IAM Members Want Their Union to be Active

The results of the IAM’s first national face-to-face survey indicate that, no matter where they live in Canada, IAM members share the same views about their union.  Over two-thirds of the members surveyed said that they wanted the IAM to go beyond the basics of collective bargaining and membership protection and be active in their communities.

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“In the next 18 months, Canadians will be participating in federal and provincial elections that will be crucial for the futures of Canadian working families, said GVP Ritchie.   “In unions, we are facing the fight of our lives.  I am greatly encouraged by our members’ support.   We will continue our program of active member engagement.”
General Vice President for Canada, Dave Ritchie

Nine out of ten IAM members believe that strong unions are good for Canada.  91% said that members who receive the benefits and protections of a union contract should be required to pay dues (known as the “Rand Formula”).

This survey followed the IAM Canadian Political Action Conference in March, 2013, which called for a return to face-to-face engagement with our members.

IAM Canadian Vice President Dave Ritchie welcomed the response to the survey.  “Our members understand that unions are the only force in Canada capable of facing up to corporate greed.  That is why unions are under attack by the corporate bosses and their captive politicians.”  Ritchie added,   “We need to strengthen unions to reverse the growing unfairness and inequality in our society.”

IAM members endorsed the active role taken by the union in a number of public policy proposals that will help IAM members and their families, including:

Pensions:

  • A doubling of the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan retirement benefits
  • A national insurance scheme to protect earned pensions from employer bankruptcies
  • A reversal of the federal Conservatives’ plan to move the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits from age 65 to 67

Labour Law and Labour Standards

  • The freedom for workers to organize unions without employer bullying and intimidation, with “card-check” certifications and severe penalties for employer anti-union actions
  • An end to one-sided government intervention in collective bargaining on the side of management, through phony “essential services”, strike-busting and the imposition of biased arbitration settlements
  • Preservation of the Rand Formula, so that everyone with union benefits and protections pay their fair share
  • An end to the attack on union capacities through costly and wasteful reporting requirements, as in the Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-377
  • A minimum wage that provides a decent standard of living for all Canadian working families

Health and Safety

  • A joint workplace health and safety system,  based on the precautionary principle, with a right to refuse unsafe work
  • An end to deregulation and privatization of workplace health and safety

Employment Insurance

  • A system that offers all workers across Canada real income security in the face of job loss, after past federal governments have stolen $56 billion of worker and employer contributions the unemployment insurance fund

Medicare

  • A reversal of the unfair and wasteful growth of for-profit medicine
  • A national universal public pharmacare program

Other Areas of Direct Concern to IAM Members and their Families: jobs and the economy, air transport and aerospace, public services, the environment

 

 

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Political Attacks on Labour Continue Unabated

The Federal Government is currently sponsoring a group of anti-union legislation under the guise of Private Member’s Bills.

FIGHT_OF_OUR_LIVES_LOGOC-525 would eliminate ‘card check’ for organizing workplaces under the Canada Labour Code. ‘Card Check’ grants Union Certification if 50%+1 of the prospective Members sign an application. This will allow employers to bribe or intimidate employees during the run-up to a vote.

C-4 would weaken an employee’s right to refuse unsafe work. Only imminent danger would be grounds for refusing work. The Federal Bargaining Agents (Unions) of the National Joint Council sum it up this way:

Bill C-4 undermines the right to collective bargaining, eliminates important human rights protections, and will make every federal workplace less safe for its workers and the Canadians they serve. The Bill was drafted with no consultation with public sector bargaining agents and eliminates labour rights gained over the last fifty years, and severely undermines the ability of federal employees to negotiate on a fair playing field. The Bill gives the federal government’s Treasury Board the unfettered right to determine what constitutes an essential service, which workers are denied the right to strike, and which collective agreements will be decided through arbitration.  The Bill also changes arbitration by limiting the independence of arbitration boards. Bill C-4 gives the Minister of Labour the authority to throw out any unsafe work refusal complaint without investigation, leaving employees who refuse unsafe work open to discipline, including dismissal. If the Minister chooses, an investigation can be undertaken in secret. The impact of these changes to health and safety protection will reach far beyond the federal public service to the 1.2 million private and public sector workers covered by the Canada Labour Code.

C-377 would put onerous reporting obligations on Union, where every expenditure greater than $5,000 would have to be reported and made public. Though this information is already available to Union Members, under this Bill, Union would have to undertake the costly and time consuming task of documenting and reporting everything from pension payments to office supply purchases. This Bill was rejected by the Senate for unfairly targeting Unions while leaving corporations untouched but has been reintroduced this session by the Federal Government.

Some provincial politicians dream of emulating the worst of American Labour law.

