Unifor urges the Federal Cabinet to #SaveLocalNews
OTTAWA, Oct. 25, 2018 /CNW/ – The union representing 12,000 Canadian journalists and media workers is urging members of the federal cabinet to implement key policy recommendations from the 2017 Commons Heritage report on local news in the upcoming federal budget.
“We are looking for cabinet members to champion local news in the next budget,” said National President Jerry Dias. “The most effective way to counteract bots, trolls, and fake news is professional news reporting. We can’t have our election politics tampered with.”
Unifor says the Liberal cabinet should prioritize Income Tax measures that favour Canadian media over American rivals, as well as allowing tax deductible donations to support hard news reporting by professional news organizations. The federal government should increase the budget for the Canadian Periodical Fund, and make daily newspapers eligible for the fund.
Unifor representatives spent the last three days meeting with 85 Members of Parliament from four major political parties, discussing the findings of the Commons Heritage Report which documented how the outflow of digital advertising dollars to Silicon Valley has starved Canadian media of revenues needed to fund local news.
Ford government sides with business lobby over working people with “Making Ontario Open for Business Act”
TORONTO, Oct. 23, 2018 /CNW/ – Unifor condemns the provincial government’s plan to claw back workers’ rights and protections.
“Fair scheduling, equal pay for equal work, paid sick days. These rights are not frivolous – they are practical, minimum standard for fairness. Standards that help grow good jobs and keep workers safe,” Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This Act is a direct attack on millions of workers, backed up by an imaginary crisis.”
The proposed legislation caves to demands by big business, including eliminating protection for part-time and temporary workers to be paid fairly, cancelling the promised increase to $15 an hour minimum wage, slashing paid leave for workers who experience illness and crisis.
Union ready to fight too-restrictive workplace rules on cannabis
As workplaces across Canada scramble to create rules to deal with legalized cannabis, labour experts are predicting there will be plenty of push back, including legal challenges.
Canada will become the second country to legalize recreation cannabis on Wednesday, prompting public- and private sector companies to modify existing substance-use policies or draft new ones.
In response, the country’s largest private-sector union, which represents thousands of workers in Southwestern Ontario, already has filed several grievances and is gearing up to take employers to court.
“We’re seeing zero-tolerance policies, but it’s not just zero-tolerance for impairment, it’s zero-tolerance for use,” said Niki Lundquist, a lawyer for Unifor, a union representing 315,000 workers across Canada.
“It’s as though an employer suddenly thinks it has the right to police off-duty conduct.”
A leading labour lawyer says the rules governing what employees can do during work hours are straight forward, but the issue gets trickier when it comes to mandating what workers do in their own time.
Unifor is supporting Oxfam and Save the Children’s disaster relief efforts in Indonesia with a combined $70,000 donation.
“The scale of the damage from the earthquake and tsunami is massive,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Save the Children Canada and Oxfam Canada are working with their Indonesian partners to provide vital aid, alleviate suffering and prevent further loss of life from spread of disease.”
On September 28, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s Sulawesi region, triggering a powerful tsunami. More than 2,000 have been killed, with the death toll expected to climb, as an estimated 5,000 people remain missing, feared buried or swept away.
While the Indonesian government has blocked access to some foreign aid, both Oxfam and Save the Children have deployed relief staff to the hardest hit areas. The Unifor Social Justice Fund has donated $35,000 each to Oxfam Canada and Save the Children Canada to provide medical care, shelter, food and clean water to the tens of thousands displaced by the devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Statement on the Day of Remembrance and Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
On October 4, Unifor asks it members and allies to stand in solidarity with Indigenous families and communities to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls whose lives have been cut short by violence. Countless families and communities have been devastated by this national tragedy.
Auto leaflet Jerry standalone
Over the past year, Canada, the United States and Mexico undertook a process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NAFTA). Since 1994, NAFTA has proven to be a bad trade deal for working people, especially for autoworkers. Fixing NAFTA’s rules – imagining different models and outcomes for trade – has been a longstanding desire of our union. Unifor approached this renegotiation as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expose the problems with NAFTA and similar bad trade deals. We also approached this renegotiation by putting forward new ideas and trade provisions designed to help – not hurt – workers and communities.
