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CLC Disaffiliation Update

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Ontario Members,

I reach out to you today to address Unifor’s recent disaffiliation from the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

The action impacts both our union and the labour movement as a whole. Like many of you, I’ve been in deep and necessary discussions with fellow Unifor members, members of other unions, and members of the broader community regarding our union’s choice to disaffiliate from the CLC.

I know that many of you have worked shoulder to shoulder with compatriots at the CLC on campaigns that have achieved major gains for the labour movement, such as Bill 148 which resulted in the largest minimum wage increase in Canadian history.

Together we have made a difference in the lives of workers. The decision to disaffiliate does not detract from that work or its achievements.  I know that some of you may feel confused and may be left with questions on where the disaffiliation leaves you in relation to the wider labour movement.  Our commitment to labour, solidarity and activism, and our desire for change to improve conditions for workers and create a better society remain unchanged. These are the very principles behind the bold decision to disaffiliate.

Taking a stand is not always easy and I want to thank all of the members who have defended our union in conversations with fellow Unifor members, other unionists, friends, family and members of the wider community.  As I read posts and tweets on the disaffiliation it was inspiring to see our members counter false claims with vigor, using the facts and the knowledge of who we are as a union.

As we continue through this process, Unifor is committed to complete transparency with membership. To that end, the most recent information can be found on our website at unifor.org/fixtheclcHere you will find the latest news along with an overview of the issue, a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) sheet, and a helpful resource section.

Thank you again for your continued support.

In solidarity,

Naureen Rizvi

Ontario Regional Director

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Ontario Members,

On Saturday millions will take to the streets in cities and towns around the globe as part of the 2018 Women’s March. It is hard to believe that it was just one year ago when outrage at the overt sexism and hate exhibited by a then newly sworn in President Trump galvanized the women of the world to take action. If last year’s march marked the awakening of a movement then this year is surely the birth of a revolution.

What started as the quiet voices of individual women standing up to tell their stories, often in the face of disbelief and ridicule, became a roar that has finally broken the terrible silence that has cloaked harassment and discrimination for too long. As woman after woman came forward to share their experiences the vast scope and insidiousness of harassment was exposed, as were the perpetrators. We’ve witnessed titans of Hollywood and media fall as the truth behind their sometimes not-so-unknown behaviour was brought to light. The time of “open secrets”, as we saw in the Jian Ghomeshi case, is over as those who would take advantage of their positions are called to account.

The #MeToo movement and #TIMESUP initiative have given voice to survivors and opened the eyes, ears and minds of those who previously refused to see, hear, and understand. We know that harassment and discrimination can occur in all sectors of the workforce, from boardrooms to shop floors. I ask any member who is experiencing or witnessing harassment or abuse to please reach out to Unifor, utilize the Women’s Advocate program for assistance. Your union is here to support and stand by you. You are not alone.

On January 20, I will join Unifor members at my local Women’s March to show solidarity with the women of the world and support gender equity for all women, for our friends, co-workers, mothers, sisters and our daughters, who we owe a better future to. The marches and local actions across Ontario are open to everyone and I especially want to encourage male allies to come out. Equality is not a women’s issue – it’s a human right.

You can find information on a Women’s March location near you here. Fly the Unifor flag proudly.

In solidarity,

Naureen Rizvi

Ontario Regional Director

New labour laws in Ontario – what are my rights?

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On November 22, Bill 148 was voted into law, ushering in a number of substantial changes to our outdated employment laws.

This overhaul to both the Ontario Labour Relations and Employment Standards Acts are the result of years of community and labour organizing, mobilizing and advocating for change.

Here’s what the new laws mean for workers:

Raising the standard

An increase in the minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 and to $15 on January 1, 2019. This will result in a 29% pay increase for the lowest paid Ontarians over two years.
Equal pay for equal work for part-time, temporary and casual workers that are doing substantially the same work as full-time workers.

New rights for temporary agency workers. Temp workers must be paid the same wage as the regular/permanent full-time worker doing the same job, and termination notice and termination pay must be given to those workers with more than three months of service.

Fairer scheduling practices will mean three hours of pay for on-call duty, protected refusal of shifts with short notice and three hours of pay for cancelled shifts with less than 48 hours of notice.
Stronger enforcement and higher fines for employers who violate the law.

Improvements to time off the job

Two paid personal emergency leave days, with eight additional unpaid days. It now applies to organizations of all sizes, not just organizations employing 50 people or more. As with all employment standards, these new rules will apply unless a collective agreement provides different rules. In most cases, the collective agreement must provide a greater benefit in order for the Employment Standards Act not to apply. It is possible that some industry-specific regulations will modify these rules for workers in the auto sector.

Support for domestic violence survivors that includes five paid days leave for domestic violence survivors and up to a total of 10 days off, plus an additional unpaid, job-protected 15 weeks.

Mandatory minimum of three weeks of vacation with five years on the job.

Card-based certification in three sectors: temporary help agencies, building services and home care and community services.

New rights around joining a union: greater access to lists, off-site and electronic voting, stronger certification powers.

Successor rights for building services contracts (cleaning, food services, security) and the ability to extend rules to agencies and institutions receiving public funds.

For a more comprehensive summary, please see the presentation developed by Unifor’s Research Department or check out the Unifor campaign page.

Many of these changes will come into effect in January – marking hard-fought new rights for the New Year a reality.

It will be our job as a union and as trade union activists to ensure these rights are enforce for all workers and that we continue to push for further improvements. We will not go backwards! Let’s remember that the Ontario election is coming this June.


Nouvelles lois en Ontario : quels sont mes droits?

