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( Last updated Saturday, September 26, 2020 7:36 pm EDT)
Unifor members encouraged to participate in Orange Shirt Day

September 30 is Orange Shirt Day, an annual event to honour the experiences of survivors of the residential school system and to raise awareness about Canada’s shameful history and the enduring impacts on Indigenous communities.

Unifor has issued a statement to commemorate the day and encourages members to participate in the day:

  • Wednesday September 30 wear an orange shirt and post a photo with a message of support using #OrangeShirtDay #Unifor #EveryChildMatters
  • Add this frame to your Facebook profile photo
  • Participate in Unifor’s Orange Shirt Day webinar

When: September 29, 2020 at 1–2 p.m. Eastern Time

Register now by contacting

  • The Spirit Bear Plan is an initiative by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. Please help end inequalities in public services for Indigenous children, youth and families by urging the Canadian government to adopt this Plan – click here to send letter to Prime Minister Trudeau.
  • Follow @Caringsociety and @SpiritBear on Twitter and Facebook and repost their updates.

For more information, visit the campaign page.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020 6:15 am EDT

Unifor hosts “Anti-Indigenous Racism in the Media” webinar

Unifor members from across the country tuned-in to the Education Department’s webinar about racism in the media as experienced by Indigenous peoples on September 17, 2020.

Indigenous Liaison Gina Smoke facilitated the hour-long conversation with two prominent activist-scholars Dr. Pam Palmeter and Dr. Niigaan Sinclair. A Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, Palmeter is an Associate Professor and the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. Sinclair is a member of the Anishinaabe First Nation and teaches at the University of Manitoba. Both are published authors and can be seen regularly commenting on Indigenous issues in national and regional publications and on news networks.

The webinar focused on identifying anti-Indigenous racism in the media and discussing ways to address the problem to better reflect the struggles facing these communities. Palmeter said anti-Indigenous bias can manifest in several ways, including portraying Indigenous peoples as tokenized, infighting, a social problem, or social disturbances, particularly when First Nations stand up for themselves, for example at pipeline protests. She said that even when media outlets include the voices of Indigenous people in policy or news conversations, they are often staged in opposition to overtly racist commentators, which does not actually achieve “balanced” coverage.

Sinclair discussed the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in crime coverage and the common media problem of reporting on the symptoms (eg. gangs) and not the causes of crime (eg. poverty). He used various real-world examples from his own experience as a contributor to the Winnipeg Free Press about how, while members of the media are rarely decision-makers per se, media coverage plays a central role in framing mainstream perceptions of most policy issues. Finally, Sinclair reminded the journalists participating in the webinar to not be over-reliant on single sources to represent the diversity of views among Indigenous communities.

Unifor provided background documents for participants to help provide resources for journalists and activists alike.

This webinar was the first in the Turtle Island series hosted by Unifor’s Education Department and facilitated by Smoke. The next webinar will be held on September 29 and review the history and goals of Orange Shirt Day. Unifor members can register via onlineeducation@unifor.org.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 3:15 am EDT

Have your Say in the Telco Work from Home Member Survey

Unifor launched a cross-Canada Telecommunications Member Survey on Working from Home. All members in the sector are invited to participate in this survey, to help paint a clear picture of the effects of changing work environments in the telecommunications sector.

Please fill out the survey today, on a personal phone or computer - not your company computer - and not during work hours.

Unifor wants to know about members’ experiences working from home, including the impact of that work on job performance, personal lives, mental and physical health, and more.

Your union will use this confidential information to help develop stronger bargaining demands, improve our working conditions, and demand better rules and legislation from governments.

The Working from Home survey will be open until Sunday, October 4, at midnight, and is available in both English and French.

English: www.unifor.org/wfhsurvey

French: www.unifor.org/tadsondage

Share this story to invite your coworkers and fellow telco workers to complete the survey!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:30 am EDT

Collective Agreement Ratified with Procor Edmonton

On September 20 Unifor members at Procor Ltd. Ratified a three year collective agreement, securing strengthened benefits and wage increases for years to come.

The 94 workers at Procor Ltd. inspect, repair and provide maintenance of Procor’s fleet of railway tank cars at its main service centre in Edmonton. Procor cars are used to transport petroleum, renewable fuels, LPG, petrochemicals, plastics, chemicals, fertilizers and food.

“Rail workers like these members at Procor maintain Canada’s essential rail traffic through these tough times and keep product moving to market,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “I congratulate the members for their unity through these negotiations, and to the bargaining committee for reaching a fair deal.”

The collective agreement includes a total of a 5.75% wage increase over the three years, as well as increases to shift differentials and safety boot allowance.

The bargaining committee also secured monetary increases and increased coverage under the company’s benefit plans.

Workers at Procor Edmonton are members of Unifor Local 21-A.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:30 am EDT

Deal ratified with Unifor 222 and AGS in Oshawa

Members of Unifor Local 222 working at AGS Automotive Systems in Oshawa, Ontario have ratified a new three-year collective agreement.

“We are proud of what we have accomplished and have made gains in all areas of the collective agreement, including wages. benefits, health and safety and skilled trades. After a rough year dealing with closure agreements, it feels good to get back to traditional bargaining,” said Colin James, President of Unifor Local 222.