Canada, U.S. have reached a NAFTA deal — now called the USMCA
Canada and the U.S. have announced a tentative new trilateral trade deal with Mexico that includes some key concessions on issues of import to both countries — and also a reworked name: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a joint statement released late Sunday.
Today in Washington, National President Jerry Dias recorded a video message asking Scheer what he is prepared to sacrifice in order to appease the U.S. as he called for political unity on the trade front.
Please help to get this important message out by sharing and liking this video on social media.
September 20, 2018
— Jerry Dias (@JerryPDias) September 19, 2018
Unifor warns CPTPP legislation hurts NAFTA trade position
September 17, 2018
TORONTO, Sept. 17, 2018 /CNW/ – Unifor warns that rushed debate on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) legislation hurts Canada’s trade position at a crucial point in NAFTA negotiations.
“The CPTPP includes loose cultural protection, an expansion of foreign imports in supply-managed industries as well as weak and unenforceable labour standards – key issues that Canada is fighting for at the NAFTA negotiating table,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “How do we tell the U.S. and Mexico that we won’t surrender Canadian markets, reduce labour standards and open ourselves up to massive job loss when that is exactly what we are in the process of doing with ten other nations?”
Unifor urges long term care panel to consult workers and unions
September 7, 2018
TUnifor welcomes the establishment of an expert advisory panel on Nova Scotia’s long-term care system.
“The system is under-funded. Workers, most of whom are women, earn low to modest wages. The funding cuts by the McNeil government have made it harder for a system that was already challenged to deliver high quality care,” said Lana Payne, Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director.
“Workers are stressed to the max, working short staffed, and worried about their patients and residents, most of whom are seniors.”
The panel was announced today by Health Minister Randy Delorey.
Unifor which represents about 2,000 workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the province has been voicing its concerns about the impact of cuts to nursing home budgets for some time. It was one of the union’s key issues during last spring’s provincial election.
Unifor urges Ottawa to move quickly to modernize labour standards
August 31, 2018
The federal government’s plans to modernize labour standards in the federal jurisdiction can’t happen fast enough says Unifor, after a report on government consultations was released today.
“It is good to see that they are listening to workers and understand that labour standards created in the 1960’s do not work for today’s gig economy with far too many precarious, part-time workers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
The federal consultation report focuses on five themes, including removing eligibility requirements to maternity and other leaves, supporting work life balance, good wages and benefits, revising termination provisions, and protecting employees in non-standard and precarious employment.
Employers increasingly use temporary or part-time employees to reduce costs and enhance their flexibility which forces workers to juggle multiple jobs without benefits. Unifor’s submission to Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour addressed these concerns with several recommendations.
Unifor donation in support of the Mi’Kmaw Friendship Centre
August 23, 2018
Unifor donated $80,000 to the Mi’Kmaw Friendship Centre through a fundraiser and Canadian Community Fund.
The union also pledged that members who work in the skilled trades would donate their skills to help in the hard work of building a vibrant community centre.
“Unifor unites with Indigenous people in the ongoing struggle against intergenerational violence and colonialism,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Members from coast to coast to coast came together in this fundraiser to support the life-altering work of the Mi’Kmaw Friendship Centre.”
The fundraiser last night was part of Unifor’s ongoing support of truth and reconciliation as members from across the country gathered in Halifax for the union’s annual Canadian Council this weekend at the Convention Centre.
The Mi’Kmaw Friendship Centre serves as a focal point for the Halifax Indigenous community, providing programs that support Indigenous health, justice, employment, and education and offers a space to gather for community functions and events.
“We are committed to reconciliation at Unifor,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “The ongoing work of reconciliation challenges us to be better community members and allies, this fundraiser is part of how we do that work.”
The Canadian Community Fund is a 5 cent per work hour collective bargaining package funded by Unifor employers that also includes funding for women’s advocates who help women facing violence and paid leave for skilled trades members to participate in relief efforts, conduct repairs at local women’s shelters or other similar work.
Unifor members ready to face technological workplace changes
August 16, 2018
Members from across the country were in Halifax on August 15, 2018, to attend the Automation, New Technology and the Future of Work conference. As the world of work changes rapidly, new technologies are more frequently introduced in the workplace. Conference delegates came together to discuss, learn and develop a strategy for the future of work that puts workers first.
