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New study points to a new normal: Job insecurity.

Photo: flickr/Jef Safi

A new study released today confirms the broad ranging consequences of precarious labour in urban areas of southern Ontario.

In 2013, PEPSO, a research partnership between United Way Toronto and McMaster University conducted a major study on precarious labour in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. Using data collected from a survey of over 4,000 workers and 28 in-depth interviews, The Precarity Penalty, released today, builds on those findings.

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This week in labour: The precarious workers edition

Photo: flickr/Matthias Ripp

Usually this roundup provides a sampling of the going-ons of organized labour across the country. But this week, there's been a lot of media attention given to precarious workers -- a growing group that's often much harder to organize. They are all around us: from the grocery store aisles to the newsroom, job insecurity is becoming the new normal for low- and middle-income earners across all demographics. So here's to the temp-agency-working, part-time, freelancing, contract folk. Sometimes you need the labour roundup love, too. 

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Precarious labour debated in Parliament

Photo: Andrew Cash

Andrew Cash wonders why there aren't any labour ballads about cashiers. Considering the changing nature of work in this country, the Davenport MP and former musician thinks we need some new tunes to match the times.

On Thursday, Members of the House of Commons had their first opportunity to debate the issue of precarious and freelance labour in Parliament. 

Bill C-542, the Urban Workers Strategy Act, was put forward as a private member's bill by Cash in 2013, and has now been submitted for its second reading in the House.

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How can a Canadian mining company sue El Salvador for $301 million?

Photo: Mining Justice Solidarity Network

Friday morning, a delegation of anti-mining activists, along with one in a kangaroo costume, made a visit to the Toronto office of Industry Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. 

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Who's living the GoodLife? Organizing a fitness empire.

Photo: flickr/ jerryonlife

One in 34 Canadians hold a membership to a GoodLife Fitness centre. If you're one of those people, have you ever stopped to consider that your fitness instructor -- that formidable taskmaster who makes you do an inhumane number of push-ups -- is also a worker?

Neither did Workers United organizer Tanya Ferguson, until she was contacted by a group of Toronto fitness instructors looking to join a union.

Now a year into the campaign, Ferguson says that the GoodLife Fitness organizing drives are like nothing she has worked on before, and may offer an example of how unions can make headway into some unique sectors of the economy.

Good life does not extend to Goodlife Fitness employees

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This week in labour: The case of the missing jobs

Photo: wikimedia commons/"Bombardier YETI M Mayrhofen" by Thiemo Mättig

April's jobs numbers were released this week, showing unprecedented job losses in some areas. The numbers are so low that either our economy is tanking fast, or there were inaccuracies in survey. Either way, not a great sign… 

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NDP gets strong public services mandate from Albertan voters

Photo: flickr/ Don Voaklander

Apparently anger is better than fear, or at least that's what analysts are saying about the NDP victory in Alberta.

Rachel Notley's NDP broke the Conservative's 43-year reign in Alberta. Leading in the polls from the get-go, the NDP finished strong with a 53-seat majority.

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Conditions in Canadian-owned factories the worst in Honduras

Reyna Tejada with Mark Hancock (CUPE BC President) at the CUPE BC convention in

Conditions in Canadian-owned Gildan garment factories are among the worst in Honduras says Reyna Tejada, a former factory worker and representative from CODEMUH, a feminist labour organization. Tejada was in Vancouver to speak at the CUPE-BC convention, held April 29 to May 2.

Gildan factories produce t-shirts, fleeces and apparel for other companies to put their logos and graphics on. The company currently has contracts for brands such as New Balance and Secret.

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Canadian mining companies banned in three Salvadorian municipalities

On March 29, Nueva Trinidad became the third municipality in El Salvador to officially declare itself a "territory free of mining" through a historic community consultation.

Canadian mining companies have had a brutal presence in El Salvador. Communities in the departments of Chalatenango and Cabañas have organized to prevent the entry of mining corporations into the municipalities.

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This week in labour: We've got our work cut out for us

Photo: Canadian Labour Congress

All eyes have been on Alberta this week, where Rachel Notley's NDP are busy getting ready to show the rest of Canada what progress without austerity can look like.

While Notley's sweeping victory has many of us excited and full of hope, this week's labour roundup proves that we've still got our work cut out for us.

Sorry to be such a downer, but it's time to keep mobilizing.

Here we go!

 

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