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#CokeZeroRights

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Dear members,

Unifor’s commitment to social and economic justice doesn’t stop at Canada’s borders. We are a union that fights injustice globally.

One of our international fights is being led by Unifor members working at Coca Cola’s bottling facilities in Alberta and Ontario. Unifor has signed on to the International Union of Foodworkers’ (IUF) campaign to hold Coke responsible for the human rights abuses of the third-party bottlers it employs in countries like Indonesia, Haiti, and the Philippines.

We can make a difference in these workers’ lives by showing solidarity and giving them our support.

I encourage you to participate in a Unifor day of action to insist the company respect workers’ rights and immediately remedy abuses by its third-party bottlers.

On Tuesday, November 20, you can take the following three actions:
1. Download the Unifor mobile app for Apple or Android and under Solidarity Action, send a message to Coca Cola CEO James Quincey
2. Take a photo holding a sign with the hashtag #CokeZeroRights and post to Twitter
3. Share the attached graphic on your Facebook page with this link: http://www.iuf.org/show-ccww.php

Together we can force Coca Cola to recognize workers’ rights. I look forward to seeing your activism on November 20.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

National Seniors Care Strategy

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The Canadian Health Coalition is launching its campaign calling for a National Seniors Care Strategy.

Most Canadians will rely on seniors care at some point in their lives. Our public health care system is currently ill-equipped to address the health care needs of the aging population. We need a National Strategy to ensure that all seniors can access quality care, regardless of where they live in Canada. We must take action now to ensure consistent funding, standards of care and staffing levels across the country. All Canadians deserve to age with dignity and respect.

Read our new policy paper Ensuring Quality Care for All Seniors.

A Message From Jerry Dias

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Sisters and brothers,

At several announcements in Toronto today the Federal Government will announce a number of reforms to Canada’s Labour Code. These proposed reforms include important steps to address contract flipping and protect successor rights provisions at airports.

I applaud Minister Hajdu and her government’s move to ensure airport workers are protected against wage cuts in the event that supplier contracts change hands.

We will scrutinize the specific details of this announcement when it becomes public. However, the fact that the Minister appears willing to address this issue is a victory for our union, that has been years in the making.

The National Union, Unifor Locals and other unions worked hand-in-hand to lobby the Federal Government, mobilize our membership and put public pressure on employers to secure workers’ rights. Too often, workers would face job loss in the event that supplier contracts change hands. When this occurs, workers are often forced to re-apply for their same job, sometimes losing pay and benefits. This is completely unfair.

For Unifor, this issue came to a head in a 2015 campaign at the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA). The existing contract for customer assistance to airline passengers with mobility issues was retendered, and employees (our Unifor sisters and brothers) were told to re-apply for their jobs. Our Locals organized delegations to attend GTAA public meetings and spoke out against this practice – generating major media attention (link to: https://bit.ly/1TaXjde). Our members were on the ground collecting thousands of signatures petitioning the GTAA to protect workers rights – raising public awareness of how contract flipping hurts workers.

This past January our union made a Federal Government submission calling for greater protections to workers in the event contracts are flipped. Today, it seems, our struggle has paid off.
We should welcome today’s announcement, but we should also understand that the change proposed will not be law until it is adopted by Parliament.

We have to be ready and committed to continue our mobilizing on this issue. We have to keep the pressure on all Federal politicians to vote to ensure all workers are treated with respect, dignity – and never again forced to re-fight for the rights they’ve already won, simply because a supplier contract has changed hands.

To all the members who have taken part in this struggle, I thank you for your hard work. You’ve made our union proud.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

Canada Post union workers to begin rotating nationwide strikes Monday morning

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The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) announced Sunday that it will begin rotating strikes on Monday morning at 12:01 a.m. in Victoria, Edmonton and Windsor, and at 1:01 a.m. in Halifax.

According to the union, the strike will last for 24 hours with each location listed striking daily. All times listed are in local time. A strike may still be avoided if last-minute deals are reached Sunday evening, CUPW said in a statement.

Read full article >

A Message from Jerry Dias

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Sisters and Brothers,

This week the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was reached, if ratified the deal will replace the twenty-five year old NAFTA accord.

When renegotiations started over a year ago, Unifor chose to lead the fight for ‘A Better NAFTA’. Our leadership team opted not to sit back and offer passive criticism from the sidelines. We were determined to bring our voice to the table. With big ideas on how to change the type of trade agreements that we’ve opposed for 25 years
While the USMCA is far from perfect, I believe that we have made a difference in moving the yardsticks forward for working people.

I would like to thank all the members who took to the streets of Montreal and Ottawa during the Canadian negotiating rounds, lobbied their MPPs, or signed online petitions to demand a more progressive trilateral trade agreement. There is no doubt that your voice was heard and reflected in these negotiations.

