This week in the labour movement, the struggle continues: 10,000 University workers walked picket lines in Toronto while locked out newspaper workers continue to face the cold in Halifax. Meanwhile, long labour disputes continue in B.C. continue and negotiations reach a standstill in Nunavut. But don't take my word for it: read on!
- University workers at the University of Toronto and York University both voted this week to reject tentative agreements, triggering a strike for more than 10,000 Teaching Assistants and instructors at the two schools. gives context to the strike, while rabble.ca's Christina Turner sets the mainstream media straight, and Rank and File have been providing great context too.
- In another episode of campus conflict, CUPE Local 3912, representing 1,600 part-time instructors, teaching assistants and markers at Halifax's Dalhousie University have filed a Bargaining in Bad Faith complaint against their employer.
- Following almost two weeks of a lockout, Chronicle Herald pressroom workers are voting on a tentative agreement today. For updates on today's vote you can follow Friends of The Chronicle Herald Newsroom.
- And don't forget about the trains! 126 workers at SRY rail have been locked out since January 5. The locked out CUPE 7000 workers formed a new picket line on Thursday outside Canadian Pacific’s rail yard in Port Coquitlam B.C. to protest scab labour being performed by CP Rail. Southern Rail managers have been running the trains, but CP Rail has been helping them with line switching inside SRY’s Trapp Yard in New Westminster.
- Apparently using managers as replacement labour is all the rage in the train business. According to CP's CEO Hunter Harrison, the company will be able to carry on with business as usual in the event of another strike, thanks to the company's practice of training managers to drive and load trains. Meanwhile, the Labour Board ruled this week that CP was guilty of multiple violations of the Labour Code.
- Update Nova Scotia's Bill 1 saga: The four unions that represent health care workers in Nova Scotia have announced that they will be working with Government on a new option for representation of their members after a complicated mediation-arbitration process that left Nova Scotians with more questions than answers. All four unions have agreed on a media blackout that will be in effect immediately and until further notice.
- In B.C., 105 striking ambulance attendants have put their job action on hold. Members of CUPE 873-03 have successfully applied to the BC Labour Relations Board for a mediator in stalled talks while trying to negotiate a first contract for workers at SN Transport.
- Preparing for a financial squeeze due to the drop in oil revenues, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announced his government's plan to “streamline” the public sector labour negotiation process to make it “more fair to tax payers.” In response, a coalition of major public-sector unions are launching a province-wide campaign aimed at saving public services from deep cuts, and encouraging the provincial government to address its budget woes by fixing the province’s broken revenue system.
- Workers at the Qulliq Energy Corporation in Nunavut have voted 92 per cent in favour of strike. Qulliq provides electricity to Nunavut communities. Unionized with the Nunavut Employees' Union, the 140 workers have been without a contract for more than a year. The earliest they could strike would be after the Easter long weekend in April.
Ella Bedard is rabble.ca'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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