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Celebrating National Nursing Week with our thanks

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May 7-13, 2018

In recognition of the hard work and dedication of nurses throughout Canada, Unifor celebrates and salutes all nurses on National Nursing Week, held on May 7 to 13 this year.

There are an estimated 415,000 nurses across Canada. The profession has grown by 18 per cent over the past 10 years, including both Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs). In many provinces, RPNs/LPNs represent more than a quarter of all regulated nurses working in Canada. Any health service organization that wants to provide quality sustainable nursing care undeniably needs practical nurses!

Nurses play a vital role in delivering quality care, along with a team of skilled allied health care professions including personal support workers, continuing care attendants and others who provide direct and indirect care that is critical to the well-being of their patients. Nurses understand that they function within an entire team of workers who are competent and efficient in often difficult situations.

Practical nurses know mutual respect and teamwork are critical for upholding the highest standards of access and quality health care. The dedication, compassion and resilience of practical nurses from coast to coast to coast and all their vital contributions to offer excellence in patient care is at the back bone of the health care sector.

As we show our collective appreciation for nurses this week, it is also a reminder that much more must be done to ensure that all health care workers are able to provide care in workplaces that are safe, healthy and conducive to the well-being of patients and care providers.

Statistics show that health and social services is one of the most dangerous industries in Canada, based on injuries that lead to loss of work time, and incidents of violence that are rising as the health care system is stressed to its limits. Unifor calls for a renewed commitment by governments and employers to commit to violence free workplaces, enforce preventative measures and provide comprehensive training and resources.

Nurses and their colleagues in health care are increasingly over-burdened in the face of hospital overcrowding, chronic short-staffing and budget cuts. With an aging population that requires complex care, they still manage to meet patients’ needs competently.

And even with all these workplace challenges the nurses continue to provide dedicated quality care. Join us in saluting nurses in your community.

For the French version, click here.

Stop Trump Tariffs

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Dear members,

As you may have heard, U.S. President Donald Trump is introducing chaos into trade relations with Canada. His latest attack on Canadian workers put five pulp & paper mills in jeopardy of closure.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Commerce levied a new round of “anti-dumping” duties on products produce by Kruger Inc. in Corner Brook, N.L. and Catalyst Paper in Powell River, Port Alberni, and Crofton B.C. In all, 1,500 jobs could vanish by the end of the year.

These tariffs have one goal in mind: weaken Canadian paper manufactures for the benefit of U.S. producers—some of whom are close personal friends of the president.

Unifor has responded with a high profile campaign to fight back against Trump the bully. I’m asking you take two important steps to help:

Thank you for taking the time to show solidarity with Unifor members.

In solidarity,

 

Jerry Dias

National President


For French Version: CLICK HERE

Unifor celebrates International Francophonie Day 2018/Unifor célèbre la Journée internationale de la francophonie 2018

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Unifor celebrates International Francophonie Day 2018

March 20, 2018

International Francophonie Day, March 20, is an occasion for French-speaking communities to celebrate both their language and the diversity of the cultures in which it is spoken.

As a pan-Canadian union, Unifor is proudly bilingual. Unifor’s Francophone members add diversity and strength to the union’s calls for progressive changes for all workers in Canada. Today, we recognize their contributions and celebrate the diversity of our movement.

Unifor invites members to reflect on the challenges of working in French, and maintaining the French language on this important day. It is estimated that there are over 274 million French-speakers in the world, several million of whom live and work in Canada.

You can help support Francophone workers. For people who are concerned about the use of French in the workplace, languedutravail.org offers resources for organizations and individuals to help ensure a clear future for the French language. It is designed to provide information and promote tools that can help French-speakers work in the common language in the workplace. You can also use this tool to foster new ties of solidarity between workers to ensure that the French language remains strong.

The date of March 20 was chosen to commemorate the creation of the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique (ACCT), the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie, in Niamey, Niger, on March 20, 1970.

Download the statement.

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Unifor célèbre la Journée internationale de la francophonie 2018

Le 20 mars 2018

La Journée internationale de la francophonie, le 20 mars, est l’occasion pour les collectivités francophones de célébrer leur langue et la diversité des cultures dans laquelle elle est parlée.

