All posts by Unifor Local 112

ORANGE SHIRT DAY- SEPTEMBER 30, 2020

Orange Shirt Day · September 30
Honouring and acknowledging the experiences of former students and survivors of the residential school systemOrange Shirt Day is held annually across Canada on September 30 to honour the experiences of former students and survivors and to promote awareness about the residential school system and the harm it has had and continues to have on Indigenous communities.This month, in accordance with the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) calls to action, the Government of Canada recognized the national historic significance of the residential school system as a tragic and defining event in Canadian history. Also announced was the designation of the residential school in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba and the site of the Shubenacadie residential school in Nova Scotia as national historic sites.

At the initiative of the Long Plain First Nation, the Portage building is now the National Indian Residential School Museum of Canada, which will educate the world about what happened to Indigenous children across Canada.

On Orange Shirt Day this year, the Unifor Social Justice Fund is making a donation to the newly opened museum.

In testimony by survivors to the TRC, hunger was the common theme. As the TRC concluded in their 2015 summary report – the federal government knowingly chose not to provide schools with resources to ensure that Indigenous children received adequate nutrition, hunger was always present.

This year in commemoration of residential school children and survivors, Unifor locals and Regional Councils will be making donations in support of Indigenous school breakfast and lunch programs.

Here are ways that you can participate:

  • Wednesday September 30 wear an orange shirt and post a photo with a message of support using #OrangeShirtDay #Unifor #EveryChildMatters
  • Add this frame to your Facebook profile photo
  • Participate in Unifor’s Orange Shirt Day webinar
    When: September 29, 2020 at 1–2 p.m. Eastern Time
    Register now by contacting onlineeducation@unifor.org
  • The Spirit Bear Plan is an initiative by the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada. Please help end inequalities in public services for Indigenous children, youth and families by urging the Canadian government to adopt this Plan – click here to send letter to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Follow @Caringsociety and @SpiritBear on Twitter and Facebook and repost their updates.

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Webinar on the updated Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy rules

Greetings,

As most of you know, on July 17, 2020 the Federal government announced that the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program would be extended until December 19, 2020, with new rules being proposed for the remaining program periods (Periods 5 through 10).

The new rules drastically change both the eligibility requirements and benefit levels, and will have significant ramifications for most of our members whose wages are currently being subsidized by the CEWS.

The new program rules are highly complex and confusing to understand, given the wide range of possible values for the CEWS benefit and the calculations needed to determine what that value is for any particular organization.

In the vast majority of cases, eligible recipients of the CEWS will see a significant reduction in their wage subsidies starting with Period 7 (August 30 – September 26).

The program also significantly impacts furloughed workers by stipulating that any worker on paid leave will only receive subsidies equal to what they would otherwise receive under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and/or Employment Insurance (EI).

Unifor’s Education department will be holding an online webinar on the new CEWS rules next week, on Wednesday, September 16 at 2 p.m. ET.

Those interested can register here: https://onlineeducation.unifor.org/cews_0826_20200916

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
President

 

Black Lives Matter at our picket lines and rallies.

Greetings Unifor family,

Every day, we are reminded why our efforts to fight for racial justice are so very important, and why we must remain vigilant.

As you are aware, there have been many conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement since its founding in 2012. Its slogan has seeped deeply into our culture and conversation. Despite our familiarity with the saying, “Black Lives Matter,” as workers we must not co-opt the phrase for our own causes. 

We should all be aware of the impacts of our words, and the importance of the rallying cry: Black Lives Matter.

“Black Lives Matter” came to prominence after the murder of Trayvon Martin in the United States. It was not intended to take away from the fact that many Black, Indigenous and racialized communities have been demanding that their lives matter for hundreds of years.

Let me be clear – when people say that Black Lives Matter, they are not saying that other lives do not matter.  It simply refers to the fact that inequalities in our society, such as employment opportunities, housing, education, health, and violence at the hands of the police, have a greater and negatively disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.

