Call to action: Stop Bill C-377!


Update: Harper pushed through C-377.  Story here.  It's off to court we go...

Voting on final passage of Private Members Bill C-377 has not yet taken place.  Please do your part below!  Its passage is not guaranteed, and we still have a chance to convince our local Conservative Members of Parliament to vote against it, abstain, or be absent for the vote.

Bill C-377 aims to put unions out of business by imposing a harsh administrative burden on them that would be faced by no other type of organization in Canada.   On the government end, the cost of administering this assassination of unions would make the cost of the gun registry seem paltry by comparison.

C-377 will make far less funding available for charitable organizations, community events, and amateur sports.  It will force disclosure of competitive details of contracts unions have with third parties, could compromise solicitor-client privilege, and violate the privacy of union members and the companies that do business with unions.  Critics from a variety of backgrounds universally agree that Bill C-377 violates constitutional rights on several fronts.


What can you do?  At this stage, a telephone call will carry a lot of weight.


Contact your local MP:

Rick Dykstra - Constituency office: 905-934-6767  Rick.Dykstra@parl.gc.ca

Dean Allison - Constituency office: 905-563-7900  Allison.D@parl.gc.ca

Send a letter online: Stop Bill C-377


More information on Bill C-377:
Bill C-377 aka The Expensive, Unfair to Unions Bill
Ken Georgetti speak to the House of Commons about Bill C-377
Full CLC submission to the House of Commons re: Bill C-377
Canadian Privacy Commission speaks against Bill C-377 (video)
Canadian Bar Association urges Parliament not to pass Bill C-377
Canadian Bar Association letter opposing Bill C-377
Canadian Lawyer Magazine
The Riddle of Bill C-377 and Solicitor-Client Privilege
Bill C-377: Transparently Anti-Union
Bill C-377: An invasion of privacy and attack on dissent
Status and text of Bill C-377

Bill 115 Threatens the Rights of All Workers

On September 11th, the Ontario Liberal government passed Bill 115: An Act to implement restraint measures in the education sector (the so-called "Putting Students First Act").  This act imposes the terms of the OECTA memorandum of understanding on the entire education sector.

The bill eliminates education workers' right to strike, allows the Minister of Education to unilaterally set the terms of collective agreements, and among other things eliminates the ability of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and arbitrators to make rulings on whether Bill 115 is constitutional or violates the Ontario Human Rights Code.  It also states that nothing under Bill 115 "shall be questioned or reviewed in any court."

Clearly, this is not the type of legislation we expect to see arising in a free democratic country like Canada.  The education sector unions have already launched a legal challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a variety of escalating actions will be happening this year in response.  ETFO is posting updates on the bargaining process at controlyourfuture.ca.  For workers in other sectors, the simple question is "Who's Next?"  Bill 115 must be thoroughly opposed.

There will be a protest this Friday September 14th at 4:00pm outside the offices of Jim Bradley and Tim Hudak.  Everyone who cares about education and/or their constitutional rights is welcome to attend.

Please express your outrage by sending a message to your MPP.

Rally for Education at Queen's Park


On August 27th the government is set to pass unprecedented anti-collective bargaining legislation that strips us of our constitutionally protected rights and imposes so-called "agreements" on education workers.  The fallout of this legislation will affect the entire labour movement and all workers.

On August 28th, ETFO, CUPE, and OSSTF will be holding a protest at Queen's Park from noon till 1:30pm.  Everyone is welcome.

There will be free buses leaving from the CAW Hall at 124 Bunting Rd. at 9:00am on Tuesday.  The bus will leave Queen's Park at 2:00pm to return home.  Bring a lunch and something to drink.

We need you on the bus!  To reserve your spot (and help me know how many buses we'll need), please RSVP by e-mailing mark@niagaraot.org

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/401400006589455/


Update: Over 15,000 people were in attendance yesterday, here's an article.

Unpacking the changes to EI and the Temporary Foreign Workers program

The CLC is hosting a free workshop to examine the changes to Employment Insurance which have been ushered in with the passage of the Harper federal budget bill (along with pushing back Old Age Security to age 67 and gutting environmental regulations).  If your work schedule is such that you rely on EI, or even if you want to ensure it's there for you if your currently reliable employment falls through, then you'll want to attend this workshop to learn about what's changing.

Join workers, labour activists, experts, and community allies who are committed to protecting and strengthening the rights of newcomers to our province's labour market for an evening workshop. We will discuss upcoming change to EI and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, and the effects they will have on the community. Together we can strategize on how best to fight these changes.

Date: June 27, 2012
Location: St. Catharines Public Library (Bankers' Room), 54 Church St.
Time: 6:30-8:30 PM

To view and download the poster, please click here: http://bit.ly/NV5t6I

For more information and to register, please contact:
Federico Carvajal at: fcarvajal@clc-ctc.ca

Solidarity Celebration on June 8th


On June 8th, the Niagara Regional Labour Council is hosting a Solidarity Celebration in support of CUPE 1287 workers at the Lincoln County Humane Society.  Citizens, community groups, and unions all showed a tremendous amount of support for these workers and helped make a settlement possible.  Through the strength of standing together, LCHS workers were able to prevail.

