This week in labour: You'll be pleasantly surprised

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We've got some energizing victories and and momentous protests. Plus Canada Post's admission that it has been running an enormous budget surplus thanks in large part to mail delivery services. Throw in the fact that the Queen of England may have to brew her own tea if workers at Windsor Castle go on strike and, well, this week is just full of delightful surprise. Cheers!

  • The week started off with an historic victory for York University Teaching and Graduate assistance, who have reached a tentative agreement with their employers, winning all their major demands.
  • And here's another success story from Ontario: 3,000 CCAC Nurses received an arbitrator's ruling that vindicated their 17-day strike, which took place in the dead cold days of February. The arbitrator ruled that the nurses were entitled to same percentage wage increases as their peers in Ontario hospitals and nursing homes.
  • Canada Post announced that its operating profit was $299 million in 2014, $238 million of which came from mail delivery. With these numbers, can Canada Post really justify axing snail mail delivery in the name of cost efficiency?
  • Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff comes up with three ways the government could bolster the economy while improving the day-to-day lives of Canadians.
  • Negotiation talks have broken down between Unifor and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA), due the employer's desire to outsource passenger assistant positions. Under the new plan, all workers servicing passengers with wheelchair and special assistance needs at Pearson International Airport would be outsourced, resulting in a in a 50 per cent pay cut for approximately 130 workers.
  • The B.C. Liberals have introduced new legislation that will make professional development mandatory for B.C. teachers. The bill was written without any consultation with teachers or their union the BCTF, exacerbating the rancorous relationship between teachers and the provincial government.
  • And, in international news: take note, all you loyalists out there, the Queen of England maintains the strong values of feudalism in her residents, where workers are expected to perform some duties for free. 120 workers at Windsor castle voted in favour of non-strike labour action this week to protest appallingly low wages and unpaid duties.
  • Meanwhile cleaners at the Halifax International Airport continue to walk the picket line. Better wages and benefits are their main issues.
  • And in the imperialist nation to the south, major protest have taken place all week outside of McDonald's restaurant chains, as fast food workers demand living wages. In response to the strike, McDonald's announced on Wednesday that it would be raising its hourly wages by more than $1 for the employees who work at company-owned stores, which is less than 10 per cent of McDonald's total workforce. The protesters say that they will not be satisfied by this publicity stunt, and will continue to fight for a $15 wage. 

Ella Bedard is'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.


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