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 Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers
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( Last updated Monday, August 19, 2019 8:52 am EDT)
De Luxe Paper Products members reach new labour agreement

Members of Local 1103 voted 92.5% in favour of their new collective agreement at a union meeting held on August 4, 2019.

 The following are the main highlights of the agreement:

 Three-year term;

  • Across-the-board salary increase of 2 per cent per year;
  • Wage adjustment for several positions;
  • Employer’s portion of group insurance premium increased to 70 per cent and employees’ portion reduced to 30 percent (instead of 50-50);
  • Starting rate increased by 9.5 percent;
  • Addition of one year for each block of vacation and reinstatement of a 6th week of vacation;
  • Wage rate guaranteed at all times;
  • Reinforcement of clauses for the training committee and prevention representative;
  • Hour bank increased to 80 hours instead of 40 hours;
  • Increase in evening, night, trainer and group lead premiums;
  • Increase in the amount paid annually into the Paid Education Leave program.

 De Luxe Paper Products Inc. makes specialized packaging for use mainly in the food industry. The plant employs 70 Unifor members.

Thursday, August 15, 2019 11:15 am EDT

Auto parts workers hold solidarity rally and picnic in Oshawa

On August 10, hundreds of members of Unifor Locals 222, 444, and 1090 as well as members of the general public, gathered at Memorial Park in Oshawa for a rally and picnic in solidarity with independent auto parts supplier workers facing plant closures and ongoing negotiations of restructuring agreements.

The family-friendly event featured live music, entertainment, and a public address from Unifor Local 222 President Colin James, Unifor Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi, Oshawa Member of Provincial Parliament Jennifer French, and Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley.

“This rally brought together Unifor members, elected officials, and the public in solidarity with the 1,700 women and men who deserve fair and just severance for their years of hard work and sacrifice,” said Colin James, Unifor Local 222 President. “All of us need to come together and stay strong as we use every tool available to us to get the best possible deal for auto parts supplier workers.”

The announced closure of the assembly line at General Motors Oshawa has meant thousands of additional auto parts workers and support staff are facing job losses. The rally helped draw attention to the uphill battle faced by Oshawa workers as Unifor continues to pressure employers to fund a just transition to new employment including enhanced severance agreements, extensions to heath plans, and employer contributions to an adjustment centre.

“More than anything, we want all the independent parts supplier workers to know that through your resiliency you have become an inspiration to all workers across Ontario,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director, addressing the rally’s attendees. “You took the fight in to the streets and because of that you have been a motivation and provided encouragement for all Unifor members facing similar circumstances.”

Since the auto parts supplier park and feeder plants for General Motors Oshawa was created, Unifor estimates it saved the company more than $2.7 million in annual operating costs each year. Efforts to pressure parts supplier companies and General Motors to provide workers with fair compensation are ongoing, however, greater efforts by the provincial and federal government are needed to prevent further closures in the near future.

“We’ve been trying to convince the provincial and federal governments that the bleeding has to stop,” said Chris Buckley, former Unifor Local 222 President and President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “This community was built on strong, good paying manufacturing jobs and we have been bleeding and bleeding for far too long. Our governments have a moral obligation to protect workers’ jobs.”

Unifor will continue to use every option available to negotiate the best possible deal with independent parts supplier companies so that workers are given fair compensation.  As well, Unifor will continue to pressure governments at all levels to create an automotive and parts supplier industrial strategy that will prevent future manufacturing job losses as multinational corporations continue to receive generous public subsidies while moving jobs to low-wage jurisdictions.

View photos from the auto parks worker solidarity rally and picnic on Facebook here.

Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:30 am EDT

Countdown to Unifor’s 2019 Convention

Convention 2019 is only a few days away and it promises to be a jam packed week of union building in Quebec City. The packed agenda includes keynote speeches by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, the founder of the #metoo movement and renowned author Nancy Maclean, a Duke University professor.  General Romeo Dallaire will receive the Nelson Mandela Award presented by Stephen Lewis and members of the Canadian women’s hockey team will share their struggles for pay equity.. Plus caucus meetings, elections, and of course a few surprises. Topping it all off, Blue Rodeo will perform at a gala on Thursday night.

