Hundreds of New York City fast-food workers, fed up with poverty wages and abusive working conditions, walked off the job this Thursday, demanding minimum pay of $15 an hour and the right to organize and collectively bargain without fear of retaliation. The strike echoes a similar walkout that took place in the city last November and exemplifies how low-wage non-unionized workers across the U.S. are organizing to fight back against exploitation.
The B.C. Liberal government is poised, once again, to violate the legal rights of workers, this time with Bill 22, which, if it becomes law, will prohibit teachers from striking and limit their collective bargaining rights.
In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the government had violated the Canadian Charter by imposing legislative restrictions on the rights of health workers to bargain collectively. In April 2011, the British Columbia Supreme Court followed that decision to rule that legislation concerning teachers was unconstitutional, and thereby invalid, because it prohibited bargaining on class size, class composition and the ratios of teachers to students.
Tens of thousands of students are on the streets protesting moves by the Québec Liberal government to inflate post-secondary tuition fees by $1,625 in the next five years. A serious grassroots battle is underway as students hold major street protests, sit-ins, and direct actions.
Currently, over 65,000 students in Québec are on an unlimited general strike under the banner Ensemble, bloquons la hausse/Stop the Hike. Over a dozen additional student associations and unions are voting in the coming days whether to join the quickly expanding protest movement, now at the centre of political debate across the province.
A tense marathon meeting saw upwards of 2,000 union members debate a tentative agreement with the university late into the night on Friday. CUPE 3902 represents 7,000 sessionals, teaching assistants and other contract instructional staff at the University of Toronto.
Wayne Dealy, Chair of CUPE 3902 said, "Bargaining a collective agreement is never an easy task, but the best settlements are the ones that are achieved through the hard work of both parties to come to an agreement that both sides can live with."
For the latest update on this story please see: No strike today as mass meeting sends U of T agreement to ratification
A tentative agreement was reached early in the morning between the University of Toronto and CUPE 3902, the union that represents 7,000 sessionals, teaching assistants, and other contract instructional staff.
However, it appears the union's bargaining committee was split on accepting the deal and two of its members, Chief Spokeperson James Nugent and Recording Secretary Ashleigh Ingle, have resigned from the committee in protest.
2011 has been a historic year of revolt. There have been revolutions across the Arab world, general strikes across Europe, a massive campaign to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and a massive working class fightbacks in Wisconsin and Ohio. Now, the Occupy movement has spread to over 1,700 countries worldwide.
But as police begin evictions and winter approaches, how can we build on this year of resistance and beat back austerity and the corporate attack?
With a looming lockout of city workers in Toronto and saber-rattling against Iran, join a public forum on how the 99% can unite and fight to win.