“In a system where profits and productivity are paramount, there will always be a desire for corporations to invest in labour-saving technology,” said Jerry Dias National President. “The Future of Work conference brought members together to craft bargaining and political action strategies to deal with automation, artificial intelligence, and the growth of the digital economy.”
More workers join Unifor
August 16, 2018
Unifor’s Organizing Department has brought more than 600 workers into the union in the past month, at workplaces in Ontario and Nova Scotia.
“In each of these five workplaces, workers have stood together and said they want to improve their workplaces and build their communities,” said Unifor Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan.
“It is an honour to welcome them to Unifor.”
The newly organized workplaces include warehousing, trucking, education and manufacturing sectors, reflecting the diversity of sectors represented by Unifor across Canada.
In all, 608 workers have joined Unifor since July 23, including warehouse workers in Woodstock, Ontario, workers at two workplaces in Peterborough, Ontario, workers at a trucking firm in Truro, Nova Scotia, and janitors and other support staff at a university.
Recognizing International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia with Action
May 17, 2018
Unifor calls to End the Ban
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, May 17, is an annual reminder that although progress that has been made, there is further to go. Unifor joins the international call for action to address the inequality that too many, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in our workplaces and communities face.
Unifor encourages all people to recognize and embrace this day, to support the ongoing struggles for inclusion, acceptance and respect of all LGBTQ people, including supporting the call to end the discriminatory blood donation policy here in Canada and Quebec.
LGBTQ all across the country and around the world are faced with legal, social, and institutional barriers. It is these barriers that isolate and divide us. And it is time tear down that barriers that we know to be discriminatory.
Soulignons la Journée internationale contre l’homophobie et la transphobie par des actions concrètes
Le 17 mai 2018
Unifor calls to End the Ban
Le 17 mai, la Journée internationale contre l’homophobie et la transphobie, nous rappelle chaque année que malgré les progrès qui ont été réalisés, nous devons aller encore plus loin. Unifor se joint à l’appel à l’action international pour régler le problème des inégalités auxquelles font face un trop grand nombre de personnes lesbiennes, gaies, bisexuelles, transgenres et queer (LGBTQ) dans nos milieux de travail et communautés.
Unifor encourage toute la population à reconnaître et à profiter de cette journée ainsi qu’à appuyer les combats persistants qui touchent toutes les personnes LGBTQ sur le plan de l’inclusion, de l’acceptation et du respect, y compris à soutenir l’appel lancé pour éliminer la politique discriminatoire sur
l’interdiction de don de sang au Canada et au Québec.
Les personnes LGBTQ de l’ensemble du pays et de partout dans le monde font face à des obstacles juridiques, sociaux et institutionnels. Ce sont ces obstacles qui nous isolent et nous divisent. Et il est temps d’écarter ces obstacles que nous savons être discriminatoires
Ontario Election 2018
May 9, 2018
Like previous federal and provincial elections, the Confederation of Canadian Unions has once again established a political education campaign, named “Raise Your Voice, Cast Your Vote,” to help its membership make informed voting choices for the Ontario Election on June 7, 2018.
The following questions have been sent to all four major parties in Ontario, including the Progressive Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party and the Green Party.
The answers from each party will be posted on the CCU website (www.ccu-csc.ca) as soon as we receive them from each party, which should happen by May 10, 2018. Stay tuned to this page to see the responses.
Unifor calls for higher Canadian content in public transportation vehicles
May 4, 2018
Unifor is calling on the Ontario government to increase Canadian content requirements in transit vehicles obtained through public procurement.
“It just makes sense to ensure that the purchase of public transport vehicles is linked to maintaining jobs here in Ontario,” said President of Unifor Local 1075 Dominic Pasqualino, representing 1,100 Bombardier workers in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “We have highly trained, dedicated people producing a good product whose jobs are at risk, while work is contracted out of the province and out of the country.”
Unifor gears up for the Ontario election
May 3, 2018
Canvassing in elections is exciting, sometimes awkward, and absolutely vital to the success of campaigns.