When the slogan is appropriated for other causes (by adding words or deleting the word “Black”) it takes away from the importance of the movement and erases the experiences and the critical message Black people are striving to convey. 

Even if not intended, it makes a comparison that campaigns, job actions, and working conditions are somehow equal to the countless lives taken due to racism. Both are unfair and wrong, but are completely different.

We must support anti-oppression organizations and listen to impacted communities voicing concerns, solutions and next steps. In order to achieve equality and to ensure all lives really do have equal value in our communities, we must demand that Black, Indigenous and racialized lives are supported, valued and appreciated. Only then will we come together to take on the capitalist system that actually creates and reproduces all forms of inequality that we as a union must fight back against.

There is power in words.

As workers fighting for economic and social justice and equality we can find our own words to describe these battles, while we continue to proudly say that Black Lives Matter.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

 

Collective action toward racial justice

Greetings,

Globally workers, organizations, sports teams, business and unions continue to take direct action and demand racial justice. These demands are not new for many Black, Indigenous and racialized communities and advocacy groups and it’s a breathe of fresh air that these voices are being heard throughout the world.

We have all been proud to see unity from major league sport teams in the WNBA, NBA, MLB, and NHL showing their support through strike action, game stoppage and statements.

These compounding actions build on months of protest, and generations of organizing in opposition to racial oppression including anti-Black racism, colonialism and all other forms of racism.

Our union recognizes that racism is a tool of the capitalist system built and designed to divide people for the profits of a few, and we must never lose focus on that.

Our ability to change this system, and our own lives, comes from our collective power.

Unifor is a union for everyone, not just members, we aim to raise the standards for all workers in Canada.  We made demands of the Provincial and Federal Governments to not only recognize key historical days like Emancipation Day, but have also pushed for a Federal Anti-racism Action Plan.

Unifor is not a union that waits for a minimum standard, we create standards, and raise the bar through our collective action and collective bargaining.

Throughout the pandemic we have made racial justice part of everything we produce or every action that we take:

  • Mental Health resources that recognize the compounding issue of racism on mental wellness.
  • Education, including ongoing seminars on allyship, advocacy for migrant workers, and bystander intervention. Register today.
  • We had a National Day of Action for Racial Justice on July 31st where locals across the country held actions of raising funds for local businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of colour, and collaborating with local organizations.
  • Endorsement of the Call to End Systemic Racism and Redefine Community Safety, recognizing the need to demilitarize the police, reallocate and invest in social systems in communities and the demand to decriminalize health and mental health.
  • Hosting public conversations on racism, including Working together for Racial Justice at the Summer Summit.

Unifor’s Regional Equity Committees lead our equity work, and are adjusting to the new normal. I want to thank local unions who support member’s participation in these vital structures, and cannot wait to see the next 3-year goals that these committees will identify and take on.

Once again this past weekend, Unifor members across the country protested the racial injustices that exist in society and continue to demand real, systemic change.

We know that many of you are looking to see what you can do to help.  Connect with local Indigenous and BLM organizers to participate in the movement that we are witnessing today, and read more on Unifor’s updated Policy on Racial Justice.

We cannot let this flame of energy and motivation burn out. Labour unions have a responsibility to act when workers are harmed, and it is obvious to us that racism is a life or death issue for many of Canada’s workers.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

Health and Safety Webinar for Local 112 Hospitality Unit

Thursday, Sep 10, 2020 7:00 pm | 1 hour 30 minutes | (UTC-04:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Meeting number: 132 052 4831

Password: crETFB2y9V7 (27383229 from phones and video systems)

https://unifor100.my.webex.com/unifor100.my/j.php?MTID=m622548639261ffedaadbc64fb66556ac

 

Join by video system

Dial 1320524831@webex.com

You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.

