IAM Mourns Passing of Val Bourgeois

val_bourgeoisVal Bourgeois, the first IAM Canadian General Vice President to be elected by Canadian members, has passed away at the age of 84.

Bourgeois served two terms as Canadian General Vice President, first elected in 1985 and then again in 1989.

Bourgeois first joined the IAM with Local 594 in Moncton, New Brunswick, his hometown, in 1952 as an apprentice machinist at Canadian National Railways. He was first elected as president of his Local in 1966 and the following year was elected part-time General Chairman for the IAM Railway District in Atlantic Canada. He also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the New Brunswick Federation of Labour for six years. In 1969 he was appointed to the IAM field staff as a Grand Lodge Representative, based in Montreal.

In 1981, Bourgeois was named Administrative Assistant to the then-IAM General Vice President and moved to the union’s headquarters in Ottawa.

“Val’s commitment to our members and working Canadians as a whole was second to none,” said Dave Ritchie, who succeeded Bourgeois in 1995 as Canadian General Vice President. “He was a tireless worker on the international level, establishing global standards for the transportation industry.”

Bourgeois is survived by his wife, Marguerite, and his six children and five grandchildren.

Source: http://www.goiam.org/index.php/imail/latest/14135-iam-mourns-passing-of-val-bourgeois

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US Department of Labor Approves Grand Lodge Executive Election Results

source: http://www.goiam.org/index.php/imail/latest/13186-dol-signs-off-on-iam-grand-lodge-election-results

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued its official determination on the election of Grand Lodge Officers of the IAM.

According to the DOL, IAM members in 884 Local Lodges cast ballots in April 2014 and properly elected R. Thomas Buffenbarger as International President, Robert Roach, Jr. as General Secretary-Treasurer and the following nine U.S. General Vice Presidents: Lynn D. Tucker, Jr., Robert G. Martinez, Jr., Philip J. Gruber, Gary R. Allen, Sito Pantoja, Mark A. Blondin, Diane M. Babineaux and Dora H. Cervantes.

International President Tom Buffenbarger

International President Tom Buffenbarger

“Our members have spoken loud and clear,” said International President Buffenbarger. “The IAM tradition of democracy and accountability is equal to any challenge it faces. Now it’s time to focus all our energy on building an even stronger union for the next generation of IAM members.

“On behalf of the entire Executive Council, I would like to thank the members and their Local Lodges for their support,” said Buffenbarger. “I’m proud to serve with the outstanding individuals on our Executive Council and with the many dedicated representatives and staff at every level of our union.”

Click here for the Report of Grand Lodge Election Tellers.

The Executive Council

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For more information on the Members of the Executive Council click here

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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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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

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“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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