Traditionally, trade deals have been about profit, not people. Having attended every round of the talks, from Washington to Mexico City to Ottawa and Montreal and back, I can honestly say these negotiations included discussions about people – about workers.

In many respects, the USMCA is historic. It overhauls the rules of auto trade in North America, including new rules designed to safeguard wages. It is the first Canadian trade agreement to have eliminated the hated investor-state dispute system – that provision allowing corporations to sue governments for unlimited sums of money in private tribunals. It establishes stronger, and enforceable, labour standards designed to target Mexican “yellow” unions.  These were all demands put forward by Unifor and our allies.

Some in the labour movement, who chose to remain on the sideline during this long and often bitter negotiation process, have now chosen to come forward to oppose the deal. Let me be clear – the USMCA has many, many flaws that must be addressed but the negative aspects cannot not be viewed in isolation. While there are areas of legitimate concern, the USMCA is an improvement over the original NAFTA with quantifiable gains for workers. We must take these advances and continue pressing for more progressive trade reform.

The agreement is wide-ranging, affecting multiple sectors that employ Unifor members.  There will be further communication on specific industries in the days to come but here are some the key elements.

 

Labour:

There is a new, enhanced labour chapter in the USMCA with provisions on gender rights, violence against workers, and references to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights at Work. The chapter also contains a special annex aimed at overhauling Mexico’s corrupt ‘yellow’ union system.

 

Auto:

There are significant changes  in the rules governing auto trade, including more stringent “Made in North America” rules as cars must contain 75 per cent North American content (up from 62.5 per cent in the original NAFTA). New “Labour Value Content” rules are included to address the low-wage problem that has led to the direct migration of jobs from Canada to Mexico, requiring a significant percentage of the vehicle to be sourced from high-wage facilities.

Canada also secured a vital side letter that effectively exempts the auto sector from tariffs under Section 232, eliminating the Trump threat to hurt Canadian auto and auto-parts workers

 

Culture, media and energy:

Protections for culture remain intact, protecting Canadian broadcasters and media outlets. The U.S. was unsuccessful in its demands for increased market access and Canadian broadcasters have regained the right to air Canadian ads during the Super Bowl, stemming the loss of millions of dollars of much needed revenue.

Canada also regained sovereignty over our energy sector with the elimination of clauses in the original NAFTA that guaranteed the U.S. access to a set amount of Canadian oil and energy.

 

Dispute mechanisms:

Of course, any trade agreement is only as strong as the system that is in place to adjudicate disputes between nations. The USMCA maintains Chapter 19, a provision used to challenge U.S. countervailing or anti-dumping duty decisions, such as the tariffs imposed on Canada’s softwood lumber. Independent panels, not U.S. courts, will continue to resolve trade disputes that arise out of the deal.

 

While the USMCA contains many positives, there are negatives.

Disappointingly, despite the negotiation of the new trade deal the Trump administration has not lifted its punishing and unjustifiable tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. Canada and the U.S. have signed a side letter committing to a 60-day process of negotiation in an attempt to deal with this matter.

While Canada’s supply management system remains intact, the USMCA provides greater market access to U.S. dairy imports. Unifor supports Canadian dairy farmers in the call for fair compensation from the federal government to offset this market shift.

A Canadian concession on data protection rights will result in a rise in the price of pharmaceuticals as generic drugs will take longer to come to market. The anticipated increase in drug prices places new urgency on the need for a national, universal, pharmacare program. Unifor will continue to push the federal government to implement National Pharmacare to ensure that all Canadians have access to the medication that they need.

The USMCA has now begun the ratification process. Further updates will be sent to notify you of any major developments.

 

In Solidarity,

Jerry Dias
Unifor National President

 

 

Chères consœurs, chers confrères,

 

Cette semaine, le nouvel Accord États-Unis-Mexique-Canada (AEUMC) a été conclu. S’il est ratifié, l’accord remplacera l’ALENA qui est en vigueur depuis 25 ans.

Lorsque les renégociations ont commencé il y a un an, Unifor a choisi de lutter pour « un meilleur ALENA ». Notre équipe de dirigeantes et dirigeants a choisi de ne pas rester les bras croisés en émettant des critiques passives de l’extérieur. Nous étions déterminés à faire entendre notre voix à la table de négociation. Nous avions de grandes idées sur la façon de changer le type d’accords commerciaux auxquels nous nous opposons depuis 25 ans.
Même si l’AEUMC est loin d’être parfait, je crois que nous avons fait une différence en faisant avancer les choses pour les travailleuses et travailleurs.