 

Join by phone

Canada Toll (Hamilton)  +1-365-204-2000

Canada Toll (Toronto)    +1-416-216-5643

Access code: 132 052 4831

Unifor Labour Day Activities: Fair Pay Forever

Dear members,

As you know, 1,400 members of Unifor Local 597 working at Dominion (Loblaw Co.) grocery stores in Newfoundland are on strike for a fair contract. They are part of the larger struggle for retail workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic while underpaid and disrespected by greedy employers.

In light of this development, 2020 Labour Day activities are going to focus on Unifor’s #FairPayForever campaign to support Local 597 members and exert public pressure on Loblaws to negotiate a fair contract, and on all retail corporations to respect workers.

The following is a list of locations in Ontario where Unifor will host leafletting of Loblaw-owned facilities:

  • Real Canadian Superstore- 12pm to 2pm ET
    4371 Walker Rd., Windsor
    Contact: Jack Robinson
  • Shoppers Drug Mart- 12pm to 2pm ET
    510 Hamilton Rd, London
    Contact: Julie Herron
  • Shopper’s Drug Mart – Forest Glen Plaza – 12pm to 2pm ET
    700 Strasburg Rd. Kitchener
    Contact: Tim Mitchell
  • Loblaw – Maple Leaf Gardens – 12pm to 2pm ET
    60 Carleton Street, TO
    Contact: Josephine Petcher
  • Loblaw – 12pm to 2pm ET
    64 Isabella Street, Ottawa
    Contact: Ron Girardin

View and share this list online.

If you cannot get to one of these locations on Labour Day, Local Unions are encouraged to print off the attached handbill and organize a small group of members to distribute it to customers of your closest Loblaws/Superstore/Provigo/Zehrs/No Frills/Shoppers Drug Mart property.

Please be sure to follow all COVID-19 safety procedures, including practicing social distancing, wearing masks, gloves and, if possible, face-shields. The handbill also includes a QR code that customers, should they not wish to take a handbill, can scan to visit Unifor’s #FairPayForever website and sign the petition.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with your Area Director.

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias
Unifor National President

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Updated Unifor Racial Justice Policy

Dear members,

On Friday, June 12, Unifor’s National Executive Board unanimously endorsed the new Racial Justice Policy. Considering the protests against racism globally, we as trade unionists must not merely name the problem, but work every day towards equality. We must reflect on the inherent structures of power that advantage some over others. We must understand the connections between capitalism and racism. We must use the power of love and solidarity to build the better world we know is possible. And we must listen. Listen to our friends, our sisters and brothers, who face racism every single day. We’re asking you to share this policy and to make it shareable in all workplaces and within your local.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
National President

 

 

Unifor condemns the most recent blatant acts of racism and racially-motivated police violence

Unifor emphatically condemns the most recent blatant acts of racism and racially-motivated police violence in the United States of America. 

But we also know racism is not just a problem in the United States. It is also the daily reality faced by Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities here in Canada as well.

Racism continues to govern the lives of Black, Indigenous and racialized peoples, and as we have seen in the case of George Floyd, racism is taking lives.

We must call the killing of George Floyd exactly what it is: anti-Black racism.

As trade unionists, we must not merely name the problem, but work every day towards equality.

We must reflect on the inherent structures of power that advantage some over others. We must understand the connections between capitalism and racism. We must use the power of love and solidarity to build the better world we know is possible. And we must listen. Listen to our friends, our sisters and brothers, who face anti-Black racism every single day.

We must recognize that our union must be one of many catalysts in society engaged in the undoing of discriminatory frameworks and systemic racism and in achieving an equitable society for all.

Today in Canada, the issue of anti-Black racism is also dominating our consciousness as citizens march seeking answers to the questions surrounding the death this week of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto.

We must also challenge in Canada the systemic racism ingrained in institutions, policies and practices.

It’s why Unifor recently demanded the collection of race-based and Indigenous data around COVID19 because we know this pandemic impacts Canadians differently and is felt disproportionately by racialized communities.

