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.”