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 Association of Western Pulp & Paper Workers
( Last updated Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST)
Safety Survey Results
. Friday, December 8, 2017 2:33 pm EST

AWPPW Local 675 Members 94% Rejection of WestRock Labor Offer
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Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) formally begins this August 16 - RSVP to the Portland Town Hall
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An inside look at how Koch Industries does business

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 4:59 pm EDT

Japan's Nippon Paper to buy US beverage container operation
June 16, 2016 2:00 am JST Japan's Nippon Paper to buy US beverage container operation src=http://asia.nikkei. Wednesday, June 15, 2016 6:26 pm EDT

( Last updated Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST)
Kansas aerospace firm set to ruin another Christmas for locked out workers in Canada
The owner of D-J Composites will spend the holidays in his Kansas State Mansion, where the temperature rarely dips below freezing, while 32 Canadian workers are about to spend a second Christmas outside on a frigid picket line. Just days before Christmas, in December of 2016, Rezaul Chowdhury’s U.S. based company locked out its unionized workers at an aerospace manufacturing facility he owns in the small community of Gander, Newfoundland. D-J Composites locked the workers out of their jobs after the union refused to agree to a terrible contract that would have frozen some wages until 2020. This proposed freeze is on top of the fact that the workers  have not received  a pay increase since 2014. Gander is the same small town made famous for opening its hearts and homes to 7,000 American and international travelers stranded after the September 11, 2001 terror attack. The people of Gander and nearby communities, are celebrated nightly in a Tony award winning Broadway show, “Come from Away.” The 32 locked out workers are among those who did their part to help stranded travelers. The show depicts their town’s warmth and hospitality -- in stark contrast to their employer’s shrewd coldness. After Chowdhury’s U.S based parent company, D-J Engineering, bought the Gander operation in 2012, the company’s relationship with its employees grew more and more disrespectful. This is despite the fact that the employees, members of Unifor local 597, gave the employer many concessions to help it succeed and build an aerospace footprint in their small town. But over time, it has become clear from Chowdhury’s  actions that he has one objective: bust the union and starve workers. In March, D-J Composites returned to bargaining looking for even more concessions. This time, instead of wage freezes, Chowdhury’s company demanded a pay cut and proposed to end seniority protections. The wages at the aerospace facility are already modest at best. The demand to gut seniority was a direct attack on the union in the workplace. D-J Composites has since been found guilty of bargaining in bad faith by the provincial labour board, which is a violation of provincial employment law. This U.S. based employer continues to behave as though it’s exempt from local labour laws. Mediation ordered by the Newfoundland Minister of Labour subsequently failed to get the company to budge on its unreasonable demands. Now these workers are facing another harsh Canadian winter in a region hit hard by snowstorms, ice storms and raging winds. These workers will not be broken or bullied into accepting impossible demands. Their union, and its 315 thousand members stand behind them in their fight for a reasonable and fair collective agreement. In Canada, our labour laws require respectful and fair collective bargaining, which is usually a genuine give-and-take where employees have a democratic say in their working conditions. DJ Composites has not honoured this. And while Chowdhury, the company’s owner is tucked snuggled away in his Kansas state mansion on a golf course, Unifor members stand 4,500 kilometers away on a picket line seeking respect from their employer. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON HOW YOU CAN HELP Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Members ratify contract with Tembec, winning forestry pattern
Members at Locals 89 and 256 have ratified a new four-year collective agreement with Tembec located in Kapuskasing in northern Ontario. The new contract meets the pattern established in Unifor’s forestry sector and includes a $1,000 signing bonus, a two per cent wage increase in each year of the agreement, improvements to the salary progression scale, health care and dental benefits as well as bereavement leave. Significantly, language around contracting out and job security have been strengthened through letters of understanding added to the collective agreement. An important addition to the agreement is funds, for the first time, will be allocated for the union’s Paid Education Leave (PEL). “The local unions worked hard to win these gains,” said national representative Ritchie Mihalick. “Going forward we are looking at lining up bargaining with the rest of the eastern forestry group.” The 230 Local 89 members work in the paper and sawmill, while the 80 members of Local 256 are papermakers, running the paper machines. The deal was approved by 82 per cent. Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Alberta boosting right to refuse unsafe work
An overhaul of Alberta’s workplace health and safety provisions and workers' compensation by the province’s New Democratic government will give workers the right to refuse dangerous work and more control over compensation claims. “This is a positive step forward that will ensure fewer workers are hurt or killed on the job and improve the compensation system when something does happen,” said Western Regional Director Joie Warnock. “It is a basic right for workers to be able to refuse dangerous work.” Labour Minister Christina Gray announced the changes November 25 following a lengthy review of workplace rules. Workers' compensation had not been reviewed for 15 years, while health and safety provisions had not been looked at since 1976. Under Bill 30, a worker who refuses dangerous work would continue to be paid while that refusal is investigated. Besides reporting any workplace injuries, employers would now also be required to report any “near miss” incidents that could have caused injury. The bill would provide workers greater say on the health and safety of their workplace and more rights on how claims are handled should they be injured. All workplaces with 20 or more employees would be required to set up a health and safety committees to inspect sites for hazards, and to help resolve disputes and workplace health and safety concerns. For more information, please visit: Alberta occupational health and safety changes Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Unifor pushes for four hours of direct care in Queen’s Park lobby