On behalf of Unifor’s more than 315,000 members, we send our condolences and solidarity to all Black communities affected by systemic racism and who have been traumatized by this week’s acts of violence and we join them in demanding accountability and justice.

As a trade union, we can’t ignore the deadly threat racism poses to our Black, Indigenous and racialized sisters and brothers and friends. We must speak up against it.

The trade union movement was built by working people determined to bring justice and equity in our workplaces and in our society. Our greatest progress has come when we have understood the importance of combating discrimination and uniting all workers.

We will not let racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia, religious discrimination and oppression divide us because an injury to one is an injury to all. Let us not be silent.

It is not only honourable to unite in solidarity against hate, it is necessary to build a more equitable world. Being an ally matters.

Unifor asks all members, retirees and allies to challenge oppression and inequality through activism and political action, demanding redress for past wrongs.

Our union is proud to work with trade unions across the continent through the North American Solidarity Project to combat racism. Unifor will continue to fight racism at work and in our communities. We will continue to equip members with the necessary tools to combat racism safely through a robust system of education and training.  Only through education can people unlearn bias and end the cycle of racism. And only through solidarity will the better world we all seek be built.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias

 

ONLINE VOTING REGISTRATION FORM

Restarting Ontario’s Economy

Dear members,

As the Government of Ontario moves towards reopening certain sectors of the economy, I would like to advise you of Unifor’s recent efforts to protect your rights, your health and safety, and ensure that your needs are met during this next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response.

Specifically, your union has urged the provincial government to:

  • provide clear guidance on worker rights and employer responsibilities in all workplaces operating during the pandemic,
  • to ensure critical services, notably transit and childcare, are accessible to all workers who need them at every step of the restart program, and
  • that workplace restarts only happen in lockstep with sufficient PPE for all workers.


The comprehensive details of our union’s concerns are outlined in a
letter sent today to Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips.

Additional resources can be found on Unifor’s COVID-19 site at unifor.org/COVID19, including our Returning to Work from COVID-19 Closure fact sheet and our comprehensive analysis on Communicating Worker Rights and Employer Responsibilities.

Reopening Ontario’s economy cannot mean business as usual. Keeping workers and the public safe is a monumental task for governments and employers, and one that is of grave importance.

There are still many challenges to overcome with the COVID-19 pandemic. I urge all members to stay safe and continue to follow the guidance of public health officials.

Should you have any questions or concerns about workplace health and safety issues as well as access to critical services and PPE, please get in touch with the appropriate member of our staff and leadership team.

Sincerely,
Naureen Rizvi

 

Fix EI, before it’s too late!

What do we do when the CERB runs out?

The federal government is investigating making changes to our Employment Insurance (EI) system, before millions of workers run out of the CERB and discover how broken Canada’s EI system really is.

Unifor sent a detailed letter to Minister Qualtrough on May 19, outlining how the federal government can finally fix EI. Read the full letter here:
https://www.unifor.org/…/short-and-long-term-considerations…

You can speak up and make sure they make the right decision.

Call Minister Qualtrough’s office today, by clicking the link below:
https://www.unifor.org/…/take…/campaigns/fix-ei-its-too-late

We can’t go back to yesterday’s broken system.

Unifor thanks nurses for quality care and support during pandemic

Unifor stands with workers across the country and around the globe in recognizing and celebrating the outstanding contributions of nurses through the release of report highlighting contribution of RPNs and LPNs during National Nursing Week May 11 – 17, 2020.

Nurses across the country need our support and solidarity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses, along with all health care workers, are on the front line, battling the deadly virus each day. The work of RPNs and LPNs is invaluable to providing care for Canadians at all hours of the day.

Unifor, SEIU and CUPE commissioned an independent, academic research study on the role RPNs within high functioning nurse teams in the acute care sector. “The Role of Nurses in High Functioning Teams in Acute Care Settings” report aims to provide a snapshot of the evolving and critical role of RPNs in hospitals.

This report reveals the need for RPNs in our hospital settings. It shows that the integration of RPNs within a health care team is positive and is even more successful when there is organizational support for this structure.

