CAW Condemns South Korean Government's Anti-union Stance
After the tough stance by some Korean unions, the South Korean government has stepped back from earlier plans to immediately impose new anti-union laws.
Prior to the Korean government's move on January 21, CAW president Buzz Hargrove sent the Korean president a letter condemning the anti-union and anti-democratic legislation originally adopted by the South Korean government in secret session on Dec. 26, 1996.
Hargrove said the government's actions were in clear violation of Korea's international commitments and its failure to implement trade union rights flew in the face of Korea's undertakings on joining the OECD.
"We demand an immediate withdrawal of this legislation and a cessation of efforts to arrest union leaders," Hargrove stated in a Jan. 15 letter.
In a separate letter to Kwon Young-Kil, president of the Confederation of Korean Trade Unions, Hargrove outlined the CAW's full support of the earlier general strike against the drastic changes to Korea's labour and security legislation.
Hargrove also told Prime Minister Jean Chretien he was gravely concerned with the situation that had developed in South Korea.
In a January 15 letter Hargrove told the Prime Minister he was very concerned with Chretien's response to the troubling labour situation that had developed in South Korea. "You refuse to condemn these anti-democratic measures and suggest this is an `internal' matter. Globalization affects every worker and Canada should be promoting respect for international labour rights and standards."
Hargrove called on Chretien to condemn the actions of the South Korean government, use dialogue to resolve the situation, and urged the South Korean government to live up to its commitments on joining the OECD and bring its trade union laws in line with ILO norms.
CAW Takes Part In Newspaper Union Council
Newspaper workers across Canada must work together to protect more than their own rights and freedoms - at stake is democracy in Canada.
Gail Robertson, CAW Local 240 Windsor Star unit chairperson, said that was the message at the newly formed Inter-Union Newspaper Council at a conference in Ottawa Jan. 17-19. Approximately 70 representatives from CAW, CEP, GCIU and TNG Canada/CWA attended the council.
CAW Local 240 represents 200 newspaper workers at the Windsor Star.
"This type of council is important to newspaper workers and readers as we face growing concentration of ownership," said Robertson.
Keynote speaker Maude Barlow kicked off the three-day event with updates from her work with the Council of Canadians and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom.
From coast to coast newspaper reporters, advertising sales staff, clerks, circulation staff and press workers joined together to find ways to combat increasing corporate concentration and the Conrad Black takeovers of workplaces.
Jim Winter, communications professor at the University of Windsor and author of the recently published "Democracy's Oxygen - How Corporations Control the News" provided everyone with a detailed look at how much control one man, Conrad Black, has over much of what we read in the media.
Next, a panel of frontline workers gave evidence to back up Winter's points that Black has a stranglehold not only on his own staff, but workers everywhere.
Workshops addressed strategies for co-operation in collective bargaining, dealing with jurisdiction and technological change and better communication among newspaper workers and joint councils.
Top Bank Executives Rake In Pay
Despite recent complaints from top bank officials that there is too much bank bashing going on in Canada, the facts are clear.
Top executives of Canada's major banks continue to bring in whopping salaries. In fact the average chief executive officer of one of Canada's top banks makes as much in three days as the average bank employee makes in a year.
The Bank of Nova Scotia's top executive Peter Godsoe, for example, was paid $2.86 million in 1996. That comes out to the same as $11,000 for each working day.
By comparison, the average annual salary of all bank workers (including CEO's - which increases the total substantially) is $32,412.
The Bank of Nova Scotia CEO was one of the lower paid among CEO's of Canada's top banks.
Tribute To Charlie Brooks
It was 20 years ago that CAW Local 444 tragically lost its founding president Charlie Brooks, whose vision of social unionism is still being aggressively pursued by the CAW today.
Charles Brooks was killed on January 17, 1977.
But Charlie Brooks years of work within the CAW continues to help pull us toward a better future. He would be extremely proud of the accomplishments our union has made in the last two decades through collective bargaining.
