Love and friendship on the picket line: This week in labour news

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From a win on the prairies to spring in the air on the picket lines of Ontario.

Some disputes seem to be winding down in the post-secondary sector but the struggle is far from over, as workers continue to protect their labour rights from sea to shining sea to shining sea.

 

  • Classes will resume at the University of Northern British Columbia. The university's administration and the Faculty Association have yet to reach an agreement but the strike is on hold while the parties enter into mediation.

  • Teaching Assistants at the University of Toronto will vote today on whether or not to accept a tentative agreement reached earlier this week.

  • B.C. government announced a $0.20 raise in minimum wage to $10.45 an hour, and a commitment to index that wage to inflation in the coming years. The B.C. Federation of Labour says that while indexation is a start, it will do nothing to lift minimum-wage workers out of poverty. 

  • Some headway has been made for Crown Holding workers this week! The Ontario government has appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission to look in to the 18-month long labour dispute between can manufacturer Crown Holdings and the workers at its Toronto plant.

  • Best headline of the week award goes to Doug Nesbitt's Rank and File article Roll up the Boss to Win, which tells of a Winnipeg Tim Hortons' struggle to unionize. Tim Hortons threatened to shut down the restaurants if the workers formed a union, and actually fired one worker who they identified as talking to union organizers. The worker was ultimately rehired after the union started an online petition, mobilizing huge support for the fired employee.

  • The Ontario government plans to gradually sell off Hydro One, the province's publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution company, a plan which CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn says will cost Ontario billions in revenue.

  • Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff talks essential services and government intervention in labour disputes with The Globe and Mail.

  • Ontario's Norfolk and Niagara Counties may soon be home to 140 striking health-care workers if a deal is not reached by April 10. Their employer is CarePartners, and the newly certified members of OPSEU local 294 say they have been trying to bargain a first contract for the past 20 months with no success.

  • Is this a good jobs strategy? Fifty people will soon be without jobs as the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD) loses its wastepaper sorting and disposal contract with Library and Archives Canada so that the government can save $124,600 a year.

  • Pick up on the picket line with OkCUPE, a website to connect strikers at York and U of T for love and friendship.

  • Daycare workers in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia weren't feeling too springlike as they picketed despite monumental snow storms. They've just ratified an agreement with their employer after four days on strike in the snow, fighting for higher wages. That's some snowy solidarity!

  • Air Canada workers are holding information pickets today at Pearson International Airport to call attention to potential layoffs of more than 260 workers who service passengers with special needs.

  • Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announces the repeal of highly controversial Bill 45, which strips some workers of their right to speak freely about labour action.

 

Ella Bedard is rabble's labour intern and an associate editor at GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine. She has written about labour issues for Dominion.ca and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People

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