To kick start Unifor’s member to member campaign, twenty-four members from ridings across Ontario gathered in Toronto for two days of training. The organizers participated in sessions that offered tools and resources on how to have doorstep conversations with union members as part of the Make it Count campaign that will gear up when the writ drops next week.
Ontario government launches review of auto worker leave
April 20, 2018
The Ontario government has launched a review of personal emergency leave (PEL) regulation 502/06 for auto workers after Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and Transportation Minister Kathryn McGarry met with a Unifor led delegation of unionized and non-unionized auto workers.
“We had a frank discussion on how regulation 502/06 creates a lesser standard of personal emergency leave for auto sector workers. It is unfair and is hurting workers and their families,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Auto workers have the same need for personal emergency leave as everyone else, they incur injuries, their kids get sick and when they lose someone they need bereavement leave. The lesser standard must be fixed.”
Unifor looks to Ontario budget to address challenges
March 27, 2018
TORONTO, March 27, 2018 /CNW/ – The Ontario Liberal’s last budget before the June 2018 provincial election must address inequality and the crisis in care, says Unifor.
“Workers are looking for a provincial budget that builds off the advances that we have won in recent years and refuses to shy away from universal public programs that will build a more equitable society,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “We have lobbied for legislation that raises wages and protects the most vulnerable members of our society but we’re not done yet, and Unifor members are not ready to slow down.”
In a pre-budget submission, Unifor proposed solutions that would address Ontario’s health care crisis and improve conditions for working families including;
• Establishing a minimum standard of care in long-term-care including four hours of daily direct care,
• Restoring hospital funding with a multi-year increase of five per cent per year,
• Widening access to pharmaceuticals through a universal pharmacare program, and
• Ensuring that families have access to public child care and that no one is turned away because of cost.
Unifor also asks that the provincial government step up and act to address inequality and make gender equity a priority. The gender wage gap currently sits at approximately 30 per cent and is much higher for racialized and Indigenous women.
Unifor Reassures Members About Split With Labour Congress
January 30, 2017
The member of Unifor’s executive board which voted in favour of splitting with the Canadian Labour Congress says members do not need to be concerned.
Dave Cassidy, who is the national chair of the committee on skilled trades and the secretary-treasurer of Unifor Local 444 in Windsor, says the dispute is over the rights of workers to choose which union will represent them.
He says the issue goes back to a move by the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 to transfer members to Unifor. The ATU Local 113 represents transit workers in Toronto. The ATU fired Bob Kinnear saying he had violated his oath of office. It characterized the move as “underhanded” and “secretive”.
Under Article 4 of the Canadian Labour Congress’s constitution the issue should have gone for a review, but instead, the union was placed in trusteeship.
Canada, 10 Pacific-region nations, finalize sweeping trade pact
January 30, 2017
OTTAWA—Canada has joined 10 other Pacific region countries in a sweeping new trade deal, one that Ottawa touts as a progressive step forward but critics warn puts the country’s auto sector at risk.
The revised Trans-Pacific trade deal, called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, was finalized in Japan on Tuesday, a reality few thought possible a year ago when President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the agreement.
But the remaining nations, led by Japan, revived the pact with negotiations producing a finalized trade agreement, billed as the largest in the world.
“It’s a great day for progressive trade around the world,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a business audience in Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Forum.
NAFTA talks focus on dispute settlement, autos
January 30, 2017
OTTAWA—Canada has made a bold offer to accept a controversial U.S. demand at the NAFTA talks about how to resolve commercial trade disputes, the Star has learned.
It involves the current binding trade dispute settlement process used to resolve lawsuits by investor companies against North American governments. Binational tribunals adjudicate complaints, and their rulings are final.
The U.S. wants it to become an “opt-in” system or, as one Canadian official called it, a voluntary system.
Canadian officials say the U.S. has signalled it would “opt out” of the system while expecting its two partners would still “opt in” the binational tribunals that decide complaints by companies who feel harmed by government regulations.
NAFTA negotiations grind on in Montreal with little sign of progress
January 30, 2017
Canadian and Mexican officials expressed cautious optimism Thursday that Ottawa’s “creative” proposals aimed at unblocking the stalled negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement had in fact created some positive momentum in the talks in Montreal.