En tant que syndicat pancanadien, Unifor est fier d’être bilingue. Les membres francophones d’Unifor ajoutent de la diversité et de la force aux appels du syndicat pour des changements progressistes pour tous les travailleurs et travailleuses au Canada. Aujourd’hui, nous reconnaissons leurs contributions et nous célébrons la diversité de notre mouvement.

À l’occasion de cette journée importante, Unifor invite ses membres à réfléchir aux défis de travailler en français et de maintenir la langue française. On estime qu’il y a plus de 274 millions de francophones dans le monde, dont plusieurs millions vivent et travaillent au Canada.

Vous pouvez aider à soutenir les travailleuses et travailleurs francophones. Pour les personnes soucieuses de l’avenir du français en milieu de travail, le site languedutravail.org offre des ressources aux organisations et aux personnes afin d’assurer l’avenir de la langue française. Ce site est conçu pour diffuser de l’information et faire la promotion des outils de travail susceptibles d’aider les francophones à travailler dans la langue commune du milieu de travail. Vous pouvez aussi utiliser cet outil pour établir de nouvelles solidarités entre travailleuses et travailleurs afin d’assurer que le français reste une langue forte.

La date du 20 mars a été choisie pour commémorer la création de l’Agence de coopération culturelle et technique (ACCT), l’organisation précurseur de l’Organisation internationale de la francophonie à Niamey, au Niger, le 20 mars 1970.

Téléchargez la déclaration

Uniting against hate 2018

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Greetings,

Unifor strongly believes that the labour movement has a key role to play in the fight against racism and Islamophobia.  We have worked hard over the years to ensure that anti-racism, equity, and social justice are at the very root of everything that we do.  We often pride ourselves in thinking that the problems that exist in other countries in terms of racism and anti-immigrant hostility, do not happen here. However, as recent events in Canada have shown, we are not immune.

In just the past few years we have witnessed mosques being vandalized and the tragic shooting deaths of six Muslim Canadians in Quebec City; the murders of two Indigenous youths from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine, and a system that has failed to bring justice for their families and communities; organized white supremacist rallies in our cities and at our borders targeting immigrants and refugees, and anti-black racism, police violence, and racial profiling of youth and people of colour.

While we are saddened and angered by these tragic events, we know we need to do more.  The labour movement needs to do more.  We must show a unified front against all individuals and groups that seek to divide us and who actively threaten Indigenous Peoples, people of colour, Muslims, migrants and refugees.  We must work to not only find ways to better support our allies and partners who are leading this fight at the local and national level, but also find ways to support our members who want to become anti-racist and migrant justice advocates in their workplaces and communities.

As part of our continued work in this area, Unifor will be convening a special National Roundtable on Racism & Islamophobia on Thursday, August 16th, 2018 in Halifax, Nova Scotiain the lead-up to our annual Canada Council Meeting.  Bringing together representatives from a variety of social justice organizations, grassroots advocacy groups, labour activists, academics, and government representatives, our goal of this roundtable is to engage in an open discussion about the role of the labour movement in combatting racism, and how we can forge better alliances with activists and organizations that are leading the fight against racial and religious intolerance.

Our desire is for attendees to leave with some concrete strategies and tools they can bring to their workplaces and communities and leave them feeling motivated, inspired, and supported to become active anti-racist allies and activists.  We encourage you to attend this very important event.

Thank you.

In Solidarity / En toute solidarité,

 

Mohamad Alsadi

Director, Human Rights and International Department.

Directeur, Service des droits de la personne et des relations internationales

T: 1.800.268.5763 ext. 8438 | C416.788-0846
205 Placer Court, Toronto, ON, M2H 3H9

@UniforTheUnion | @SyndicatUnifor

Premier Wynne Prorogues the Legislature, Kills Long-Term Care Minimum Care Standards Bill

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Premier Kathleen Wynne visited the Lieutenant Governor General and revealed her government’s intention to prorogue the Ontario Legislature, ending this legislative session at 1:30 p.m today. This is a measure used to take all legislation off the table that the governing Liberal Party does not want to deal with prior to the election. It means that all Bills (pieces of legislation), motions, and petitions before the Legislature die and will have to be reintroduced in the next session. As MPPs are limited in the times and ways by which they can introduce legislation and motions, proroguing the Legislature clears the decks for the governing Liberals to try to control the agenda leading into the election, scheduled for June 7.

