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Two Canadians detained after Israel illegally seizes Freedom Flotilla III ship

Photo: Canadian Boat to Gaza

Two Canadians aboard Freedom Flotilla III, Robert Lovelace and Kevin Neish, remain in custody after their ship, the Marianne de Goteborg was illegally seized by the Israeli navy early Monday morning, in international waters. 

They're being held at Givon detention centre in Ramla, Israel where they are awaiting deportation, said David Heap, the spokesperson in Canada for the Freedom Flotilla.

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Postal workers' union alleges union-busting by Canada Post

Photo: flickr/Davidd

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) alleges Canada Post is practising union-busting, after the Crown corporation dropped its contract with the unionized temporary agency that had been staffing its international parcel intake plants.

"Canada Post makes the decision as to who gets the contract, and we believed they deliberately went to a different company to avoid CUPW and to avoid having a unionized group of workers processing the parcels," said CUPW 3rd Vice-President George Floresco.

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This week in labour: Strike with Pride!

Photo: flickr/Nicholas Nico Valenton

It's Pride season! If there is a parade or march in your hometown this month, you'll probably see a few union floats and flags mixed in with all the rainbows.

In recent decades, the labour movement has become increasingly involved in defending the rights of gay, lesbian, queer, and trans workers.

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LGBTIQ public servants demand apology for the Canadian war on queers

Photo: We Demand An Apology Network used with permission

From the late 1950’  until the 1990’s, thousands of LGBTQ men and women in the Canadian public service and military were targeted by major national security campaigns. Fuelled by Cold War paranoia, these men and women were spied on, interrogated, and harassed by security agents, and hundreds of people lost their jobs.

Gary Kinsman is one of Canada’s leading sociologists and long-time activists on LGBTQ and poverty issues, among other things. In The Canadian War on Queers, Kinsman and co-author Patrizia Gentile take stock of this dark chapter in Canadian history. 

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Soon-to-be lawyer wins right to wear regalia when she is called to the bar

Photo: Christina Gray with permission

Christina Gray will set a strong precedent when she is called to the bar this week.

In a sea of black barristers' robes at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall, Gray, a proud member of the Lax Kw'alaams Tsimshian, will be wearing her woollen black and red Tsimshian button blanket and her cedar hat. On her back there will be a hand-sewn killer whale, representing her clan.

The regalia represents her Tsimshian culture, laws, ways of being and history, said Gray.

Gray will be the first in Ontario to wear First Nations regalia instead of the traditional barristers' robes when called to the bar on Tuesday.

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Ruling opens door for human rights complaints

Photo: flickr/Douglas Sprott

The Divisional Court of Ontario has upheld a ruling that lets complaints heard by professional bodies like the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) or College of Physicians and Surgeons be brought to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) as well. 

Until 2013, It was not clear whether discrimination complaints against a professional body could be taken to the OHRT as well. 

However, on May 27 the Ontario Divisional Court upheld an earlier ruling that a complainant can do both.   

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Justice for Janitors campaigns to make cleaning staff invisible no more

Photo:flickr/Rik-Shaw

When you’re working a low-wage job, life is about choices. 

Lyne Giard works as a cleaner in a water purification plant in Ottawa. She is a shop steward for her union, SEIU Local 2, and because she makes $13.50 an hour, she says she is one of the lucky ones.

"Cleaning has always been a lower paid job, and people work very hard, physically," said Giard. "You work hard all day and in order to make things happen financially, most people have to work two jobs or even three jobs. Emotionally, physically it’s overwhelming."

"If you work two or three jobs you aren’t home for your kids, and you end up giving less to your family."

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This week in labour: Lessons in broad-based organizing

Photo: Flickr/The All-Nite Images

Monday, June 15th marked the 25th anniversary of the Justice for Janitors Day campaign.

Initiated by SEIU in Los Angeles, Justice for Janitors is both a union drive and movement that has spread across the US and Canada.

By incorporating unions and community groups to link workers’ rights to other social justice issues like immigration reform, the “J4J” campaign piloted a model of organizing that is being replicated by fast food workers and other broad-based campaigns, like Ontario’s fight for 15 and fairness.  

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New labour legislation needed to deal with precarious work: Let the consultations begin!

Photo: flickr/My name's axel

This week the Ontario Ministry of Labour initiated a series of public consultations on the changing nature of the modern workplace. 

The consultations are part of the Changing Workplace Review, which will consider how Ontario's current labour legislations could be reformed to support people in 'non-standard jobs,' meaning part-time, temporary or independent contract work. 

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Ontario wants students to learn about Indigenous treaties

Photo: flickr/ Caleb Roenigk

According to the official Government of Ontario website, Ontario is covered by 46 treaties and similar agreements. These were established between the years 1781 and 1930. However, while those of us who have progressed through Ontario's education system most likely recall a rudimentary overview of Indigenous cultures and contributions in social studies class, learning about the substance of treaties was rarely emphasized.

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