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
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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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Workers at Duncan Ironworks Vote 100% for a New Three Year Agreement

scottSometimes bargaining goes sideways and sometimes it goes well. The new three year Agreement at Duncan Iron Works (DIW) falls into the latter category due to the Solidarity of this long time Union shop and the recognition of our Members skills by the Employer.greg

After a few productive bargaining sessions, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed and at the Contract Ratification meeting the new terms were accepted unanimously.

DIW1DIW has been prospering over the last three years and management decided to share some of the gains with the workforce. An on-going relationship with BC Hydro, combined with successful bidding on fabrication jobs has kept the shop on solid footing. The machine shop has been less busy but has found work for the four in the department.danny

Family Day is included in the new agreement and combined with a 2% first year increase gives a solid 2.4% increase in the first year. The following two years attract a 2.5% increase. Improvements in the Health and Welfare provisions add more value. The Dental plan will now cover 100% of minor and major work to a per person maximum of $2,000 per annum, increasing to $2,500 in 2015. Boot allowance now stands at $225.ryan

The Company agreed to pay a Lead Hand (4% premium) on any shift or a Charge Hand (7% premium) for shifts more than four people.

Both the Company and Union are pleased with the way this round of bargaining went and look forward to more good years.mike

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Labour Shows Its Style At Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council Picnic at Transfer Beach, Ladysmith

The annual Labour Day Picnic was held by the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council on September 3, 2013. New Democrat MLAs Lenard Krog, Bill Routley and Doug Routley and MP Jean Crowder attended, each making a few short remarks saluting the Unions gathered.

John_KiethFor the first time, the Machinists Union had a table display. Chief Shop Steward John Humphrey from Inland Kenworth (LL1857), arranged for the table to be manned. Featured was information about the IAM and our newsletter, Northwest News. Shirts were given away in a draw and the usual swag, including our excellent pencils c/w clips.

 bradart and 90 year old

The table was not the only contribution made by Machinists. Two members of unioNation™ came to share some of the original songs written by Machinists. Brother Brad Seefried brought two other members of his band Mine Town to perform his songs ‘Little Penguins’ and ‘I AM a Workingman’. BR Alastair Haythornthwaite performed ‘Sleeping Giant’ and a new song about the founders of our Union ‘Ride, Boomers, Ride’. Their efforts were well received.

alastair_at_Labour_day_2013Volunteers served hot dogs and fried onion to the crowd while an antique and muscle car show by ILWU rounded out the day’s attractions.

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IKEA Workers Need Your Help

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This update is from BCFED. Reader may be aware of the epic battle the Machinists have been waging with IKEA in the USA. Read more here.

AT ISSUE
IKEA in Richmond wants to lower the wages it pays its employees by imposing a tiered wage structure. More than 350 employees have been locked out by IKEA since May 13 of this year.

AFFECTED SITES
IKEA Richmond – Currently behind picket lines.
IKEA Coquitlam – No picket lines, but every dollar spent in IKEA Coquitlam is helping IKEA win the fight in Richmond.

HOW CAN I HELP?
Join IKEA workers at the Richmond IKEA location this Saturday at 11:00 am in a show of support for a fair settlement.

CLICK HERE for the Facebook invite and more details.

HOW ELSE CAN I HELP?

  1. DO NOT PATRONIZE either IKEA.
    Spending money in IKEA Coquitlam is helping IKEA win the fight with its      employees in Richmond.
  2. VISIT the locked out workers on the picket line, and show your support.
  3. EMAIL IKEA   management. Tell them you won’t spend a dime there unless they back down      from their demand for wage cuts for IKEA employees.

BACKGROUND

  • Teamsters Local 213 represents      about 350 workers at the Richmond IKEA location.
  • Until 2007, IKEA Richmond had a
    tiered wage structure. The union fought for fairness, and eliminated the      tiered wage structure.
  • IKEAs are owned centrally.      Spending money at any IKEA goes in the same owner’s pocket.
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