The report further explains how the RPN role in Ontario has changed and expanded over time – both in their educational requirements and scope of practice.

RPNs and LPNs work with Registered Nurses in high-functioning teams to provide patient care in hospitals, long-term care homes and in communities. They receive specialized training and education and continue to show Canadians the vital role they play in our health care system.

As a union, our commitment to improving the working conditions of health care workers has been a priority prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be after the pandemic has ended. We need provincial governments to immediately correct the wrongdoings of the past and invest in health care.

National Nurses Week was established to mark the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s contribution to the field of medicine. Nightingale is often credited as the founder of modern nursing, as she is responsible for many of the standards that are required of present-day nurses, including strict handwashing and hygiene practices.

This year the World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the year of the Nurse and of the Midwife.

Here are two immediate actions you can take to show your appreciation and solidarity to nurses this week:

  1. Throughout this week post our Facebook shareable to highlight the work of RPNs and LPNs

2. Thank a nurse that you know in your life!

 

Fair Pay Forever – Keep COVID-19 Wage Premiums for Retail Workers

Unifor calls on employers to raise the bar for all food, pharmacy and other essential retail workers by making pandemic wage premiums permanent.

For Canada’s retail workers, a wage increase is long overdue—workers across Canada deserve better than low wages and precarious work.

Sign this petition to help raise the bar for everyone by encouraging CEOs and senior executives at Canada’s largest retailers to make COVID-19 wage premiums permanent.

Workers essential to the functioning of our country report living paycheque to paycheque, struggling to cover rent or food costs, and being unable to get ahead in order to reduce debt, start a family, or become a home-owner.

Hazard pay for workers during the pandemic is the minimum that employers can do during these unprecedented times. Employers must commit to permanently improving the living conditions of workers.

Unions and labour activists have been calling for a living wage and better work protections for Canadians for decades.

It’s time for employers to take bold steps toward a living wage for all.

Share the petition (www.unifor.org/fairpayforever) on your social media to help spread the word.

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias
National President

lhcope343

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Take Action – Labour Ministers must step up their responsibilities during COVID-19

During pandemics, it is frontline workers who keep society running—providing healthcare, access to goods and services, transportation, telecommunications, and so much more. More needs to be done to protect the health and safety of these working heroes.

Workers are speaking out about the dangers of a lack of access to protective equipment, unaddressed concerns about prevention plans, and the mental health repercussions of being on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

Now more than ever before, the voice of workers must be heard, listened to, and acted upon. But so far, labour ministers have been missing in action.

It’s the responsibility of provincial and federal Ministers of Labour to uphold and enforce safe working environments. Will you help us hold them to account?

Let’s tell Canada’s Ministers of Labour to support and enforce the right to refuse unsafe work without repercussion.  

Sign the petition here: unifor.org/safeworknow

Share this post to your Facebook to show support: https://tinyurl.com/y9eusjn2

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Unifor celebrates Personal Support Worker Day

Unifor celebrates personal support workers (PSWs) in Ontario, and Continuing Care Assistants (CCAs) in Nova Scotia on May 19, Personal Support Worker Day.

Across Canada these workers provide the highest quality patient-centred care every day in our communities, our homes, and in long-term care homes and hospitals.

“PSWs and CCAs are incredible caregivers who make sure our loved ones are healthy and safe,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This pandemic has further exposed the unjust working conditions these workers face every day due to insufficient government investment and continuous cost cutting. These workers deserve better as they continue to serve our most vulnerable despite being overworked and undervalued by governments and employers.”

In the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Unifor has raised the alarm on the crisis in long-term care where many PSWs and CCAs work. The pandemic has shed more light on the sector’s deteriorating working conditions. PSWs and CCAs have faced increasing workloads and have often work short-staffed due in part to the sector’s unfair practices and below inflation wage increases.