More than 50 long term care workers and Unifor leaders took part in an Ontario lobby day urging immediate improvements to the long term care sector. Members participated in an afternoon training session the day before and set off on December 4 to lobby Members of Provincial Parliament of all political parties about the need for four hours of direct, hands-on care for all long term care residents. “Our members talked about their first hand experiences working in long term care and how it connects to the need to have more time for direct care so that each day they are not facing heavier and more complex patient needs which cannot be met,” said Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi. During the meetings, Unifor members told heartbreaking stories of not being able to be there for residents in their final hours, having to manage violent residents on their own and risking their safety, working through all of their breaks so that residents can be cared for and returning home exhausted and bruised at the end of the day. “I was a very proud of the long term care workers who participated in the lobby day – they are the real experts in why Ontario needs four hours of direct care and stricter accountability for long term care providers,” said Health Care Director Andy Savela. “What people may not realize is that many long term care homes are run as for-profit businesses – if there is not a minimum standard of care, where is the accountability?” The union also launched a new video entitled the #6minchallenge, which calls on members, supporters and elected officials to try to get ready in only six minutes in the morning. This is the approximate time personal support workers have to prepare residents for breakfast in the morning. The lobby occurred only weeks after the province announced it would be moving towards a set number of hours of care, as part of the Ontario’s Aging with Confidence: Action Plan for Seniors. An Act to amend the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (Bill 33) also recently passed second reading, with all party support. The bill would require four hours of direct, hands on care for all long term care residents. Unifor activists voiced concerns about the government’s new action plan, in that the calculation for four hours of daily care is based on hours paid to staff (including administrators and managers as well as vacation time), as opposed to hours worked delivering direct care. To date, it is also unclear how and when implementation will occur. For photos, please visit our Facebook album. For more information, please visit: Care for Ontario Seniors Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Workers at Irving shipyard vote 99.8% to strike
Unifor MWF Local 1 members have given their bargaining committee a 99.8% strike mandate as they seek a fair collective agreement with Irving Shipbuilding. “With that level of solidarity, Irving should remember that our collective agreement was used to win the shipbuilding contract, and they can’t now come to the table looking for concessions, they need to come to the table with solutions,”said Jerry Dias, National President. More than 700 of the 800 members in the local packed a Halifax hall to hear an update from the bargaining committee on Sunday, December 3. The committee reported on the heavy handed tactics of the employer including the 33 pages of concessions proposed by Irving Shipbuilding. The employer’s bargaining proposals seeks to remove a ten minute break, safety provisions and delete of all classification seniority provisions from the collective agreement. In addition to issuing an attack on the collective agreement, after less than four days in negotiations last month Irving Shipbuilding requested conciliation to mediate a resolution. In a message to members, the committee said it was concerned by the employer’s misleading statements in media interviews, news releases and a note to employees. The collective agreement expires on December 31, 2017. Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Unifor plans to fight back N.S. wage restraint law
Local Unifor leaders who work in health care and community services met in Halifax and Sydney on Nov. 28 and 29, 2017, to talk about the ongoing impact of Nova Scotia’s Bill 148 and the challenging negotiations that are underway with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. Despite a full-scale attack on the collective bargaining rights of health care workers by the McNeil government, Unifor’s local leadership remains steadfast in their resolve to push for fairness for the thousands of workers in the province. “Bill 148 has hurt thousands of modest income earners, many of whom are Unifor members in workplaces such as nursing and group homes. And yet they have refused to allow the McNeil government to crush their determination or their fighting spirit,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director, after listening to dozens of workers share stories about working on the frontlines in long term care. Bill 148 originally passed in December of 2015 but then in August of 2017 the government imposed a wage restraint package on civil servants and health-care workers that froze workers’ wages for 2015 and 2016 and limited increases in 2017 to one percent, despite the rising cost of living. More than 4,500 Unifor members have been impacted by the government’s anti-worker wage restraint legislation. One single mother reported having trouble making ends meet, while working two, part time jobs, and trying to raise two children on just $16 dollars an hour. Many workers in Nova Scotia are reporting higher levels of stress and increased workload as kitchen and cleaning staff have been reduced.  Many are now the lowest paid health care workers in the country. Others, who work in community services group homes, expressed concerns about working alone with potentially violent clients. One of Unifor’s bargaining committee negotiators, Susan Gill, updated the group on the slow progress at the negotiating table after conciliation began with the health care group in November. Gill explained that Bill 148 also stripped workers of rights, making this complex set of negotiations particularly difficult. “Our leadership has been understandably frustrated with the McNeil government’s legislation that took away our member’s right to strike, which unfairly limits their leverage to negotiate a collective agreement,” said Katha Fortier, Assistant to Unifor’s National President. Unifor leaders said it was an uplifting two days of planning bargaining and political strategy post-Bill 148. While there is much work to do the group expressed a resounding energy to continue the fight back. Along with mobilization and lobbying efforts to defend workers’ rights, Unifor has joined several other Nova Scotia unions in a court challenge arguing bill 148 should be struck down as unconstitutional. Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Scott McIlmoyle elected Ontario Regional Council chairperson
Delegates from across Ontario elected activists to fill leadership positions at the Ontario Regional Council on December 2, 2017. The position of Chairperson was vacated earlier this year when Dino Chiodo was appointed as a staff representative to Unifor. Candace Laveley who was elected as vice - chair was acting the interim chair until the election was held at Council. Two candidates ran for the position of Chairperson, Kari Jefford, President of Local 229 and Scott McIlmoyle President of Local 112. After a first ballot McIlmoyle won the seat, and will lead the Council Executive through the upcoming provincial election. As Chairperson McIlmoyle committed to fight for progressive values and defend the many victories of 2017. In accepting his nomination, McIlmoyle said, “We have a strong vibrant membership at Council and this is where the activism really starts. It is these meetings that turn our ideas into campaigns and actions that mobilize the entire province.” McIlmoyle has been a union member for 32 years, and in his position at President of Local 112 he represents 3,000 members in the aerospace, heavy equipment manufacturing and auto parts sectors, as well as the armoured car industry. In September he showed his activist rooted as a key organizer of the occupation of the Northstar Aerospace facility in Milton, Ontario, to protest the attack on members’ pensions. Three new members, Christine Maclin, Local 195, James Stewart, Local 444 and Lisa Tucker, Local 302, were acclaimed to the position of member-at-large, and will also serve on the Ontario executive. Several committees also saw the election of new representatives. The members below join the board to push forward the vital work of the council’s committees. EI/CPP: Dan Borthwick, Local 88 Greg Brady, Local 199 Lisa Contini, Local 1285 Employee and Family Assistance Program Committee: Lynne Jackson, Local 598 Bruce Malcolm, Local 444 Jeff Ramackers, Local 88 Health & Safety and Environment Committee: Sandra Auger, Local 1701 Brian Lowery, Local 1996-O LGBTQ Committee: Bill Kudla, Local 222 Political Action Committee: Shayne Fields, Local 222 Workers’ Compensation Committee: John Harte, 252 Shelley Smith, Local 2458 Ashok Venkatarangam, Local 100 To view a full list of the all Ontario Regional Council committee members, visit unifor.org/ontariocouncil. Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST

