Fight of Our Lives – The Opening Skirmishes

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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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Spring 2013 Edition of Our Newsletter Northwest News

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12 page NWN

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IAMAW LL764 and the BCFED ask BC Legislators to Co-operate for 350 family supporting jobs

This article was first published by the BC Federationist, the new online journal of the BC Federation of Labour
http://www.bcfederationist.com/iamaw-ll764-and-the-bcfed-ask-bc-legislators-to-cooperate-for-350-family-supporting-jobs/

March 27 brought a rare moment in Question Period, the usually combative 30-minute battles where the opposition throws pointed questions and the government replies with partisan non-answers. The basis of unity was the cause of more than 350 former employees of Air Canada’s primary aircraft overhaul supplier Aveos Fleet Performance, who had learned their company was declaring insolvency one week earlier.

Earlier in the day, a delegation of 70 of the dismissed workers, led by IAMAW Local Lodge 764 President Christopher Hiscock and members of his Executive, along with B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair, had presented their case to Dix and Bell. Both Dix and Bell committed to a non-partisan approach on the issue – agreeing that politics were secondary to protecting more than 350 family-supporting jobs.

Dix set the tone by alerting Bell and the BC Liberal government in advance of question period that the issue would be up first. Bell followed the lead of Dix by introducing the women and men he had met with just minutes earlier to the House, reading out their names and years of experience working on Air Canada’s fleet. He then invited a collegial approach to tackling the issue.

Dix took up the offer. “I think the matter is too important for partisanship, so I wanted to suggest to the Premier or the minister responsible for jobs that we get together as a House and pass a joint resolution in support of those workers, calling on the Prime Minister to intervene — consistent with federal law and consistent with the importance of these jobs to British Columbia — to protect these jobs. So will the Premier or the minister join with me today in proposing a joint resolution?” Dix asked.

Bell responded with an answer that only partially satisfied the onlooking Machinists and the Opposition across the House. While he recognized the importance of a solution, he failed to commit to a joint resolution. Dix followed by reminding the Minister that the provinces of Quebec and Manitoba had already taken similar measures, and committed to fighting for the jobs of former Aveos employees in their provinces. Dix suggested that a resolution would advance the cause.

This time, Bell agreed that his government would consider a resolution and would consider participating in a delegation to Ottawa to meet with federal leaders on the issue, following a conversation with the federal Minister responsible.

For the former employees of IAMAW, the news of cooperation was encouraging; however, they recognize that there is still much work to do. As the members boarded the bus to return to Vancouver, Hiscock committed to his members that the union would do all it could to ensure Air Canada upholds the terms of the Air Canada Public Participation Act and re-opens its heavy maintenance facilities in Vancouver and across Canada.

FACTS ABOUT AVEOS AND AIR CANADA

  • Air Canada has operated heavy maintenance divisions in Canada since its formation as an airline. Primary maintenance facilities for Air Canada until last year were divisions of Air Canada in Montreal, Mississauga, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
  • The Air Canada Public Participation Act requires the airline to maintain heavy maintenance operations in Canada, and specifically in Montreal, Mississauga and Winnipeg. It is the union’s position that YVR is also covered by the Act, despite not being specified.
  • The YVR operation was subsequently acquired by Air Canada in the merger with Canadian Airlines.
  • The workers at YVR have more than 3,000 years of experience between them and are recognized as one of the premier maintenance teams in the world.
  • Heavy maintenance operations were contracted out to Aveos Fleet Performance in July 2011.
  • Employees were assured of the viability of Aveos and Air Canada’s long term commitment to conducting maintenance at the existing facilities. On the basis of those assurances, senior workers took positions with Aveos instead of transferring to other positions within the Air Canada system.
  • Approximately 8 months after the ink had dried on the transfer of operations from Air Canada to Aveos, Aveos filed for protection from creditors and immediately dismissed all employees.
  • Heavy maintenance is highly-skilled, highly-specialized work that is not easily transferable. Many former Aveos employees have between 25 and 35 years of experience.
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Machinists Endorse Dewar for NDP Federal Leadership!