For many years, Unifor has specifically called on the Ontario government to address the issues facing PSWs. The union has long advocated for a regulatory minimum of four hours per patient as the standard of care in long-term care homes.

“The pandemic must serve as a wake-up call to Doug Ford that ignoring the risks PSWs face are extreme the crisis in long-term care can no longer be tolerated,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director. “The health of Ontarians relies on the government immediately developing a holistic strategy that attracts more PSWs back to the industry, regulates minimum hours of care and increases wages beyond the pandemic pay premium. These workers have shown their value time and time again. Now Doug Ford must show them the respect that they deserve.”

In Nova Scotia, Unifor joined with five other unions to advocate for better protection for CCAs, including providing the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all health care workers.

“COVID-19 has revealed what Unifor has been saying for years about long-term care being under-funded and under-supported by government,” said Linda MacNeil, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “Despite the Nova Scotia government having commissioned an Expert Panel on Long-Term Care, to which Unifor contributed recommendations, and the findings of that panel in early 2019 have not been corrected due to the lack of urgency by McNeil’s government. Workers continue to be over-worked and underpaid, recruitment and retention issues persist.”

Dias calls it an embarrassment that provincial governments have not acted on pleas from long-term care workers, their unions, employers and other advocacy groups.  

Personal Support Workers and Continuing Care Assistants are vital members of the patient care team. Their hard work and professionalism is critical to and appreciated by residents and clients. The union will continue to call on governments and employers to provide adequate personal protective equipment, maintain sufficient staffing levels and give fair compensation for long-term care workers during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias
National President

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Asian and South Asian Heritage Month

May 1, 2020

May marks Asian and South Asian Heritage Month in Canada, an important time to celebrate the contributions and achievements Asian and South Asian Canadians have made to our society—enriching our culture, politics, diversity, and everyday life. During this time, we also reflect on the perseverance and activism of Asian Canadians who’ve shaped Canada into what it is today.

This month is of high importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, where incidents of anti-Asian racism has surged. Those who are or are perceived to be Chinese or Asian, are experiencing stigma, racism, and prejudice because of the continued spread of misinformation related to coronavirus. As cases of COVID-19 are increasingly reported, so are cases of racist behavior where people are placing blame on communities and individuals who have nothing to do with the outbreak. As the union for everyone, Unifor is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion and to breaking down barriers and stereotypes.

The struggles of people of Asian descent parallels stories of resilience and prosperity—from Canada’s immigration surge during B.C.’s gold rush, to the Chinese Exclusion Head Tax, to the internment of Japanese people during World War II, to today, where Asian Canadians continue to thrive despite anti-Asian racism.

Many South Asian community organizations have shown true solidarity during rough times by continually giving back. Despite the racist history many South Asian people face, and continue to face, in Canada, communities have continued to persevere through racist policies that excluded South Asian people from voting, participating in political office, jury duty, professions in public service jobs and labour in public works. One such story is that of the Komagata Maru, a vessel transporting 376 passengers that was denied admission into Canada as a way to restrict immigration.

Asian and South Asian Canadians have overcome great adversity to live here and generations of hard work has transformed communities and helped make Canada prosperous. During May, we celebrate these achievements and recommit to our pledge to combat racism.

Canada’s legacy of anti-Asian racism is still rampant. As advocates for human rights, we still have sobering lessons to learn about racism, and ways we can elevate the fight for an anti-racist Canada. Collectively, we will learn how to do better and inspire others to do the same.

Read the full statement on our website.

Download and share the social media image.

lhcope343

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Unifor celebrates the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia: In 2020, Shout Your Pride!

May 17, 2020

Unifor marks the 2020 International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) with love and solidarity for people of all sexual and gender minorities.

Despite the challenging and unprecedented times we are living through, Unifor remains resolved to continue the fight against homophobia and transphobia.

As we resurface after this crisis and begin to build a better world, that world must do away with the inequalities and oppression that lead to discrimination.

