Labour unites in Regina; CarePartners reaches deal with SEIU; and Canadian teachers take action

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Image: Unifor/Twitter

Labour unites in Regina after Unifor leader arrested

The unfolding events on a picket line in Regina have packed enough drama for a Hollywood blockbuster. Police arrested 13 people on January 20, including Unifor president Jerry Dias, for defying a court injunction. Several Canadian labour leaders flew to Regina in solidarity. 

Unifor has been attempting to block the premises of the Co-op Refinery, which has locked out about 800 employees since December and is using scabs to continue operations. The workers are fighting to save their defined pension plan. 

SEIU reaches deal with CarePartners

As Ontario home care workers represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were in the midst of taking a strike vote, the for-profit agency CarePartners finally agreed to resume negotiations. The two parties reached a deal on the first day back at the bargaining table.

Earlier in January, the company had imposed a new contract on its workers, prompting SEIU to take a strike vote. According to SEIU, the employer backed down after the union involved Christine Elliot, Ontario's minister of health. 

CarePartners is a major provider of government-funded home care services, which are largely privatized and plagued by a shortage of workers due to inadequate compensation and poor working conditions. 

Doug Ford issues vague threat to Ontario's teachers' unions 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said his patience is running out with teachers unions but said he wasn't considering legislating them back to work "at this point." 

All four unions have initiated rotating strikes that continue this week as they attempt to fight the government's agenda to increase class sizes, lower education spending and impose mandatory e-learning

Conciliation fails in teachers negotiations in Saskatchewan 

Classroom sizes are a sticking point in the impasse between the teachers' federation and the Saskatchewan government. The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation is also seeking increases in compensation after a two-year wage freeze. After ending the conciliation process, STF will consult its members on the next move -- which may include job action. 

B.C. teachers to vote on job action 

Global News has obtained a staggered job action plan by the BC Teachers Federation in the event of contract negotiations remaining unsuccessful. The BCTF wants better compensation for teachers to address staff shortages in a province that has among the highest costs of living in the province. The union is also criticizing the government for employing unqualified teachers. 

About half of Albertans close to financial insolvency

The economic downturn in Alberta is causing stress and pessimism across the province, according to a report in the Edmonton Journal. About half of Albertans are $200 or less away from failing to meet their monthly expenses. 

Missed paycheques due to Newfoundland blizzard highlight labour precarity

The record-breaking snow in Newfoundland brought life to a standstill in the province and is profoundly impacting workers in low-paying jobs who are not being compensated for missed shifts. 

Although some businesses have agreed to pay employees for lost wages, they are doing so voluntarily in the absence of laws that protect workers in the case of such events. 

Temporary reduction in Kitimat's public transit due to shortage of drivers 

BC Transit has temporarily reduced services in Kitimat, British Columbia, as drivers are poached to work at a local LNG plant, according to the CBC. While the LNG firm provides a much better compensation package, a shortage of housing is compounding recruitment and retention for the transit operator. 

Zaid Noorsumar is rabble's labour beat reporter for 2019, and is a journalist who has previously contributed to CBC, The Canadian Press, the Toronto Star and Rankandfile.ca. To contact Zaid with story leads, email zaid[at]rabble.ca.

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