Those who cannot make it to Quebec City August 19 to 23 can watch all the keynote speakers, streamed live on Unifor Canada’s Facebook Page, or just follow @UniforTheUnion on Twitter. Daily updates will be posted on www.Unifor.org.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 2:15 am EDT

Get more out of convention with the mobile app

For the fourth consecutive year, Unifor members can download our mobile app to aid delegates in getting the most out of convention.

Available in both languages, the app is designed help delegates connect with each other, follow the agenda, access convention documents, navigate the convention centre, learn more about speakers, and find social media channels. It is accessible from all devices with an Internet browser: smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Download here for Android

Download here for iPhone

View web browser version

The password to the app’s splash page is 2019QUEBEC.

Delegates should then log in to the app using the email address with which they registered for convention. If you don’t know what address was used or if you have any questions, a help desk will be located near the registration table.

Presentations and keynote speakers, including National President Jerry Dias, will all be streamed on Unifor’s Facebook page beginning on August 19.

As always, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will help connect the events at convention to Unifor members and allies across the country. The Twitter hashtag for convention is #Unifor19 and #WhateverItTakes, which is this year’s theme.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 11:45 am EDT

Fish Harvesters Call for Action on Illegal Lockout by Processors

Fish harvesters in Newfoundland and Labrador held two demonstrations on Monday in response to an illegal lockout from fish processing companies. In Old Perlican, fish harvesters came together to protest processors’ refusal to purchase cod the opening week in 3KL. Both Quinsea (Royal Greenland) and Quinlan’s refused a fresh catch landed at the wharf in Old Perlican. At the St. John’s waterfront, harvesters offered their catch free to the public rather than let the cod go to waste. Both events garnered significant attention from the media and the general public, and as a result of these actions provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne announced the province would open up the cod fishery to outside buyers.

On Friday, FFAW-Unifor submitted a formal request to Minister Byrne to use all available legislative and regulatory tools to prevent this lockout from occurring as well as to discourage future action by issuing new processing licenses and opening the cod fishery up to buyers outside of the province.

“This cartel-like behaviour by processing companies sets a dangerous precedent that must be addressed so that these actions cannot be replicated in the future. FFAW-Unifor will pursue all possible remedies to resolve this blatant violation of the Master Collective Agreement. The livelihood of fish harvesters cannot be held hostage by the actions of a few large fish processing companies,” says David Decker, FFAW-Unifor Secretary-Treasurer.  

The only member of the Association of Seafood Producers that is confirmed to be buying cod this week is the Labrador Shrimp Company, which provides no relief to the thousands of harvesters on the island that planned to start fishing this weekend.

Of particular concern is Icewater Seafoods in Arnold’s Cove, which received nearly $6 million in provincial and federal funding last year for new groundfish equipment only to ship in frozen cod for processing this week while refusing to purchase fresh, local product.

“It’s appalling that a company would receive millions in taxpayer dollars for investment in their plant only to turn around to take illegal action that shuts out Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters,” says Decker.  “It seems like processors want a fishery of 50 years ago, where merchants ruled and unilaterally dictated how the fishery was prosecuted. We will not go backwards.”

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 9:45 am EDT

Social Justice Fund supports Doctors Without Borders in priority areas

A Unifor Social Justice Fund donation of $200,000 is supporting Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), deliver lifesaving medical treatment in four priority areas.

“MSF is providing front-line care to vulnerable populations in zones of conflict and/or humanitarian crisis,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The contribution by the Unifor Social Justice Fund will bring direct aid to patients in Yemen, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh and Venezuela.”

In Yemen, Unifor’s support is helping MSF reduce deaths due to conflict in the Abs and Haijjah city districts and surrounding areas. Away from the bullets and bombs at the frontlines, MSF staff deal with the secondary implications of the war as they operate mobile clinics to provide consultations, vaccinations, and referral to the MSF-supported hospital in Abs. In addition, the teams provide mental health activities to children and water to refugee camps.

Photo ©Al Hareth Al Magaleh/ MSF

“The Unifor Social Justice Fund's support helps MSF provide life-saving medical care to people in need. Thanks to donations like yours, we can deliver independent medical aid and save lives,” said Flavia Tenenbaum, Fundraising Director, MSF Canada. “We are so grateful for your compassion and commitment to MSF.” 

