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

C-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.know youer enemy

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 Canadian 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 refusniks, 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 from each member individually. Total dues are approximately 30% less even as 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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Canadian GVP Dave Ritchie Speaks Out About Bill C-525

FIGHT_OF_OUR_LIVES_LOGO

“Every day Canadian workers are being bullied, harassed, intimidated and even fired on the job by their employers for trying to exercise their democratic right to organize.

Unfortunately, this bill was clearly written by union-busting employers. We are very concerned about the potential impact of Bill C-525, which will profoundly change the certification and de-certification process in federal labour relations. This bill has not come through any of the long-standing bi-partite consultative processes that have normally been used to develop fair and reasonable changes to labour legislation in the federal jurisdiction.

The growing levels of inequality and unfairness in Canada are closely related to the erosion of union coverage in Canadian jurisdiction.  If we are to become a fairer and more equal society, with a growing economy, unions need to be strengthened, not weakened.”dave

 

 

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Our Union – Our Advantage – Pass It On

 walterBWalter Gerlach – Directing Business Representative
wgerlach@iam250.org

Sisters and Brothers,

I would like to start by saying that every single one us shares something special. What we share is that we all work in a unionized workplace; recent polling tells us that if given the choice a majority of Canadians would prefer to work in a unionized workplace. The biggest hurdle facing the unorganized Canadian worker today is the fear instilled by the employer and the mainstream media, by suggesting a multitude of fictional scenarios, that all end in the employee losing their job or spending their future on Strike, if they are successful in organizing themselves into a Union.

Recent polling also identified that our Union advantage afforded us with another opportunity that the majority of Canadians would also like to be part of if given the chance and that is to be a member of a defined benefit Pension Plan. There are few employers that offer a defined benefit pension plan today, in fact they are all but extinct other than in unionized workplaces. Many of our Collective Agreements in the province of British Columbia contain a defined benefit pension plan and for those without this benefit we have been working diligently at negotiating this benefit into any new contract settlement.

The majority of us inherited the benefits of a collective agreement when we started working at a workplace certified with the Machinists Union. In essence we are walking on a bridge that was built by the sacrifices of those that came before us, this brings me to the question what will we do or can we do to build a bridge for those that will come after us. I believe one of the answers to this question is to organize the unorganized; this accomplishes the goal of helping those Canadians who have the desire to work in a unionized workplace. This also strengthens our existing unionized workplaces by creating a higher rate of union density in a given sector which leads to more bargaining power at the negotiating table. walterA

If given the opportunity, think about taking the time to talk about your unionized workplace and the advantages of working with a Collective Agreement on your side. If you choose to engage those unorganized Canadian workers that you meet and share the values of our union and our advantage, you will find that you are passing it on.    

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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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Fight of Our Lives – The Opening Skirmishes

  FIGHT_OF_OUR_LIVES_LOGO
we_are_under_attack
alien_attack

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.

shield

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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