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This week in labour: Unions gear up for a summer struggle

Photo: Flickr/Chris Yakimov

June 1 signalled the beginning of summer, and this one is shaping up to be hot with unrest.

With protests and strikes across the country and a federal election on its way, workers will be pounding the pavement to make their priorities known.

You heard it here first: this is going to be a protest summer. 

 

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Canadians are stopping cuts to Canada Post now to stop privatization later

Photo: flickr/ Evan Goldenberg

Opponents of changes to Canada Post have a lot of company these days.

Over 218,000 people have signed on to a change.org petition started by Susan Dixon, which aims to save home delivery. And recently, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and its new President Mike Palecek, and residents of Hamilton, Ontario, have been successful in postponing the plan to end door-to-door delivery on Hamilton Mountain.

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Unions resist as federal government seeks changes to employee sick leave provisions

Photo: flickr/ Ocean Networks Canada

As the federal government approaches its summer recess, one of the Conservative government's top priorities is to get the Budget Implementation Act, Bill C-59, passed in both the House and the Senate. Public service unions are watching the progress of the bill closely, and preparing to fight for the rights of public employees. 

Along with budget implementation legislation, Bill C-59 contains numerous other legislative changes including retroactively changing the access to information laws to protect the RCMP from criminal charges, amendments to the Canada Labour Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and changes to the collective bargaining process for federal employees.

It's this last part that has federal public sector unions calling foul play.

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Canadian doctors have a plan to save Gazan lives: Solar power

Photo: flickr/ (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

The tragedy of Gaza has largely faded from the spotlight even as the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory of 1.8 million continues to worsen following last summer's military assault by Israel.

"Blockades, war and poor governance have strangled Gaza's economy and the unemployment is now the highest in the world," reports the latest World Bank May 2015 study.

Power outages lasting more than 16 hours a day continue to ravage Gaza and make sick patients in hospitals especially vulnerable as insufficient power often decides between life or death.

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Chain fast protesting government racism and C-51 links Canadians in solidarity

Fasting has a long history as a tool of social dissent. In Canada, of late, it's been used by Chief Teresa Spence has fasted protest government disrespect of First Nations. It's been used to protest indefinite detentions in Lindsay, Ontario. This year, Homes Not Bombs is organizing a chain fast to protest government racism, and in particular, Bill C-51.

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Crown Holdings strikers call on Ontario government for help

Photo: flickr/Phil Tomlinson

After watching another winter come and go on the picket line, striking workers at Crown Holdings Inc. are appealing to the Ontario government to help them reach a fair resolution in their 21-month long strike.

"The strike has been very difficult for all of us. A lot of people have had to make deals with the bank to try to keep their homes, try to keep their kids going to school," said striking Crown worker Steve McHugh. "We really need the government to step up and protect workers rights here in Ontario."

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Uniform discrimination: City of Toronto lifeguards demand equality in work gear

Photo: flickr/David Crane

If you've ever had to bear the scorching heat of a Toronto summer, you know that city pools are an essential part of the season. Torontonians flock to pools and water parks to find some relief, pools are like oases in the urban desert. 

This year will be no different, except that pool attendants and lifeguards are asking for one small change: a new equity policy for their uniforms.

As it stands, all City of Toronto aquatic staff, lifeguards, and swim instructors are issued the following: a two-piece uniform, consisting of a singlet and swim shorts.

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Have you Reddit? A Conservative MP's letter on C-51 'concerning'

Photo: flickr/Mike Gifford

Many Canadians took to the streets this weekend to protest Bill C-51. Others have taken to Reddit. Earlier this month, Cameron Smith emailed his MP regarding her support for the bill. He found her reply unnerving, and so he posted it online.

Lois Brown is a Conservative MP for Aurora-Newmarket. Smith is a recent Western graduate living in her riding. Brown's response to Smith's letter references the threat of "jihadi terrorists who endanger our security" and maintains "the threat of radical Islamic extremism is a very real threat."

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Injured Workers' Day: Support shouldn't come in half-measures

Photo: Flickr/Bob Jagendorf

On a -45 degree day in January 2014, Paul was driving down Ontario's eastbound 407 highway on his way to make a delivery, when his vehicle skidded on a patch of black ice and slid into a guard rail.

The company truck he was driving was totalled. At first Paul could not even see or hear his assistant because the man, who had been sitting in the passenger seat, was completely obscured by the wreckage.

Ultimately though, it was Paul, not his passenger, who sustained serious injuries and was left unable to work for over a year. In that time, Paul has received only one cheque -- a couple of weeks' worth of compensation from the Workers' Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

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This week in labour: Some cringe-worthy Conservative gaffes and much, much, more!

Photo: Flickr;  Alex Guibord

This week's labour roundup is gleefully mean, because it starts with a couple of Harper facepalm-worthy mess-ups.

When it comes to omnibus bills and hidden agendas, it can be hard to explain just how and why this government isn't working for workers. But this week, they made it super easy! Thanks y'all!

 

 

Let's review, shall we?

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