With the Social Justice Fund’s support, MSF is continuing ongoing medical care in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Medical teams deal with a wide range of health needs in addition to conducting malnutrition, malaria and measles campaigns. In the first five months of 2019, more than 1,500 measles-related deaths were recorded in what is likely to be the deadliest epidemic since the disease made a strong resurgence in the country in 2011. So far this year, MSF has vaccinated 361,079 children and provided medical care for 14,785 patients.

Photo ©Pablo Garrigos/MSF, MSF nurses prepare vaccines against measles at the health center of Lungonzo, Kamwesha health zone (Kasai).

In addition to relentlessly fighting the measles epidemic, MSF personnel are treating patients displaced by violence in the Moyen Plateau and nearby Haut Plateau, with over half of those seen presenting with malaria.

MSF is also tackling malaria in Venezuela, where there has been a significant increase in cases due to the decline in the country’s health system following years of economic and political crisis. The Social Justice Fund donation will support expansion of MSF work encompassing treatment for physical wounds incurred during ongoing social unrest, including emergency surgery, in addition to psychosocial intervention and health promotion.

Photo  ©Esteban Montaño/MSF

“Médecins Sans Frontières core values include independence and neutrality and this impartiality allows its teams to deploy quickly to where the medical need is greatest to provide free medical care to patients, regardless of citizenship, religion or political affiliation,” said Mohamad Alsadi, Unifor International Director. “It’s wonderful that the Unifor Social Justice Fund donation is able to support such diverse treatment and preventative measures by MSF around the globe.”

In Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, MSF has stepped up to provide multiple services to Rohingya refugees living in crowded camps with limited access to medical care, including surgery. MSF programs also focus on inadequate provision of secondary healthcare, including comprehensive obstetric and neonatal care, pediatric services, treatment for non-communicable diseases, and chronic illnesses. Furthermore, support from the Social Justice Fund enables MSF to address critical gaps in health services provided to the refugees, including access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Photo © Nitin George/MSF, Gaziur Rahman is nurse supervisor of MSF at the Goyalmara Green Roof hospital in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

For more information visit: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.ca/


Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am EDT

Multi-award winning author Nancy MacLean to speak at Unifor convention

What led to the rise of libertarianism and the radical right in the United States?

According to award-winning American historian Nancy MacLean, the rich and powerful are trying to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance in the U.S.  In her latest book, 'Democracy in Chains', MacLean says that behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over U.S. politics is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots.

MacLean is a Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. Her research focuses on race, gender, labor history and social movements in 20th century U.S. history.

Although she has written a handful of other books, 'Democracy in Chains' caused an uproar among republicans and media pundits. On Mises Wire, one commenter wrote, "No doubt she’s a rabid feminazi, anti-Southerner, socialist and pathologically focused on race and gender. She’s a historical victimologist who produces nothing of value."

MacLean said she was shocked by the vicious attacks and “such rhetorical bullying would be laughable if it weren’t part of a pattern on the right.”

Delegates will be sure to enjoy her speech and for those who can’t make it to the convention, she’ll be live on the Unifor Facebook page August 19.


Thursday, August 8, 2019 8:45 am EDT

Vancouver’s container truckers open negotiations

Unifor has begun a new round of collective bargaining with several employers servicing Port Metro Vancouver.

“Unifor constantly pushes for fair treatment of container truckers. Our efforts have led to drivers receiving millions of dollars in compensation illegally withheld by unscrupulous company owners,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor B.C. Area Director.

As the largest union in Metro Vancouver’s container trucking industry, Unifor has a very successful record. Container truckers shut down Port Metro Vancouver for nearly four weeks in March 2014 as a result of wage undercutting by trucking companies and long wait times at the Port.

Despite facing back to work legislation, Unifor members refused to back down and truckers only went back to work after a plan was negotiated between the truckers, the Port, the B.C. government, and the federal government.

Unifor was also responsible for a trucker-friendly Container Trucking Act (2014) that has created a Container Trucking Commissioner who investigates companies for wage theft and issues heavy fines for non-compliance with the new law and rates.

Since 2014, Unifor has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars owed to drivers. The Commissioner has levied fines and awarded over $2.3 million in wages to drivers.

With the election of the NDP government in B.C., Unifor successfully fought for further gains including 4.6 per cent hauling rate increases over the past two years and more resources for the Office of Container Truck Commissioner for enforcement and auditing.



Tuesday, August 6, 2019 6:15 am EDT


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