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| May 28, 2014

The changing role of unions: An interview with Ken Neumann of the United Steelworkers

As its name suggests, United Steelworkers (USW) once represented the legions of steel workers across North America. But as jobs in the steel industry moved to far flung corners of the world, USW began to change, integrating new job sectors into a union that now has over 800,000 members worldwide.

Ken Neumann is the Canadian national director of USW, representing over 200,000 Canadian workers. He's been a member of USW since the late seventies. Labour beat reporter H.G. Watson spoke to him about their potential merger with the Telecommunications Workers Union, and the challenges facing labour today. This is a condensed and edited version of their conversation.


From New York to Hong Kong: Striking workers shut down fast food joints, ports and schools

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.



Wal-Mart hit by widespread labour actions on Black Friday

January 3, 2013
| Co-ordinated and historic protests and strikes took place at over a thousand Wal-Mart stores in November. The actions were organized independently by workers in the stores and focused on local issues.
Length: 18:02 minutes (16.52 MB)

B.C. teachers' right to strike: Bill 22 violates rights of workers and rule of law

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.


Asia Pacific Currents

India's general strike

March 3, 2012
| This week on Asia Pacific Currents, we look at the general strike in India that was held this past Tuesday, February 28.
Length: 31:02

Is the Québec student strike a spark?

Photo: Stefan Christoff

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.


No strike today as mass meeting sends U of T agreement to ratification

CUPE 3902 members vote on the proposed agreement after a five-hour mass meeting. Photo: Mick Sweetman

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."


CUPE 3902 bargaining committee members protest tentative agreement by resigning

A protester wears a picket sign during a rally in support of CUPE 3902 on Feb. 16, 2012. Photo: Mick Sweetman

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.


Asia Pacific Currents

Workers in the Syrian uprising

February 11, 2012
| Labour updates from the Asia Pacific region and an interview with Ms. Rafif Jouejati, from Local Co-ordinating Committee Syria, on workers in the Syrian uprising.
Length: 31:19
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