These workers were on strike from February 24 to May 18, 2012.  They weren't asking for more, they were simply fighting to preserve the basics: full-time employment and benefits.

The event will take place at the CAW Hall, 124 Bunting Rd., St. Catharines.  Admission is $5.00, and there will be speakers, music, and food.  Event begins at 7:30 PM.  Event Flyer

You can also support these workers in other ways (some are still active):

1) Add your name to the online petition.

2) Follow that up by sending e-mails to the Board of Directors.

3) Show up at the picket to support the workers.  Pickets are going on 7 days a week from 8:30am-4pm at the LCHS located at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Louth Street in St. Catharines.  In addition, there are now "Strooband Resign" demonstrations being held Wednesday evenings from 7pm-9pm. 

4) Join the Strooband Resign Facebook group.

5) Finally, you can financially support the workers.  Cheques can be made payable to the "CUPE Local 1287 Strike Fund" and mailed to 133 Front Street North, Thorold, Ontario, L2V 0A3.

April 21st Day of Action Against Cuts!

Join us on April 21st at Queen's Park to rally against government cuts!



Bus Departure Times and Locations:

10:45am Port Colborne: Steelworkers Hall, 2-87 Clarence Street
11:15am Welland: Welland Hydro, 950 East Main Street
11:45am Thorold: Niagara RegionalHeadquarters, 2201 St. David’s Road
12:00pm (noon) St. Catharines: CAW 199 Hall, 124 Bunting Road
1:30 pm Toronto Steelworkers Hall: Lunch Provided


For more information contact nrlc.clc@gmail.com or call Daniel Peat at 905-933-1889.

Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/A21NoCuts
Twitter: #A21DOA

CLC Analysis of the Federal Budget

The Canadian Labour Congress has published its analysis of the federal budget, which can be read here.

Budgets are all about choices. With unemployment and underemployment still at very high levels and a shrinking middle-class, the federal government could and should have laid the basis for a sustained and broadly shared economic recovery.

The federal government should be taking a larger and stronger role in making the economy work for average Canadians, and developing policies that ensure that all Canadians can afford their basic needs in tough times.

Instead, we got a budget that cuts jobs rather than creates jobs; which attacks needed public services and social programs; and undermines rather than enhances retirement security.

Further analysis here.

OFL responds to Ontario Budget


TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2012

OFL:ONTARIO BUDGET DELIVERS BILLIONS TO BANKERS BUT JOB LOSS AND DEEP CUTS FOR ONTARIO FAMILIES


(TORONTO, ON.) -- Today, the McGuinty government delivered two budgets to the province: a lucrative one for corporations and the financial sector and another full of deep cuts to core services for everyone else. McGuinty’s stubborn refusal to increase provincial revenue through the fair taxation of banks and corporations will cost many their jobs and many more their livelihoods.

“McGuinty hasn’t given us a balanced budget, he’s given us a banker’s budget. It was drafted by a banker, for bankers, so it is no surprise that this budget shields the financial and private sector from sharing the burden of a deficit they helped to create,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “Simply rolling corporate tax cuts back by 1.5 percent would generate enough revenue to cancel cuts to social assistance and increase the income of recipients by 25 percent. Instead of looking for fair measures to generate revenue, McGuinty is asking the most vulnerable to make greater sacrifices.”

Today's budget will uphold three years of corporate tax cuts that continue to starve the province of billions in revenue while imposing “more than half” of the 362 cuts in the Drummond Commission’s five-year plan. Lack of funding will cause child care centres to close and force some working mothers out of the labour market. Frozen benefits payments for lifeline services like the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works will amount to a real dollar cut for the most vulnerable. Even funding for so-called “protected programs,” like education and health care, will lag nearly 5 percent behind inflation and population growth, leading to layoffs and service reductions.

“This budget reflects a profound lack of leadership from the Liberals. Instead of a plan to create jobs and grow the economy, McGuinty has offered us no plan at all. It is the same lack of vision that lost McGuinty his majority but it will cost working people much more,” said Ryan. “You simply can’t cut your way to prosperity. You have to make investments that will grow the economy, keep people working and help families get back on their feet.”

When it comes to labour relations, McGuinty’s budget strikes an ominous tone. While purporting to support free collective bargaining and falling short of legislating a wage freeze for unionized workers, the budget threatens government intervention to impose administrative or legislative measures as it sees fit.

“Ontarians never gave McGuinty a mandate to cut jobs and undermine the social safety net. Thankfully, we have a minority government that requires compromise for the budget to pass,” said Ryan. “The vast majority of Ontarians want corporations and the well-to-do to pay their fair share. Since McGuinty is ignoring the electorate, we will take our demands directly to Queen’s Park. Over 60 labour unions and community groups have already pledged to challenge McGuinty’s agenda of cuts in a mass rally at Queen’s Park on April 21.”

The OFL represents one million workers across Ontario and President Sid Ryan is the voice of Ontario’s labour movement. For details on the April 21 Day of Action Against Cuts, visit http://www.OFL.ca.