J’aimerais remercier tous les membres qui sont descendus dans les rues de Montréal et d’Ottawa pendant les rondes de négociations du Canada, ont fait du lobbying auprès de leurs députés provinciaux, et signé des pétitions en ligne pour demander un accord commercial trilatéral plus progressiste. Il ne fait aucun doute que votre voix a été entendue et qu’elle s’est reflétée dans ces négociations.

Traditionnellement, les accords commerciaux sont axés sur les bénéfices, et non sur les besoins des gens. Après avoir participé à chaque ronde de négociations, que ce soit à Washington, à Mexico, à Ottawa ou à Montréal, je peux honnêtement dire que des discussions sur les gens, sur nos travailleuses et travailleurs, ont eu lieu au cours de ces négociations.

À de nombreux égards, l’AEUMC est historique. Il restructure les règles sur le commerce automobile en Amérique du Nord, établissant notamment de nouvelles règles visant à protéger les salaires. Il s’agit du premier accord commercial canadien à éliminer l’infâme mécanisme de règlement des différends entre investisseurs et États, une disposition qui permettait aux sociétés de poursuivre en justice les gouvernements pour des montants illimités devant des tribunaux privés. L’Accord établit des normes du travail exécutoires et plus strictes conçues pour cibler les syndicats mexicains « jaunes ».  Toutes ces demandes ont été présentées par Unifor et ses alliés.

Certaines parties intéressées du mouvement syndical, qui ont choisi de demeurer à l’écart pendant le long et souvent cinglant processus de négociation, ont maintenant décidé de se manifester pour s’opposer à l’accord. Soyons clairs : l’AEUMC comporte de très nombreuses faiblesses qu’il faut résoudre, mais ses aspects négatifs ne doivent pas être examinés isolément. Bien que certains secteurs fassent l’objet d’une préoccupation légitime, l’AEUMC représente une amélioration par rapport à l’ALENA original grâce aux gains mesurables réalisés en faveur des travailleuses et travailleurs. Nous devons accepter ces avancées et continuer de demander une réforme plus progressiste du commerce.

L’accord est vaste et touche plusieurs secteurs qui emploient des membres d’Unifor.  D’autres communications suivront sur des industries précises au cours des prochains jours, mais voici quelques-uns des éléments clés.

 

Travail

Un nouveau chapitre amélioré sur les conditions de travail a été intégré à l’AEUMC, lequel renferme des dispositions sur l’égalité des sexes et la violence faite aux travailleuses et travailleurs, et des références à la Déclaration de l’OIT relative aux principes et droits fondamentaux au travail. Le chapitre comprend également une annexe spéciale visant à revoir le régime syndical « jaune » corrompu du Mexique.

 

Secteur de l’automobile

D’importants changements ont été apportés aux règles régissant le commerce automobile, notamment des règles plus strictes sur la mention « Fabriqué en Amérique du Nord » puisque les automobiles devront maintenant comporter 75 % de pièces nord-américaines (plutôt que 62,5 % dans l’ALENA original). De nouvelles règles sur le « contenu de la valeur-travail » ont été incluses pour traiter du problème de la faible rémunération qui a entraîné une migration directe des emplois du Canada vers le Mexique. Ces règles exigent qu’un important pourcentage des pièces d’un véhicule proviennent d’usines où les salaires sont élevés.

Le Canada a également obtenu une lettre d’accompagnement des plus importantes, laquelle exempte le secteur de l’automobile des tarifs en vertu de l’article 232, éliminant ainsi la menace brandie par Donald Trump de faire du tort aux travailleuses et travailleurs du secteur canadien de l’automobile et des pièces.

 

Culture, média et énergie

Les mesures de protection de la culture demeurent intactes, protégeant ainsi les plateformes médiatiques et les télédiffuseurs canadiens. Les États-Unis n’ont pas obtenu un accès accru au marché canadien et les télédiffuseurs canadiens ont récupéré le droit de diffuser des publicités canadiennes pendant le Super Bowl, endiguant la perte de millions de dollars de recettes essentielles.

Le Canada a également repris la souveraineté de son secteur énergétique grâce à l’élimination de dispositions figurant dans l’ALENA original qui garantissaient que les États-Unis avaient accès à une quantité fixe de pétrole et d’énergie canadiens.

 

Mécanismes de règlement des différends

Bien entendu, la force de tout accord commercial réside dans le système qui est en place pour statuer sur les différends entre les nations. L’AEUMC maintient le chapitre 19, une disposition utilisée pour contester les décisions des États-Unis sur les droits compensateurs et antidumping, comme les tarifs imposés sur le bois d’œuvre résineux du Canada. Des groupes d’experts indépendants, et non les tribunaux américains, continueront de résoudre les différends commerciaux qui découlent de l’accord.