Ontario Regional Council poises Unifor for the future
The final day of Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council began with Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff issuing a call for delegates to campaign to support a national pharmacare plan. “Everyone in this audience knows someone who isn’t able to afford their medication as prescribed,” said Yussuff. “We need a national, publicly-administered universal prescription drug plan that covers everyone in Canada, regardless of their income, age, or where they work or live.” In honour of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women members of the Ontario Women’s Committee, along with other activists, wore outfits modeled after “The Handmaid’s Tale” as they conducted a sombre procession lit by the lights of delegates cell phones.  Following a moving tribute to women facing gender-based violence and discrimination the committee encouraged all members to contact Premier Wynne to demand action.  The theme of political action was carried throughout the afternoon as members engaged in a roundtable discussion on a provincial election strategy. Delegates then voted to accept the Ontario Regional Director’s recommendation to mobilize and stop Patrick Brown and the Ontario Conservatives from forming government next June. To fill vacancies on the Ontario Regional Council Executive Board elections were held for several positions. The position of Chairperson and two seats on the Health and Safety Committee were contested while other committee positions and member – at – large spots were filled by acclamation. Scott McIlmoyle from Local 112 was elected on the first ballot. Council also heard from delegates representing CAMI, Northstar, Medical Laboratories of Windsor and Bell on shared challenges encountered in bargaining along with representatives from the Forestry, Media, Rail and Retail on lobbying efforts and issues faced in those sectors. In keeping with the union’s broader social mandate Unifor and CN Rail, through the Canadian Community Fund CN Rail Project, presented a donation of $250,000 to Cindy Blackstock for the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. "Unifor is proud to support the Caring Society in their work to empower Indigenous children, youth and families,” said National President Jerry Dias. “Supporting initiatives like the Caring Society’s Spirit Bear education program as well as other worthy organizations that are working to improve our society is why the Canadian Community Fund was created.” The donation will support the Caring Society’s reconciliation-based activities, centralize reconciliation learning on its website, translate materials into French and five Indigenous languages and distribute to low income schools free of charge. “Children are experts in love and fairness and take naturally to reconciliation,” said Blackstock, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. “This donation will support our efforts to help all Indigenous and non-Indigenous children learn about our shared history in ways that promote the full and proper implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action." As Council came to an end Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director looked to the future. “I have no doubt we can deliver and fight off a PC government.  Let’s keep up the work, together we can continue to push for a better Ontario.” To view a photo gallery of Ontario Regional Council visit Facebook.com/UniforCanada Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:18 am EST


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