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This week in labour news: Leaked emails put PCs in hot water; retail workers walk; Unifor debuts

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Leaked Progressive Conservative MPP email alleges donations behind push to pass bill

 The Conservative Party’s woes continue this week. Leaked emails between Ontario MPP Randy Hillier and the rest of his caucus revealed that he said he and his fellow party members were told "explicitly" that voting through legislation that would release construction company EllisDon from their union agreement would guarantee increased donations to the Tories.

Hillier was already considered an "unlikely ally" for the labour cause, but his email makes clear that he fears the Tories playing into the exact ideas people have about them. Regardless, we’ll wait to see what the fallout is within the Conservative party.


Toronto Plaza Hotel workers end strike

After 13 weeks of striking, Toronto Plaza Hotel workers are finally able to go back to work. On Sept. 1 the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9466 ratified a new collective agreement that includes a wage increase. Workers walked out after a series of cuts to wages, benefits and pensions.


14 Concordia based unions are without a contract

Union locals at Concordia University in Montreal are stepping up pressure on their employer to finally close a deal with the 14 unions that do not have a contract with the school. Some of the union locals, which include library workers, support staff, part-faculty and tradespeople amongst others, have not received a wage increase in over five years. On Sept. 3 the groups staged a protest in Montreal to coincide with the start of classes.


Walmart workers protest while plans to bring a store to Washington D.C. fail over living wage

 Just a week after fast food and retail workers across the U.S. walked out to protest low wages and poor working conditions, Walmart workers staged their own protest in 15 cities. Walmart workers are amongst the lowest paid in the U.S. The discount retailer has also been the subject of numerous unfair labour practice charges.

Meanwhile, plans to bring three Walmart stores to Washington D.C. may fall apart if a proposed bill to ensure that retailers like Walmart pay their employees a living wage is passed. D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is currently deciding whether the bill, under which certain employers will have to pay a 50 per cent premium over the city's minimum wage, will receive his signature or veto. Walmart, along with grocery store chain Wegman's, have indicated they will not go forward with plans to expand into the D.C. area if the bill passes.


Unifor the union debuts

 It's official -- last weekend the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) merged to become the biggest private union in Canada. rabble.ca was at the convention, and you can catch up on our coverage at the following links: 

Unifor officially take shape at historic union convention

Unifor sets out long-term strategy at their convention

Naomi Klein: Unifor should fight for a green labour revolution

Unifor: Workers united for all

Unifor: Canada’s newest union

Why unions need to join the climate fight


More headlines 

Richtree market accused of unfairly laying off workers

A fast-food joint thrives, even by paying $12 an hour

I am a former White House intern, and I am calling on the President to stop being a hypocrite and start paying his interns


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