 

Bien que l’AEUMC renferme de nombreux aspects positifs, il comporte tout de même des points négatifs.

Malheureusement, malgré la négociation du nouvel accord commercial, l’administration Trump n’a pas éliminé les tarifs punitifs et injustifiables sur l’acier et l’aluminium canadiens. Le Canada et les États-Unis ont signé une lettre d’accompagnement, s’engageant à entamer un processus de négociation de 60 jours pour tenter de traiter de la question.

Bien que le système de la gestion de l’offre du Canada demeure intact, l’AEUMC prévoit un accès accru au marché des importations de produits laitiers des États-Unis. Unifor appuie les producteurs laitiers canadiens qui demandent une indemnisation juste au gouvernement fédéral pour compenser ce déplacement du marché.

Une concession canadienne sur les droits relatifs à la protection des données entraînera une hausse du prix des produits pharmaceutiques puisqu’il faudra plus de temps pour que les médicaments génériques arrivent sur le marché. La hausse prévue des prix des médicaments ajoute à l’urgence d’établir un régime national et universel d’assurance-médicaments. Unifor continuera de demander que le gouvernement fédéral mette en œuvre un régime national d’assurance-médicaments pour s’assurer que tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes ont accès aux médicaments dont ils ont besoin.

L’AEUMC entre maintenant dans la phase de ratification. D’autres comptes rendus vous seront envoyés pour vous informer de tout développement important.

 

En toute solidarité,

Jerry Dias
Président national d’Unifor

 

Video of Unifor’s 2018 Canadian Council – Corrected links | Vidéo du Conseil canadien 2018 d’Unifor – Liens révisés

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Jerry Dias
National President

Dear members,

I’m writing to share a video of the highlights from our 2018 Canadian Council in Halifax. Resending to include links to correct French and English versions:

English: https://youtu.be/9AoLFIrdCWo

French: https://youtu.be/ZXaOM-hbr9o

If you were a delegate, thank you for your contributions to another engaging and meaningful event.

If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to watch the video and share it with your friends and family. This year was crucial for Unifor and helped re-define how unions deal with employers that use scabs. Delegates heard first-hand from Unifor members who were on the front lines of strikes and lock-outs that used innovative and militant action—and won.

To find out how you can get more involved in your union visit our website, like our Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/UniforCanada) or follow us on Twitter (@UniforCanada or @SyndicatUnifor).

On behalf of the National Executive Board,

In solidarity,

 

Jerry Dias
Président national

Chers membres,

Je vous écris pour partager une vidéo présentant les faits saillants du Conseil canadien 2018 à Halifax. Réenvoyé avec liens révisés pours les version française et anglaise:

En anglais: https://youtu.be/9AoLFIrdCWo

En français: https://youtu.be/ZXaOM-hbr9o

Si vous étiez sur place en tant que déléguée ou délégué, je vous remercie de votre contribution à cet autre événement stimulant et enrichissant.

Si vous étiez dans l’incapacité d’y assister, je vous invite à regarder la vidéo et à la partager avec vos amis et les membres de votre famille. Cette année a été cruciale pour Unifor et a permis de redéfinir comment les syndicats confrontent les employeurs qui utilisent des briseurs de grève. Les déléguées et délégués ont pu entendre de première main des membres d’Unifor sur la ligne de front des grèves et des lock-out qui ont su utiliser des actions militantes novatrices pour obtenir victoire.

Pour savoir comment vous pouvez vous impliquer davantage dans votre syndicat, visitez notre site Web, cliquez « J’aime » sur notre page Facebook (www.Facebook.com/UniforCanada) ou suivez-nous sur Twitter (@UniforCanada ou @SyndicatUnifor).

Au nom du Conseil exécutif national,

 

British Columbia Fires Appeal

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To All Members:

British Columbia is coping with the worst wildfire season on record, with hundreds of active fires forcing thousands of people to evacuate.

Unifor has donated $150,000 to the Canadian Red Cross B.C. Fire Appeal to support immediate and ongoing relief efforts. The donation was made with contributions from the Social Justice Fund, the Canadian Community Fund and the B.C., Prairie, Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Regional Councils.

The damage is catastrophic, leading the province to extend a state of emergency until September 12. Urgent assistance is needed to provide aid and assist in long-term recovery.

You can help by donating to the Canadian Red Cross using the Unifor portal at www.redcross.ca/BCFires/Unifor.

Donations by B.C. residents will be doubled as the province will match all individual donations (up to a $20 million maximum).

Together we can make a difference in the lives of those devastated by the wildfires.

In Solidarity,

Jerry Dias

National President
Président national

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.

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