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Labour Day 2018

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Celebrate Unifor’s fifth anniversary on Labour Day

Labour day brings workers together to celebrate the achievements of labour, including both unions and non-unionized workers. It wasn’t by coincidence that five years ago on the Saturday of the Labour Day long weekend, thousands of union activists came together in Toronto to form Unifor.

The victories Unifor has achieved over the past five years have not been won without the determination, perseverance, and hard work of our rank and file members. Unifor members have fought hard to strengthen workers’ rights, support marginalized groups in challenging hate and racism in our communities and we have continued to work tirelessly to organize the nonunionized.

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Unifor warns against auto tariffs

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Unifor is warning the U.S. Department of Commerce that tariffs on the import of automobiles and parts, being investigated under the guise of a national security threat, would devastate the entire North American auto industry if imposed.

“The suggestion that auto imports from Canada constitute a security threat to America is beyond ridiculous,” said National President Jerry Dias. “The only real danger here is to the workers and communities that depend on auto jobs on both sides of the border.”

Joined by Unifor Local 222 General Motors workers Dias addressed the threat of tariffs while speaking to media in Oshawa, Ontario on Thursday.

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Patient safety at risk with privatized clinic model

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THUNDER BAY – The 4,600 patients in Ottawa advised to get tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV bear testimony to the importance of public ownership and accountability in ensuring patient safety.

“A privatized model of health care is risky for all of us; it risks patient safety and reinforces a precarious, low-wage employment, model for health care workers,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “The private for profit system fails to prioritize patient care, it puts patient safety at risk and reinforces a precarious, low-wage employment model for health care workers.”

Like the Main Street Family Medical Centre, a clinic in Ottawa, the Port Arthur Health Centre in Thunder Bay is a privately owned entity. It is here that 65 striking workers have been on strike since April 9, 2018. Meanwhile, in another strike in Ontario, 30 OPSEU workers at the Owen Sound Health Clinic are on the picket line, also protesting the low wages and unstable working conditions that a profit-driven framework supports.

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Celebrating labour solidarity on the picket line

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July 19, 2018
In a united fashion with other unions, community members and all of you, the union is putting on a bold defense for workers’ rights, strikes and to advancing an equity agenda. Plus there’s a whole lot more that happened this week, keep reading to find out how Unifor is making news.

Participate in the federal government’s online pharmacare consultation

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Have your say on how Canada implements a national pharmacare plan. The federal government has opened comments and a poll for members of the public to share thoughts about the high cost of prescription medication, and what we can collectively do to fix it.

“Unifor members know that the time to act is now – together we need to demand universal pharmacare for everyone, regardless of income, age, or where the person works or lives,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “If we want a truly universal system to become a reality in this country, then we need to make sure the federal government hears this call loud and clear.”

As many as 8.4 million Canadians have no prescription drug coverage at all; this disproportionately affects women and young workers. In addition to this, Canada’s spotty prescription coverage system is inefficient and expensive, with Canadians paying wildly different rates and receiving grossly inconsistent coverage.

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Unifor sponsors Masters Indigenous Games

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Unifor is a proud sponsor of the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games (MIG 2018), taking place at Toronto’s Downsview Park July 13-15.

“The Masters Indigenous Games provide a venue for Indigenous peoples from around the world to engage in athletic competition while creating an environment that encourages dialogue and learning through sport and culture,” said National President Jerry Dias. “This is a platform to raise greater awareness and further constructive conversation about Truth and Reconciliation efforts with members of our communities.”

The Masters Indigenous Games for adult athletes is a direct legacy of the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), which brought together more than 5,000 youth to compete last summer in Toronto.

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President’s conference drives the spirit of Unifor

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For two days, local presidents from across the country were in Port Elgin for the second President’s Conference. As our union prepares to celebrate five years of Unifor, this was an opportunity to discuss ways to build engagement of members, strengthen our activism, and identify opportunities, challenges and future priorities to continue the union’s progressive vision.

Most of all, the conference provided an opportunity for the national leadership team to say thanks for all of the tireless work that presidents do each and every day to build the union.

During his opening speech, National President Jerry Dias extended his gratitude to local presidents, all members, the national executive board and staff for the tremendous amount of work done to create and establish Unifor.

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Heat stress is a serious concern as temperatures soar

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With summer here and temperatures soaring, heat stress can be a real threat to workers’ health and well-being.

The average human body naturally maintains a temperature between 36°C and 38°C. Sweating cools our bodies down, but if you work in a hot environment this might not be enough to provide relief to the heat.

“Working in hot conditions puts stress on our body’s cooling system,” said Sari Sairanen, Director Health, Safety and Environment. “High temperatures and humidity stress the body’s ability to cool itself and heat illness becomes a special concern during hot weather.”

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Show Support for Port Arthur Health Centre striking workers

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Dear member,

Being part of a union that prides itself on advocating for working people and their rights means that we must be willing to step up and defend the sisters and brothers in our union. Right now I am asking for your help; your voice and advocacy is needed.

There are 65 striking workers from Unifor Local 229, all women, at Port Arthur Health Centre who have been on the picket line for over 11 weeks now; the strike began on April 9.  After nearly three months, the employer refuses to come back to the bargaining table to try and negotiate a fair deal for these workers. We need your help to apply pressure on the employer and help to end this strike.

 There are three ways you can be an advocate for these striking workers.

Demand access to water on National Indigenous Peoples Day

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June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day and it is recognized here on Turtle Island, commonly referred to as Canada, as an annual day to celebrate the unique heritage, vibrant cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people. Unifor proudly acknowledges Indigenous peoples and their tremendous contributions in shaping our union, building our communities, and fighting for a just and equitable world.

While Unifor celebrates and thanks Indigenous Peoples, the union also acknowledges and openly reflects on past wrongs and the ongoing injustices Indigenous peoples face. For more than 150 years Indigenous Peoples have suffered through failed policies and laws, while non-Indigenous People in Canada have continued to benefit from this exploitative relationship. It is time for not just reconciliation but truth and justice.

Part of that pursuit of truth and justice means recognizing and acting on the unequal treatment that continues even today for Indigenous people and their communities. One example of this is the access to public services and water.

Clean and safe drinking water is a basic human right. Yet many Indigenous communities within Canada are deprived of the right to water. An estimated 20,000 Indigenous people living on reserves across this country have no access to running water or sewage. There are more than 100 water advisories that are routinely in effect preventing the use of water, with some Indigenous communities living under advisories for nearly 20 years. Learn more about the struggle for water by reading this Unifor resource.

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Celebrate Unifor’s fifth Labour Day in style

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To recognize and mark this year’s Labour Day, the union is offering all locals an opportunity to purchase a special Unifor garment at a subsidized rate. This is time sensitive, so hurry!

Orders will only be accepted until Thursday, June 28. Click here for the order form.

Whether your local is marching in a community parade, attending a labour picnic, or hosting an event for members and their family, Labour Day is an opportunity to show union pride. Along with recognizing the historical importance of Labour Day as a celebration of all workers, the day is also significant for our union. On Labour Day in 2013, Unifor was formed and this will be our fifth year – now that’s cause for celebration!

In the spirit of that celebration and unity, all locals are invited to order a one-of-a-kind garment, a lightweight hockey jersey featuring the traditional lacing just below the collar.

Every local can order this Unifor swag, but please note that every order must have a minimum of 12 shirts.

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