Charlie Brooks was a tremendous leader who believed in leading by example. He inspired the union to be more accountable to the communities in which we work and live. He also strongly believed in publicly funded social programs such as health care, education, affordable housing, income support plans, and a whole host of other issues designed to improve the quality of life for everyone.
It was 40 years ago that Charlie Brooks, along with others laid the groundwork and the CAW is continuing to build on this strong foundation. Charlie may be gone, but his vision and leadership continue to provide inspiration and a clear path into the future for the CAW.
CAW president Buzz Hargrove said it's important to recall Charlie Brooks' lasting contribution to our union. "His unwavering commitment, strength and leadership remain an example for local activists and union leadership," Hargrove said.
CAW Local 444 in conjunction with the Windsor Arts Council will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Charlie Brooks death with a play that chronicles his life. The first production of the new play will occur at the next meeting of CAW council in Port Elgin in April.
Another Tory Attack On Worker Rights In Ontario
The Mike Harris Conservatives in Ontario are proposing to rollback worker rights including a plan to lengthen the work week with the legalization of a 50-hour work week as part of its so-called Red Tape Review Commission.
As well as increasing the weekly hours of work the Harris Conservatives want to chop environmental protections, gut pay equity, drop recycling regulations and block complaints by victims of human rights abuses - all under the guise of cutting red tape.
But in the 1996 round of bargaining at The Big Three the CAW negotiated protection from Harris government rollbacks to employment standards laws including increasing the maximum number of hours of work per week.
The employment standards law which existed before the election of the Harris government was locked into contract language at The Big Three covering everything from lunch periods to severance and termination rights. The contracts also enshrined our members right to refuse unsafe work.
Similar protections have been negotiated at a growing number of other plants in Ontario.
A committee of 11 Conservative MPPs proposed last week that the work week be lengthened to 50 hours or 200 hours of work over a four-week period, from 48 hours a week.
Bad Boss Busters Come To Kingston
The first in a series of public meetings that focus on the Harris government's plans to rewrite employment standards is scheduled for Tuesday, February 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul's Church in Kingston. (The church is located at Montreal Street and Queen Street).
The meeting is part of the Employment Standards Work Group and OFL sponsored Bad Boss Busters forums. The meetings are open to the public and those with bad boss stories are encouraged to attend.
Watch Contact for future meeting dates and locations of the Bad Boss Buster series.
CAW Environment Committee Blasts Hardeman No-show
The CAW's South-Central Ontario Environment Committee can't get local Tory MPP
Ernie Hardeman to show up for a public debate on his government's environment policy.
Beginning in November representatives of Local 636's environment committee began asking Hardeman to attend a January debate on sweeping changes proposed to environmental regulations in Ontario. After several requests from the committee, Hardeman finally said no on December 18. Hardeman is the MPP for Oxford.
Organizers had confirmed attendance by NDP and Liberal party representatives as well as CAW, environmental and community leaders. The only holdouts were Hardeman and a business representative, "surely this must indicate to the people of this province the agenda of the Harris government is to uphold the rights of the privileged and their corporate friends," said Doug Steele, local environment committee chairperson.
Members of the CAW environment committee got so fed up with Hardeman's no show they decided to hold a press conference to outline their concerns. It has become an issue in the local press, which is also asking questions about Hardeman's refusal to attend. The Woodstock meeting which was cancelled is part of a larger provincial environmental fightback.
Local 636 is one of several CAW locals that have joined together to form the CAW's South-Central Ontario Environment Committee. They are participating in a CAW environmental fightback campaign in Ontario called Environmental De-regulation: A Recipe for Cancer.
The OFL is holding a one-day symposium on Labour Arts, Heritage and Media in Ontario on Saturday, March 1, 1997 at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton, Ontario. The symposium will feature discussion of the role of labour and community arts, the concerns of professional artists in the labour movement, issues in the cultural industries unions, as well as look at recent arts and heritage initiatives and discuss future activities.
The conference fee is $100 and is payable to the OFL Arts and Heritage Symposium. It must be received before February 14, 1997.
Registration forms and additional information can be obtained by calling Sylvia Stewart at (416) 443-7674 or toll free at 1-800-668-9138.