Canadian counter-proposals deal with controversial U.S. demands on increasing continental content requirements for automobiles, doing away with NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanisms, and for a five-year sunset clause.
However, despite some positive momentum, major differences remain as officials from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. meet in Montreal for the sixth and penultimate set of talks on the trade pact.
Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, one of the largest Canadian trade unions which represents workers in the auto industry, who participated in the stakeholder briefing with Canada’s chief negotiator Steve Verheul said there seems to be an understanding among U.S. negotiators that the Canadian counter-proposals on so-called tracing and rules of origin offer a track to break some of the negotiating logjams.
Worker Self-determination At Heart Of Strong Unions
January 30, 2017
The right to choose is at the heart of any democracy. Whether electing a mayor, prime minister or the leadership of a union, the will of the people must be respected.
For too many Canadian workers, however, that kind of choice can too easily be taken away, and that weakens all workers.
The strength of the labour movement, after all, is the ability of workers to set the course of their own bargaining unit based on the wants and needs of the members who were there, and the needs of their families and communities.
When all workers can do that, their collective voice and power is stronger.
When threats and intimidation prevent workers from speaking their minds or making decisions that reflect their needs, however, the labour movement as a whole is compromised. Unions are rooted and based on democratic principles and the aspect of asserting workers’ power in the struggle. When those principles are lost or not adhered to the needs of Canadian workers are compromised.
Auto workers say Ontario’s new sick leave laws are unfair to them, hold protest at Peterborough MPP’s office
January 30, 2017
Union members from a local auto part manufacturer rallied outside MPP Jeff Leal’s constituency office Thursday to protest “discrimination” towards the auto sector in Bill 148.
About a dozen Ventra Plastics staff members stood outside Leal’s office on King St. to make their concerns known.
They want the same number of emergency leave of absence (ELOA) or sick days that other workers in Ontario are getting through Bill 148.
Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, was introduced late last year, updating the Employment Standards Act.
But in it, auto sector workers lost three ELOAs per year. They went from 10 to seven, all unpaid. Meanwhile, Bill 148 secures 10 sick days, the first two paid, for all other sectors.
Ventra makes vehicle bumpers for GM and Toyota, for example.
Unifor Local 1987 represents more than 500 workers at the Technology Dr. company.
Mark Clapper, president of Local 1987, said the changes in legislation aren’t fair.
“We want it equal, just like every other sector … it’s discriminating against the auto sector,” he said.
Update: Trade unions demand ‘respectful’ agreement from NAFTA trade talks
December 1, 2017
As renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) continues, members of the Unifor union demonstrated Saturday in Montreal to demand “respectful” international agreements, in particular with regard to workers’ rights.
Unifor president Jerry Dias and Renaud Gagné, Quebec director of the union, spoke at the demonstration near the American consulate.
“We’re asking the Canadian government to stand firm in both the renegotiation of NAFTA and other trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Labour, environmental and social rights should not be sacrificed in favour of purely financial interests,” Gagné said in a statement on Saturday.
Unifor donates $500,000 to Hurricane Irma aid
September 20, 2017
Unifor, through the Union’s Social Justice Fund, has donated $500,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for Hurricane Irma aid in the Caribbean.
“This donation by Unifor will reach the most vulnerable people in the Caribbean to help provide desperately needed relief efforts and supplies, which may include items such as shelter, food, and clean water,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Millions of people were left devastated by Hurricane Irma. Unifor’s donation will provide direct assistance and emergency relief where it is needed most, in the hardest hit Caribbean countries.
“The Canadian Red Cross wants to thank Unifor for their support towards relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma,” said Conrad Sauvé, President and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross. “This generous donation will help assist many families who are in need following this devastating category five hurricane.”
“The Unifor Social Justice Fund has a strong partnership with the Canadian Red Cross, providing past relief for disasters including the Alberta fires, New Brunswick ice storms, flood relief in the Atlantic and Quebec, and recently the BC wildfires,” said Unifor Director of Human Rights and International Mohamad Alsadi. “In this great time of need we will work together once again to make a difference for the people impacted by Hurricane Irma.”