Right to Work for Less has been a fact of life in some of the poorest US states, such as Alabama and Louisiana since the 1960s. In the last few years, some of the Rust Belt states, such as Michigan and Indiana have introduced the policy. Under Right to Work for Less, employees are not required to join a union or pay dues in a unionized workplace. Further, the Union is obligated to represent the, though they neither belong to the Union nor pay dues. This strengthens the hand of the employer leading to lower wages and benefits state wide. For those who pay dues, payroll check off is illegal and the Union has to collect the dues form each member individually. Total dues are approximately 30% less and the collecting of dues becomes an expensive proposition. Some politician, especially Tom Hudak, leader of the Conservatives in Ontario, have been especially vocal in proposing this vile medicine for Ontario as unscrupulous employers have moved from Ontario to right to work for less states.

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OXFAM Honors IAM for Philippines Relief Contribution

source: http://www.goiam.org/index.php/imail/latest/12390-oxfam-honors-iam-for-philippines-relief-contribution
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Oxfam Canada Executive Director Robert Fox, third from right, presented IAM Canada with a commemorative plaque in recognition of the union’s contribution towards Oxfam’s relief and reconstruction work in areas of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013. Joining IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie, right, in accepting the honour were members of the IAM Canada Philippine community, left to right, Manny Crescencia, Angeles De Guzman, Arlene Danota, Rowena Bicera, Fox and Barrington Barnett.

Oxfam Canada honored Canadian Machinists in recognition of the generous contribution made towards Oxfam’s relief efforts in areas of the Philippines devastated by Typhoon Haiyan on November 8, 2013.

The IAM Canada donation of $50,000 matched the highest amount donated by any union within the Canadian movement. More than $600,000 was donated to Oxfam’s relief efforts by unions across the country.

“We were very, very pleased at the tremendous generosity and support from the IAM,” said Oxfam Canada Executive Director Robert Fox. “The Machinists played a critical role, a leadership role within the Canadian labor movement. They matched the highest donation from any union to this disaster and it reflects a history where the Machinists have been there when there have been major disasters around the world supporting the response.”

IAM Canada answered the call with a $25,000 donation to Oxfam Canada in 2004 to support its relief efforts in the tsunami –shattered regions of Asia.

Also on hand at the presentation ceremonies were members of the IAM Philippine community. Manny Cresencia of IAM Local 717T, a retiree from Magellan Aerospace, was joined by Airport Security Screeners Angelas De Guzman, Arlene Danota and Rowena Bicera, who are members of IAM Local 2921. Also in attendance was IAM District 140 General Chairperson Barrington Barnett, who was responsible for the airport security screeners.

“Our motto is justice on the job and service to the community and I think it’s important that the community needs to know that the union is there for everybody and we’re responding on the basis of need and let me tell you, there is a terrible need in the Philippines right now,” said IAM Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie.
 
To date, Oxfam has reached 500,000 of the worst affected people with life-saving supplies. Making sure people have clean water, safe sanitation and a roof over their heads is Oxfam’s immediate priority.

 

 

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Fight of Our Lives – The Opening Skirmishes

  FIGHT_OF_OUR_LIVES_LOGO
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These agents of an alien class have been bought and paid for by Corporations. These Corporations are rich, powerful and ruthless. They have only one mission maximum profit. To achieve their goal – people’s lives, the environment and even democracy are of little consequence.

People are not without their shield.

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Trade Unions have been struggling to protect and extend the rights of workers to a safe workplace, collective bargaining and freedom of association for a long time. Unions fought when there seemed no hope of victory, succeeding over the last century to force the employers and their politicians to make concessions.

We have a right to belong to Unions. We have the right to bargain with the employers.

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But the Corporations wanted to strip or curtail these fundamental rights guaranteed under the Canadian Constitution.

Prime Minister Harper does not attack us head on. He is using the ruse of Private Member’s Bills to push through anti-democratic, anti-union legislation. Bill C-377 was designed to hurt our Unions, Health and Welfare Plans and Pension Plans by forcing reporting of all Union expenditures over $5,000. This information is already available to members but would now have to be reported and published publically adding expense and violating the privacy of our   Pensioners and Members.

True Conservatives in the Senate rejected the unfairness of a bill which made Unions report but kept Corporations and Employer Associations private behind closed doors.

Tim Hudak, the leader of the Conservatives in Ontario has publically called for the outlawing of Union checkoff for dues. Not only would the Union be forced to spend its time collecting dues, instead of representing the members. Union revenue could fall be 30%, crippling our ability to oppose Corporate excesses.

Christy Clark, our newly re-elected Premier, wants to impose a 10 year agreement on the teachers, the first of many attacks on public and private sector workers.

The Machinists are not taking this lying down. Over the next year you will all hear about the new campaign, the Fight of Our Lives. This is our opening move to stop the Anti-Union politicians in their tracks and elect a government for People not Corporations.

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CLC Launches Canada-wide Political Campaign to Protect Collective Bargaining Rights

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IAM at the Fairness Works session

IAM delegates from both District Lodge 140 and District Lodge 250 participated in a conference of Union leaders convened by the CLC to launch the Fairness Works Campaign

The Labour movement is not just about decent jobs.
It’s about a better life, for everyone.

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