Le 22 novembre, le projet de loi 148 a été promulgué, ce qui a permis d’apporter plusieurs changements importants aux lois du travail désuètes.

Cette refonte de la Loi sur les relations de travail et de la Loi sur les normes d’emploi en Ontario est le résultat de plusieurs années d’organisation, de mobilisation et de revendications de la part des communautés et des syndicats.

Voici ce que les nouvelles lois signifient pour les travailleuses et travailleurs :

Hausse des normes

Une hausse du salaire minimum à 14 $ à compter du 1er janvier 2018 et à 15 $ à compter du 1er janvier 2019. Ce qui va générer une hausse salariale de 29 % pour les plus faibles salariés en Ontario sur une période de deux ans.

Un salaire égal pour un travail égal pour les travailleuses et travailleurs à temps partiel, temporaires et occasionnels qui exécutent essentiellement les mêmes tâches que les travailleuses et travailleurs à temps plein.
De nouveaux droits pour les travailleuses et travailleurs des agences de placement temporaire. Les travailleuses et travailleurs temporaires doivent être payés le même salaire que ceux à temps plein ou réguliers qui font le même travail, et un avis et une indemnité de cessation d’emploi doivent être donnés aux travailleuses et travailleurs ayant accumulé plus de trois mois de service.

Des pratiques d’établissement d’horaires plus équitables signifient que les travailleuses et travailleurs vont bénéficier de trois heures de salaire lorsqu’ils sont sur appel, du droit de refuser des quarts sur court préavis, et ils recevront trois heures de salaire pour des quarts annulés avec moins de 48 heures de préavis.

Une mise en application plus stricte de la loi et des sanctions plus élevées imposées aux employeurs qui violent la loi.

Améliorations apportées au temps à l’extérieur du travail

Deux jours payés de congés personnels pour urgence, assortis de huit journées additionnelles non payées. Cette mesure s’applique maintenant aux organisations de toutes les tailles, pas seulement aux organisations ayant plus de 50 employés.Comme pour toutes les normes d’emploi, ces nouvelles règles vont s’appliquer à moins qu’une convention collective prévoit d’autres règles. Dans la plupart des cas, la convention collective doit offrir un meilleur avantage pour que la Loi sur les normes d’emploi ne soit pas appliquée. Il est possible que certaines règlementations propres à une industrie modifieront ces règles pour les travailleuses et travailleurs du secteur de l’automobile.

Un soutien pour les survivantes de violence conjugale qui comprend cinq jours de congés payés et jusqu’à concurrence de 10 jours de congé, plus 15 semaines de congé additionnel non payé et la protection de l’emploi.
Un minimum de trois semaines de vacances obligatoire après cinq ans de service.

L’accréditation basée sur la signature de cartes dans ces secteurs : les agences de travail temporaire, les services aux immeubles, les soins à domicile et les services communautaires.

De nouveaux droits concernant l’adhésion à un syndicat : un plus grand accès aux listes, la possibilité de voter sur le site et par voie électronique, de plus grands pouvoirs d’accréditation.

Les droits de successeur assurés pour les contrats de services aux immeubles (entretien, services alimentaires, sécurité) et la capacité d’étendre les règles aux agences et aux institutions recevant des fonds publics.

Pour un résumé plus complet, veuillez prendre connaissance de la présentation préparée par le Service de recherche d’Unifor ou jetez un coup d’œil à la page de la campagne d’Unifor.

Plusieurs de ces changements entreront en vigueur en janvier. Ces nouveaux droits durement obtenus deviendront enfin une réalité l’année prochaine!

En tant que syndicat et syndicalistes, nous devrons nous assurer que ces droits sont appliqués à tous les travailleurs et travhttp://www.unifor.org/fr/passer-a-laction/compagnes/lock-out-de-d-j-compositesailleuses, et nous continuerons d’exercer des pressions pour obtenir d’autres améliorations. Nous ne reculerons pas! Et n’oublions pas que les élections en Ontario vont avoir en juin prochain.

Violence against women must end. But it will not end until we do something about it.

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As December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, approaches many will attend vigils and community events to take a pause and remember all of the women lost because of violence. While I do want to encourage you to mark and reflect on this day, this one day of action is not enough.

We need to do more. Men need to do more to stop the violence and challenge sexism. We must have the courage to challenge the everyday forms of sexism that exist and allow for sexual harassment and violence to occur.

Last week the Women’s Department issued a task to members and locals to raise awareness about December 6 and to spread a united word. You can help to send a signal about ending violence against women by participating in an online dialogue.

Join me in distributing and posting the Unifor December 6 posterstatement and social media shareable images online.  All of the materials can be found at unifor.org/women.

Adding to the conversation and showing Unifor’s message is a necessary part of how we can create change, please participate.

Today, I am also writing to ask you to join me in taking action on gender-based violence.

There are great things that our union is doing and will continue to do at the bargaining table and by lobbying governments for change. Unifor will continue to negotiate the Women’s Advocate Program and press for paid domestic violence leave and a $15 hourly minimum wage in every province; along with advocating for funding for public child care, stronger implementation of pay equity and equal pay for equal work. While all of this work is crucial to our union, it is only part of a solution.

What will also make a real difference to end violence against women is what you and I can do to stop sexism including stopping the subtle forms of sexism that happen each and every single day for women.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself. What can you do today, tomorrow and next week to make a difference? How can we create a better world that recognizes the role and importance of women’s contributions and women’s voices, a world that is for justice and not rooted in sexism, everyday harassment and violence for women?

This is an important question. Think about it.

Let us be agents of change to bring a better future by addressing and stopping gender-based violence because women can no longer wait.

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