Related Web Sites:
http://www.Twitter.com/OntarioLabour
http://www.Facebook.com/OntarioFedLabour

For More Information:
Patrick (Sid) Ryan, President
p: 416.441.2731 | m: 416.209.0066 | f: 416.441.0722
Toll-free: 1-800-668-9138
Joel Duff, Communications Director
p: 416-443-7665 | m: 416-707-0349 | f: 416-441-1893

NRLC Federal NDP Leadership Forum


Update: Nathan Cullen and Paul Dewar were able to attend (Brian Topp was stuck in a meeting), and we even had a brief surprise appearance by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.  Both candidates exemplified the high calibre of candidates that are running for the NDP leadership.  Both were dynamic, informed, and capable of doing the job.  I'd suggest that viewing the Leadership Debate video archive is a good idea.

The St. Catharines Standard wrote a good article covering the evening, read it here.

*****

The Niagara Regional Labour Council is sponsoring a Federal NDP Leadership Forum at Club Capri, 36 Cleveland Street, Thorold, from 6:30 to 9 pm on Thursday, February 23rd.

Nathan Cullen, Paul Dewar, and Brian Topp are all confirmed.  Peggy Nash may also be able to attend.  A poster is available here.

Remember, make sure you're a member of the NDP by February 18th to be eligible to vote for the new leader (aka the next Prime Minister!).  Membership is just $25, or $5 if you're under/unemployed.  Join here!

MP Rob Nicholson's office occupied in support of OAS and Retirement Security


A group of pensioners, soon-to-be pensioners, labour activists and supporters, angry at the Harper Government’s announcement that it intends to cut Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, are presently occupying the Constituency Office of Conservative MP Rob Nicholson in Niagara Falls, Ontario. They are among hundreds of other seniors, retirees, workers and family members who have resorted to holding sit-ins at 21 Ontario Tory constituency offices, to demand that retirees and seniors be elevated out of poverty.

“Our government should be supporting retirees and seniors, not greedy corporations,” said Daniel Peat, President of the Niagara Regional Labour Council. “Harper is spending billions to reduce corporate taxes but he refuses to call on these same corporations to invest a fraction of their publicly-subsidized savings in pensioners. Only a minor increase in Canada Pension Plan contributions would double CPP benefits for all retirees and seniors.”

Outraged constituents have resorted to occupying their local constituency offices to demand that Conservative Members of Parliament abandon plans to push back the OAS eligibility age from 65 to 67, or reduce pension benefits. Instead, they are calling for the Harper government to introduce modest increases to Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions that would double benefits for all retirees and seniors.

“There is no excuse for Prime Minister Harper to cut the meagre incomes of pensioners or consign the working poor to two more years of poverty. Nearly every economist and the government’s own Parliamentary Watch Dog, Kevin Page, are forecasting the long-term sustainability of public pensions,” said Ryan. “If Harper thinks that he can take on retirees and seniors in this country without a fight from the labour movement, he is sorely mistaken. Harper has touched the 'third rail' of Canadian politics and in doing so he has unleashed a labour and seniors movement of ‘Blue-Grey Power’ that is prepared to mobilize the public to defend the income security of the retirees of today and tomorrow.”

For a full list of occupations currently taking place in Conservative MP constituency offices across Ontario, visit: www.OFL.ca

Niagara Workers Protest Caterpillar Lock-out in London

A slideshow of photos from the London Day of Action against Caterpillar's lock-out of its workers.


London's Calling... Will You Answer?


Join us on January 21st for the London Day of Action Against Corporate Greed.

Free Transportation from Niagara leaves CAW 199 (124 Bunting Rd., St. Catharines) at 8:00 am. To reserve a seat on the bus, phone (905) 682-2611.

Electro-Motive, a subsidiary of U.S. industrial giant Caterpillar Inc., wants to strong-arm workers at its London plant into a pay cut of over 50 percent, dropping hourly wages from $35 to $16.50. It is also imposing devastating cuts to benefits and pensions on members of CAW Local 27 at a time when the company has enjoyed multi-billion-dollar profits and a 20 percent boost to production over last year.

Greedy foreign-owned companies like Electro-Motive/Caterpillar, and far too many others, are exploiting Canada’s lax labour laws and shameful domestic investment protections to break unions and usher in a new era of precarious work and record corporate profits. The labour movement must come together to stop Caterpillar dead in its tracks and defend good jobs in all sectors – public and private.
"The message for employers is simple: support decent jobs and benefits or it won't be business as usual in Ontario." - Sid Ryan
The Ontario Federation of Labour, the London and District Labour Council and the Canadian Labour Congress are calling on workers, retirees, students and community members throughout the province to join the Canadian Autoworkers in mobilizing for a massive Day of Action against Caterpillar in London on Saturday, January 21 at 11:00 am.

Join the rally at Victoria Park, the site of last year’s Occupy London camp, and take a stand against corporate greed.  The future of Ontario jobs depends on it.

Download a flyer to post at work.

Download a petition asking the government to investigate this company under the Foreign Investment Act, and to intervene to help these workers.

Join the Facebook page for the event.