey said.
"Without access to affordable and safe child care options, families are worse for wear. Many simply can't afford the extraordinary cost of daycare and a lot of parents have had to sacrifice their jobs as a result," said Ramsey.
This event was part of a national campaign being spearheaded by labour unions (including the CAW) and allies under the banner Rethink Child Care. The campaign aims to raise public awareness on the need for major child care reforms in Canada, in the hopes of making it a key federal election issue in 2015.
Communities across the country are encouraged to run kitchen table conversations as the first phase in this multi-faceted campaign, said CAW Women's Program Director Julie White.
"It's important that we start these conversations in our homes, our neighbourhoods and in our communities," White said. "Canadians have to realize that lack of access to quality, affordable child care is the product of poor political decisions. We can demand better, if we start to speak out."
Many participants at the Windsor event criticized the Harper government's decision to pull the plug on a national child care strategy - Harper's first act as Prime Minister. In place of a national child care program the government opted to subsidize families $100 per month for child care expenses - an ineffective, wasteful program that does nothing to improve access to childcare, White said.
CAW members are encouraged to hold a kitchen table conversation of their own. Hosting guides and other useful information are available at http://www.rethinkchildcare.ca/
For more information contact Julie White at firstname.lastname@example.org
CAW-rabble.ca Internship Apply Today
In partnership with the CAW, rabble.ca has announced its second annual Labour Beat Co-op Placement.
The placement will provide the successful candidate with unique opportunities to develop a grounding for reporting on national labour issues. The internship will involve access to meetings, conferences, media briefings and interviews with leaders in the labour movement, and may include shadowing rabble's Parliament Hill reporter to committees and scrums.
The internship also comes at an exciting time in the labour movement's history, as the CAW and CEP will be forming Unifor over the Labour Day weekend. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to report on this historic convention, taking place in Toronto on August 30-September 1.
In addition, the successful candidate will become familiar with some of the daily tasks involved in producing a daily national news site. The successful candidate will work one-on-one with rabble's editors, and will have opportunities to participate in the production of multi-media storytelling.
This is a paid internship co-sponsored by the CAW.
The deadline to apply is July 23, 2013.
For more information about the position and to learn how to apply, visit: www.caw.ca/en/12203.htm
CAW Supports ACORN's Second National Convention
The CAW was proud to support ACORN's second National Convention in June where over 150 activists from across the country gathered.
Delegates participated in workshops and also launched the Digital Access to Opportunity campaign and took part in a petition Day of Action to spread the word about the campaign to raise Ontario's minimum wage to $14/hour.
For more information about ACORN visit: www.acorncanada.org/