Well attended TPP Townhall

Today's event on the Trans Pacific Partnership was attended by 45 people including two guests from the U.S., one of whom was a the President of a UAW local in Lockport, NY. Below are introductory remarks of NRLC VP Bruce Allen, who acted as a Chair.

NRLC's cheque to Fallen Workers Memorial

On October 18th, Niagara Regional Labour Council (NRLC) and local Union representatives presented a cheque for $25,000 to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial Task Force Chair (St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik) and Campaign Chair (Greg Wight). The Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial will be unveiled in 2017 near Lock 3 of the Welland Canal.

The fourth Welland Canal, built between 1913 and 1932, resulted in the death of 137 workers. In 1932, the Government of Canada promised to establish a memorial to honour the men whose lives were lost during the construction of the fourth Welland Canal – it will take 85 years for that promise to be fulfilled.
The deaths were devastating for family members, local communities, and communities in places as far away as Italy and Poland, as there was a significant number of immigrants who helped build the Welland Canal.

In the photo:
Front Row (Left):
Lara Lorge, Steward for CUPE 1757; Mohammad Nazir, Unifor 199 and NRLC Executive Committee Member; Lou Ann Binning, President of the NRLC and President of CUPW 614; St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik, Task Force Chair of the WCFWM; Greg Wight, Campaign Chair of the WCFWM; Kara Emberson, on behalf of MP Vance Badawey; Susan Erskine-Fournier, Unifor 199 and NRLC Recording Secretary; Mark Roy, Vice-President (V.P.) of Unifor 199.
Back Row (Left):
Shane Jenkins, President of CUPE 1295; Bruce Allen, Past President of Unifor 199 and V.P. of Niagara North for the NRLC; Sheri Laekeman, Past President of Unifor 4212 and WCFWM Task Force Member; Daniel Peat, Past President of OSSTF D22 and Past President of the NRLC; Bruce Timms, Regional Councillor and WCFWM Task Force Member; Brian Hodgkins, Health and Safety Coordinator for CUPE 1287; Chris Grawey, CUPE 4207, V.P. of Niagara South for the NRLC, and WCFWM Task Force Member.
Thanks to the 27 Union Locals in Niagara that contributed to the NRLC’s $25,000 donation:
ATU 1602, BUFA, COPE 343, CUPE 150, CUPE 157, CUPE 1263, CUPE 1287, CUPE 1295, CUPE 1757, CUPE 2977, CUPE 4156, CUPE 4207, CUPW 614, CUPW 628, IBEW 636, ETFO Niagara, ETFO Niagara - Occasional Teachers, OPSEU 212, OPSEU 215, OPSEU 242, OSSTF District 22, OSSTF District 35, Teamsters 879, UFCW 1000A, Unifor 199, Unifor 4401, and USW 6428.

See Press Release here.

NRLC contributes $25,000 to Fallen Workers memorial

A ceremonial presentation of a cheque for $25,000 that NRLC affiliates donated to the Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial will be held on Tuesday, October 18th at 3:30 p.m. at the site of the memorial north of Lock 3 in St. Catharines. 

Welland Canal Fallen Workers Speaker Series

Welland Public Library hosts Welland Canal Fallen Workers Speaker Series.  Beginning this Fall and continuing into Spring 2017, the Welland Public Library will be hosting this series which will focus on those whose lives were sacrificed in the construction of the Welland Canal.  The speakers are experts in their fields and include:

•       Terry Hughes (The Canal Landscape of Welland – Sep. 27)
•       Andy Panko (Welland Canal Construction Railway – Oct 25)
•       Isabel Bachmann (Medical Services on the Canal – Nov 29)
•       Debra Antoncic (Art & Poetry on the Canal – Jan 31)
•       Arden Phair (Life & Death on the Welland Canal – March 28)
•       Sara King (Lock 6 Gate Collapse – April 25)

Each presentation will take place in the Community Room at Welland Civic Square starting at 7:00 p.m.

This speaker series will precede the launch of a new book highlighting the Welland Canal Fallen Workers in 2017.  A monument to those who sacrificed their lives to build the canal is also planned.  Welland Public Library would be honored to have you attend this Speaker Series.

Registration is not required. Please contact Jason Redshaw, Coordinator of Adult Services at 905-734-6210, ext. 2503 or jredshaw@wellandlibrary.ca for more information.


The Trans Pacific Partnership is one of three trade agreements* that will allow corporate interference in, and rule over many regions of our civic and personal lives: the economy, health care, social programs and services, the environment, and privacy protection. Under the agreement the super wealthy corporate owners can sue governments of signatory states** for non-compliance, should for example a policy or domestic law protect the environment, public assets, etc.

 In the words of Chris Hedges:
"These three agreements solidify the creeping corporate coup d’├ętat along with the final evisceration of national sovereignty. Citizens will be forced to give up control of their destiny and will be stripped of the ability to protect themselves from corporate predators, safeguard the ecosystem and find redress and justice in our now anemic and often dysfunctional democratic institutions. The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement."

The NRLC has made six presentations at city councils in the Niagara Region. Six councils passed a motion to oppose TPP: St. Catharines, Port Colborne, Fort Erie, Welland, Thorold, Niagara Falls.

*TiSA Trade in Services Agreement and TTIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Workers of countries affected by these there brazen corporate power grabs rally, march, lay strike and protest against it.

**Canada is one of the 12 signatories to TTP. Australia, Brunei, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Chile, Peru, USA, Vietnam.

Response to Changing Workplaces Review

October 14 deadline for feedback on Changing Workplaces Review Interim Report

  • Workers' Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services have published a response to the Changing Workplaces Review. Download it here. They have also prepared a sample cover letter for others to use as a template while endorsing the WAC & PCLS submission: available here.
  • The Ontario Federation of Labour is also working on a submission that can serve as a template document and we will share it as soon as it is ready for distribution. We are encouraging all groups to support the OFL's submission.

NEW MUSIC VIDEO: Raise the Minimum Wage to $15

Please join us in calling for at least $15 an hour for all workers now. Watch and share this fantastic music video written, performed and produced by Nadine MacKinnon. And don't forget to tweet Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne @Kathleen_Wynne and Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn @MPPKevinFlynn to let them know that all workers deserve at least $15 an hour - NOW! Please use #15andFairness and #MakeItFair.

Successful Presentation to Ban Asbestos at Niagara Regional Headquarters

From left: John Pula, retired Unifor 199 H&S Representative Renee Guay, health and safety advocate, and Chris Grawey, NRLC Vice President, Niagara South