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Labour Day tradition

The Labour Day parade is a tradition that dates back more than 100 years in Toronto. This year's parade gets underway Monday at 9:30a.m. at Queen Street and University Avenue.

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Labour Day lessons: Building a force for progressive change

Labour Day is here. A last opportunity to enjoy a little bit of the summer with our friends, family and loved ones. But for the labour movement, it’s a time to do more than reflect -- Labour Day is a time to think about moving ahead, and where we need to go as a social movement.

We learned this year during strikes in Windsor and Toronto that the easiest way for business and government to avoid responsibility for the mistakes they have made for decades is to deflect blame and accuse unionized workers of being out of touch with new realities. It conveniently ignores the reality they created, while helping to perpetuate their hold on power, as if they hadn’t created the conditions which led to our current economic crisis.

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Labour Day weekend: A time to be thankful for union power

On Labour Day 2009 everyone should give a special thanks for union power and hope that it grows stronger. Of course, this is not a message you read every day and some people may even be angered by it, but the truth is our society depends on unions to say “no” to the destructive forces unleashed by capitalism’s economic downturns. As an elected union official I’ve seen the demands for cutbacks and concessions grow since the beginning of the year. When the economy turns down the reaction of many companies is to cut back on spending. Often this means chopping wages. Sometimes it means chopping jobs. This makes sense to the owners of individual companies, to management and even to some workers. But, what does it mean to the economy as a whole?

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Air Canada's second brush with bankruptcy proves that deregulation has been a failure

As chief negotiator for the CAW in the recent round of talks with Air Canada, I have seen first-hand the shortcomings of privatizing and deregulating key sectors of our economy.

After months of bargaining, all five Air Canada unions have now agreed to cost-neutral collective agreements for a period of 21 months. We've joined the retirees in agreeing to allow Air Canada a funding moratorium on past contributions to the pension plan for the same period. This is a funding risk that will be borne by the employees and retirees in order to help Air Canada through bad times.

Air Canada is once again teetering on the brink of bankruptcy protection (CCAA), after just emerging from CCAA six years ago.

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| July 18, 2009

Collective bargaining

A poster that shows public and private hands: together we bargain divided we beg

Unions are typically responsible for collective bargaining but what if a workplace has yet to be unionized? Workers still can effectively negotiate with employers as long as they maintain solidarity throughout. An employer can't risk all of her/his employees walking out at once or refusing certain tasks. Because of this workers can band together and make specific demands to improve the workplace. This guide will cover:

What collective bargaining is

How to decide demands

Marching on the boss

Harper's impact

 

Collective bargaining

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Labour comes together

Over 1600 union activists gathered in Toronto May 7 to discuss strategies for confronting the economic crisis. (Photo: Michelle Langlois)

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Mourn and organize

Tuesday, April 28 is the National Day of Mourning for workers who lost their lives on the job.

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U.S. 'Black liquor' could cause hangover for Canadian pulp and paper

The grand vin of Canada-U.S. free trade is hard to swallow these days because it has been mixed up with a shooter that is priced in half gallons and appropriately named “black liquor.”

The black liquor raising U.S. spirits and leaving us with a hangover is a concentrated residue of wood lignin that is a byproduct of making kraft pulp.  The “liquor” is separated out in a recovery boiler and then used as fuel to keep the boiler going. 

Now, some enterprising American pulp and paper producers have implemented a spectacularly fraudulent scheme to generate billions dollars in tax credits from their black liquor use.  It is a massive subsidy which directly imperils Canadian pulp and paper mills and thousands of jobs.

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Just what we don't need: An investor rights deal with the EU

How many Canadians realize the Harper government is well into detailed talks aimed at concluding a comprehensive “free trade” agreement with the European Union?

Probably not many yet, though hopefully more will soon. In light of the bad experience with NAFTA and other similar trade deals worldwide, the last thing we need right now is yet another investor rights agreement, this time to increase the power of European and Canadian corporations at the expense of Canadian and European citizens. But corporate lobby groups like the Canadian Council of Chief Executives are relentless. Even though the global economic meltdown has totally discredited the prescription of deregulation, privatization and free trade, they continue to insist we need still more of it.

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