Unifor Local 222 represents 143 members who manufacture and supply complex high value added automotive metal components, including in particular bumper modules for the auto sector.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a ratification meeting was held September 19, outside in a parking lot where members could safely social distance while learning the details of the agreement.

The deal also includes a $500 signing bonus for all members and new, special early retirement windows.

“This agreement brings economic gains to all members with wage increases across the board and I am so proud of the bargaining committee for their hard work and am grateful to the members for their support and solidarity,” said Bob Bryant, Unifor Chairperson at AGS.

Sunday, September 20, 2020 12:00 pm EDT

Unifor raises $137,000 to aid domestic violence victims

Unifor has raised a record breaking $137,000, so far, for Halton Women’s Place in a ‘Hope in High Heels’ walk today led by Unifor National President Jerry Dias and his son Jordan.  

“These much needed funds will provide safe shelter and services to women and children escaping domestic violence at a time when many have been forced to isolate with their abusers,” said Dias. ”We’ve seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic so in addition to raising money our goal is to also raise awareness about the ongoing violence that thousands of women across the country are experiencing.”

This year the annual ‘Hope in High Heels’ walks were modified due to COVID-19. Unifor opted to hold a walk with a limited number of socially distanced men at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of downtown Toronto.

“Every year I am overwhelmed by the dedication and passion that Jerry, Jordan and their Unifor team show at our walk events,” said Carm Bozzo, Manager of Development & Communications for Halton Women’s Place. “It is just amazing to see these men come out every September and stand up against women abuse and raise such an incredible amount of money that directly supports the women and children who use our services. This year, this is so important as fundraising events have been cancelled and majorly shifted because of COVID-19.  Thank you, Jerry, Jordan and Unifor!”

Halton Women’s Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children. To date Dias and his team have raised more than $830,000 in Hope in High Heels events. Dias thanked the many Unifor employers and partners who made generous contribution this year, even amid the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

“This is about helping survivors rebuild their lives, but it’s also about men taking responsibility to end gender-based violence and promote equity” said Dias who led participants in a pledge against violence. “Women are most vulnerable right after they leave an abusive partner and often the one place the abuser knows they can find them is at their job which is why our union has worked to create supports within our workplaces.”

Unifor has made it a bargaining priority to negotiate the union’s ground-breaking Women’s Advocate Program, which trains workplace representatives to assist women with issues including workplace harassment, intimate violence and abuse.

Saturday, September 19, 2020 1:15 am EDT

Unifor members receive Indigenous teachings

On September 10 the Aboriginal and Workers of Colour Committee of Unifor Local 1-S erected a teepee on the east lawn of the Saskatchewan legislature in Regina. Led by Unifor activists Janna Pratt, Cathy Sapergia, and Don Wren, the event was designed to hold cultural teachings, including instructions on how to set up a teepee and a Cree language class. Elder Brenda Dubois also led participants through the meaning of the poles in teepees.

"Our goal is to do our part to advance reconciliation by helping Unifor members in Regina learn more about Indigenous heritage and teachings," said Wren.

The Local 1-S teepee joined two others on the legislature lawn. One has been standing since July 31 as part of the Walking with our Angels camp. Organized by Tristen Durocher, the campaign aims to raise awareness about the suicide epidemic, especially in Northern Saskatchewan. Durocher walked from Air Ronge to Regina to begin his protest at the legislature, where he began a 44-day fast that ended September 13.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 6:30 am EDT

Unifor Hope in High Heels team support domestic violence victims

A Unifor team, led by Unifor National President Jerry Dias and his son Jordan, will participate this Saturday in the annual Halton Women’s Place ‘Hope in High Heels’ walk in support of victims of domestic violence.

“Due to the reality of COVID-19 the charity walk has been modified this year but team Unifor is determined to proceed,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Sadly the pandemic has also led to women and children being confined in their homes with their abusers with access to outside supports cut off. The need to provide a safe place and services for them is greater than ever.”

Halton’s Women Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children. The organization provides services to the Halton Region community in Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and Oakville. It operates two emergency short-term shelters in Milton and Burlington and responds to more than 2,500 crisis calls each year.

“Jerry and Jordan, along with the Unifor team, have been true champions for ‘Hope in High Heels’. They are incredible ambassadors for Halton Women’s Place and truly want to be a part of the solution in ending violence against women. We are so grateful to be able to count on their support every year – especially this year when COVID-19 has put women experiencing domestic violence in more dangerous situations as they are isolated at home,” said Laurie Hepburn, Executive Director for Halton Women’s Place.

“We know that with this added awareness and advocacy we can reach more women who need our services and show them that groups like Unifor and men and boys, like Jerry and Jordan, support them.

Team Unifor will hold its fundraising walk Saturday September 19, 2020 at 11 a.m. at Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall. Last year team Unifor raised a record-breaking 126,000 in the Hope in High Heels walk and to date have raised more than $460,000 in total.

“I know times are tough this year for a lot of people but we’re asking those who can to help, every dollar makes a difference in the lives of families trying to escape abuse,” said Dias.

To make a tax deductible donation click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:45 am EDT


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