Friday February 3, 2012

 For Immediate Release

 Toronto,ON– The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers today announced, they are endorsing Paul Dewar for the leadership of the federal NDP.

“We believe Paul Dewar projects our values and those of the average Canadian,” explained IAMAW Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie.

“We were looking for someone that not only can maintain the gains we made in the last federal election but expand on that base in the future. We think Paul can appeal to non-traditional NDP voters as the new party leader. He understands how together with labour, the NDP can build our economy, create well paying jobs and revive the Canadian middle class which has been under attack for so many years.”

Known as a consensus builder who is relaxed and very approachable, the Winnipeg Free Press says Dewar has all the tools needed to pick up where Jack Layton left off.

 “The bottom line is this, who is the person the Conservatives would least like to face in the next federal election? The Machinists think that person is Paul Dewar. We’re behind him 100 per cent,” said Ritchie. Building on significant labour support from acrossCanada, the IAMAW is the first national union to endorse Dewar.

 The IAMAW represents more than 39,000 members inCanada. They represent workers in the air transport, aerospace, health care and automotive sectors.

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 For further information:

Dave Ritchie – IAMAW Canadian General Vice President
416-386-1789 ext #6323

Bill Trbovich – IAMAW Director of Communications
416-386-1789 ext #6331/416-735-9765

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Message from Dave Ritchie, General Vice President for Canada

On March 24, the federal New Democratic Party is choosing a new leader to replace Jack Layton and to be Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons.

The IAM, as a long-time affiliate of the NDP, has endorsed Paul Dewar, MP for Ottawa Centre for the leadership. We believe that, among a strong field of candidates, he best represents our values, and the tradition of fairness, decency and respect for working people that the NDP stands for. He will be a Prime Minister we can be proud of.

I urge you to support Paul’s candidacy in any way you can and to bring his message to your family, friends and co-workers.

The leadership election is on a one-member-one-vote basis, with a preferential ballot which can be exercised at the Convention in Toronto, by mail or on-line. In order to vote, you need to be a party member as of February 18.

If you are not currently a member, you can join at www.ndp.ca

This will be a hard-fought campaign, and Paul needs all the support we can give him. You can volunteer to help out in the Paul Dewar Campaign through http://pauldewar.ca/

Federal law allows for a personal donation of up to $1,200 to the leadership campaign, which is eligible for federal tax credits. To make a donation to the Paul Dewar Campaign, you can go to http://pauldewar.ca/

We have a chance to provide a better future for Canada. Let’s make it happen!

Dave Ritchie
General Vice President
IAMAW

For more information on how to vote

Follow Paul’s Twitter feed = @PaulDewar
Find Paul Dewar on Facebook (“Paul Dewar for NDP Leader”)

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NDP and Labour should continue to be Full Partners – Ritchie!

General Vice President Dave Ritchie Leads 40,000 Canadian Machinists

Monday September 12, 2011

For Immediate Release

TORONTO – “Union members all across Canada are concerned about the apparent change of rules in the upcoming NDP leadership,” says IAMAW Canadian General Vice President Dave Ritchie.

“The IAMAW will abide by the rules as they appear to be set, but we voice a strong objection to a simplistic one member, one vote leadership process.”

“Machinist members elected me to represent them – in their jobs and in the political arena, where decisions about their working lives are made,” said Ritchie. “I have a strong belief in democracy and it is that belief which drives me to say this publicly at this particular time,” said Ritchie, representing more than 40,000 IAMAW members in Canada.

He added, “I believe no-one really wants to debate the issue because it seems unpopular at this time. The NDP was created in 1961 by an historic partnership of the CCF (forerunners of the NDP), and the labour movement and the Machinists were very much a part of that creation. This created an alliance between organized labour and the political left in Canada. This proposed new system, brings me to question that partnership.”

Removing the weighted vote from the leadership process removes the weight of those organisations representing Canadian workers and goes against the founding principals of the party. “Under this new system I question who will represent organized labour and how,” said Ritchie.

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For further information: Dave Ritchie – IAMAW Canadian General Vice President
416-386-1789 Ext #6323

Bill Trbovich – IAMAW Director of Communications
416-386-1789 Ext #6331/416-735-9765

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