In so doing, Wynne has killed Bill 33, the long-term care homes legislation. This vital legislation, which would have brought in a 4-hour minimum care standard for long-term care homes’ (nursing homes) residents, had passed 2nd Reading in the Legislature and could have been passed in 3rd Reading prior to the election, if the Liberals truly supported it. (The Liberals supported the Bill through 1st and 2nd Reading, then sat on it and did not move it forward and have now killed it. Now, it will have to go back and start from the beginning again.)

NDP MPP France Gelinas has committed to re-introducing the Bill at the earliest opportunity. As the government will continue to sit, likely until mid-April, there will likely be a chance to get the new bill through 1st Reading and perhaps 2nd Reading, forcing the Liberals to have to debate the issue in the Legislature and to be accountable for it.

For background info on Bill 33 click here: http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/index.php/call-to-action-take-these-actions-to-win-improved-long-term-care-in-ontario-asap-pass-bill-33/

Former Health Minister Eric Hoskins, prior to leaving his position, committed to bringing in minimum care standards but the measures he was considering were not spelled out. We will be holding Kathleen Wynne to this commitment throughout the election. Eric Hoskins has now been replaced with Helena Jazcek as Health Minister.

The Conservatives supported Bill 33 through 1st and 2nd Reading. This was great news, but we are concerned because their platform currently includes a frightening $6 billion in public service cuts (and would almost certainly impact health care badly). New PC Leader Doug Ford says he is writing a new platform. We will push to see that it includes a better plan for funding health care, including public hospitals, long-term care and home care.

Financial Accountability Office Reports Health Care Funding Must Improve or Services Will be Cut

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Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office, an Office of the Legislature that provides scrutiny over fiscal (budget) matters, reported yesterday that the province’s planned health care funding is too low to meet population need. The FAO said the drivers of annual health-sector spending — the aging and growing population, and inflation — will grow by an average of 4.3 per cent annually, considerably more than the government’s planned 2.9 per cent growth in spending on existing programs.

“Unless the province can find significant efficiencies in the health sector, additional spending will be required in order to avoid reductions in health-care access or quality in the coming years,” said FAO chief financial analyst Jeffrey Novak.

Ontario’s new Health Minister responded yesterday but did not provide any concrete details of what they plan. In a statement to the media, Helena Jazcek is quoted as saying: “We need to be responsive to families that have struggled with access to care by putting patients first….That is why we are making a deliberate choice to run a deficit, so that we can invest more in health care, hospitals, home care, mental health and long term care.”

The Ontario Health Coalition is asking for 5.2 per cent funding increase for hospitals to deal with the province’s hospital crisis. Funding is needed to restore beds and services to address the grave problems of patients on stretchers in hallways for days unable to get into overcrowded hospital wards; closed operating rooms and cancelled surgeries; and the closures of wards, clinics, and entire small and rural hospitals. Currently, the Liberal government’s plan is to increase funding in next year’s budget and then reduce it again the year after the election. The NDP has been advocating vociferously to stop the hospital cuts and closures and deal with the overcrowding crisis. So far, their commitment is to meet population growth/inflation and the”unique needs of communities” but we have not seen a concrete number yet. The Conservatives are writing a new platform under Doug Ford. The current platform called for billions in public service cuts without specifying where they would fall, but almost certainly impacting health care negatively. To date, Ford has not said much about hospitals, only that he wants to talk with nurses and teachers. We will be pushing for commitments that will actually mean improvements for Ontarians as the provincial election nears.

Federal Government Backing Off Full Public Pharmacare: Health Coalitions Push for Plan for All Canadians

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Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins left his job to work with the federal government to establish a national pharmacare plan to expand public health insurance in Canada to cover drugs. Or so we thought. But at the end of February, Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau started backing away from a full plan for drug coverage. According to the Toronto Star, ” There will be no pharmacare “plan,” he said on Wednesday, but instead a pharmacare “strategy” that “deals with the gaps,” is “fiscally responsible” and “doesn’t throw out the system that we currently have”, he said. Note: we do not currently have any system at all and many Canadians suffer massive costs for drugs when faced with serious illness. This has long been a key issue for which Health Coalitions across the country have advocated.

