Love and friendship on the picket line: This week in labour news

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!

Photo: OFL Communications

Like this article? Chip in to keep stories like these coming.


From a win on the prairies to spring in the air on the picket lines of Ontario.

Some disputes seem to be winding down in the post-secondary sector but the struggle is far from over, as workers continue to protect their labour rights from sea to shining sea to shining sea.


  • Classes will resume at the University of Northern British Columbia. The university's administration and the Faculty Association have yet to reach an agreement but the strike is on hold while the parties enter into mediation.

  • Teaching Assistants at the University of Toronto will vote today on whether or not to accept a tentative agreement reached earlier this week.

  • B.C. government announced a $0.20 raise in minimum wage to $10.45 an hour, and a commitment to index that wage to inflation in the coming years. The B.C. Federation of Labour says that while indexation is a start, it will do nothing to lift minimum-wage workers out of poverty. 

  • Some headway has been made for Crown Holding workers this week! The Ontario government has appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission to look in to the 18-month long labour dispute between can manufacturer Crown Holdings and the workers at its Toronto plant.

  • Best headline of the week award goes to Doug Nesbitt's Rank and File article Roll up the Boss to Win, which tells of a Winnipeg Tim Hortons' struggle to unionize. Tim Hortons threatened to shut down the restaurants if the workers formed a union, and actually fired one worker who they identified as talking to union organizers. The worker was ultimately rehired after the union started an online petition, mobilizing huge support for the fired employee.

  • The Ontario government plans to gradually sell off Hydro One, the province's publicly owned electricity transmission and distribution company, a plan which CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn says will cost Ontario billions in revenue.

  • Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff talks essential services and government intervention in labour disputes with The Globe and Mail.

  • Ontario's Norfolk and Niagara Counties may soon be home to 140 striking health-care workers if a deal is not reached by April 10. Their employer is CarePartners, and the newly certified members of OPSEU local 294 say they have been trying to bargain a first contract for the past 20 months with no success.

  • Is this a good jobs strategy? Fifty people will soon be without jobs as the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD) loses its wastepaper sorting and disposal contract with Library and Archives Canada so that the government can save $124,600 a year.

  • Pick up on the picket line with OkCUPE, a website to connect strikers at York and U of T for love and friendship.

  • Daycare workers in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia weren't feeling too springlike as they picketed despite monumental snow storms. They've just ratified an agreement with their employer after four days on strike in the snow, fighting for higher wages. That's some snowy solidarity!

  • Air Canada workers are holding information pickets today at Pearson International Airport to call attention to potential layoffs of more than 260 workers who service passengers with special needs.

  • Alberta Premier Jim Prentice announces the repeal of highly controversial Bill 45, which strips some workers of their right to speak freely about labour action.


Ella Bedard is rabble's labour intern and an associate editor at GUTS Canadian Feminist Magazine. She has written about labour issues for and the Halifax Media Co-op and is the co-producer of the radio documentary The Amelie: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Story of the 1987 Boat People

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.