Canada is the only country with a public health care system that does not have a national public drug plan for all.  Polls have repeatedly shown that Canadians are in favour of such a plan. As well, studies have proven that a single drug plan covering everyone would save up to $10.7 billion dollars per year by negotiating lower drug prices and ending payments to insurance companies. The Liberals’ plans would forgo those savings.

Health Coalitons across Canada are pushing back. Currently the Ontario Health Coalition (and other provincial and national health coalitions too) is on tour with the Canadian Labour Congress, holding town hall meetings across our province to call for a national drug coverage program: pharmacare for all. For dates/locations: http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/index.php/action-update-pharmacare-ontario-tour/

Unifor Six Minute Challenge

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The long term care sector in Ontario is at a crisis point. Ongoing budgetary cuts, combined with short staffing and more complex patient needs mean that residents are not getting the care that they need.

Did you know that in many long term care facilities, personal support workers have only six minutes in the morning to prepare residents for breakfast?

Unifor is proposing a six minute challenge – can you get ready in six minutes in the morning? Give it a try! Then challenge your MPP and let them know that they need to support four hours of direct, hands on care per resident, every single day.

The union is advocating for an evidence-based, minimum, measurable and enforceable standard of care within long term care homes. This includes a legislated daily standard of direct care of four hours per resident – as included in Bill 33 ‘A Time to Care Act.’

Currently, there is no minimum standard of daily care. Approximately 78,000 Ontarians live in long term care homes, most of who are over 85 years old and have mobility issues, dementia, and complex medical needs.

Unifor is urging all political parties to support four hours of minimum daily care in long term care homes, the integration of front-line workers into the implementation of the new Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors,’ as well as measures for accountability by nursing home operators to be included in the new regulations.

http://www.unifor.org/en/take-action/campaigns/care-ontario-seniors

www.unifor.org/#6minchallenge

Unifor women lead our movement

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Each and every day, the women of Unifor are building a movement and resisting in the streets, at the ballot box, and at the bargaining table. When women work collectively, across our diversities, we are a force that makes change.

The leadership that drives this change within Unifor are the three Regional Directors. Joie Warnock, Western Regional Director, Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director and Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director, serve as the fearless, bold leadership that all members of Unifor look to for direction and expertise in the fight for progressive change for all workers. On International Women’s Day we celebrate their daily actions and commitment to build our movement and make our union strong.

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Save Canadian News! Sign the Petition!

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Canadian media is under attack.

US tech giants Google and Facebook now dominate the digital advertising market in Canada – taking all of the advertising dollars that Canadian media outlets rely upon to provide news to Canadians.

Big Canadian ISP companies make money on every byte of data for the news, information and entertainment consumed by Canadians, but share none of it with Canadian news outlets and other Canadian content creators.

Canadian news outlets are being forced to shut down due to lack of funding. Over 30 local TV stations are set to shut down in the next four years, while newspapers and online news websites are in even worse shape!

Sign in here

Unifor members gather to lobby B.C. government

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VICTORIA—Unifor activists will present policy proposals on workplace health and safety reforms, economic security for women, and progressive labour law amendments during meetings this week in Victoria.

“Last spring, British Columbians voted for change. There is no time to waste when it comes to making workplaces safer and restoring workers’ basic rights,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.

Unifor says the former government stripped B.C.’s most vulnerable workers of rights that left exploitation and wage theft virtually un-policed. Re-establishing clear standards with swift enforcement will be a priority for the union in the months ahead.

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U.S. takes Canadian steel and aluminum as NAFTA hostage

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Round seven of NAFTA renegotiations ended in Mexico City on March 5 with the American government holding Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors hostage in an effort to extort a deal.

“The U.S. is using Canada’s steel and aluminum industries and workers as NAFTA bargaining chips,” said National President Jerry Dias. “I’m encouraged to see that Canada has taken a firm stance against this trade blackmail.”

At a joint press conference with her Mexican and U.S. counterparts Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told media that Canada would view any tariffs on steel or aluminum as unacceptable.

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