The LGBTQ community in Canada is disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the pandemic because of historic and structural oppression that cause more queer and trans people to live in homelessness and work in low-wage and precarious jobs.

Trans people experience significant barriers in access to health care in general and have less access to primary care physicians in particular, a problem amplified by this pandemic.

These barriers can and must be broken down.

In difficult times, we must protect each other. We cannot allow the struggles of our sisters, brothers, and all workers to be neglected. Instead, stories of workers from equity seeking groups should be celebrated and shared!

IDAHOT and Pride will look different this year. Parades, picnics, and community gatherings of all kinds are being cancelled, postponed and pushed down the line. Local Pride Committee events and meetings have been cancelled but that will not stop us from connecting with each other and having our voices heard.  For now, we must find new ways of celebrating and building community from a distance.

Unifor encourages LGBTQ members to Shout Your Pride in 2020.

This year for IDAHOT, Unifor encourages local unions, committees and members to create original digital posts, memes, and videos to counter homophobia and transphobia and to share positive stories from queer and trans members.

Post these stories online to share with your members, and use the hashtag #UniforPride. Send videos to communications@unifor.org

Download the shareable.

Download the poster.

Read the full statement on our website.

***

In Solidarity with Nova Scotia

In Solidarity with Nova Scotia

In the wake of this week’s horrific act of terror in Nova Scotia, our Unifor family expresses our heartfelt sympathies to the families, loved ones and friends of the victims.

Our thoughts are with all Nova Scotians left heartbroken, devastated and reeling from the targeted and random violence perpetrated this past weekend.

As each hour passes, we learn more about the victims. Health care workers on the front lines fighting COVID-19. A teacher. A retired firefighter. Public servants. Mothers. Daughters. Fathers. Sons. Grandparents. Dear friends. Volunteers. And a veteran RCMP officer, killed in the line of duty.

We grieve with all of you. We have cried with you and will do so again as we all continue to process this terrible moment. We also send our love and solidarity.

In a small province where practically everyone knows everyone, where community is something that is practiced every day, we know this horrendous violent act and the heartbreak it has rendered is felt deeply and will be for a very long time.

We hope the very characteristics that have made Nova Scotia such a vibrant and beautiful place in our country will be the foundation for healing. That sense of community and hospitality. The deep-rooted friendships and closeness. The working-class spirit. The solidarity, love and connectedness.

COVID-19 means we must find new ways to be close, to connect, to support each other especially during this darkest of times. We can and must do this, as every Nova Scotia family did on Monday night, April 20, with the lighting of candles.

Please know there are supports for anyone who needs them. Please reach out and use the resources for Unifor members at unifor.org/COVID19mentalhealth.

Remember the victims and their families. Amplify their voices, their names, their lives. We will honour them by continuing to advocate for safer workplaces at protectnsfrontline.ca, as was the request of the family of Kristen Beaton, an NSGEU sister slain this week.

As a union with 12,000 members working in nearly every sector of the Nova Scotia economy, we stand with Nova Scotians in solidarity and grief.

Rise Again, Nova Scotia. Rise Again.

In Solidarity,

Jerry Dias, National President
Lana Payne, National Secretary-Treasurer
Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director

APRIL 28- DAY OF MOURNING

On April 28, Unifor joins workers across Canada to commemorate those injured or killed on the job. Collectively we are solemnly reminded that more needs to be done to protect the health and safety of workers – a particularly significant message during the crisis we face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we pause to reflect on the tragic, traumatizing and needless loss of life due to workplace injury and occupational disease, we also respond to the deaths that could have been avoided had employers and governments adequately responded to the current crisis. Essential frontline workers, particularly those in health care, are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Unifor continues to fight for necessary prevention plans to save lives and minimize the risk of exposure to the virus by frontline workers across Canada.

We also take the time to remember workers across the globe who went to work and did not come home, especially the frontline workers who put their lives at risk everyday to serve the public, and those who are fighting for change.

Labour activists across Canada are demanding that employers take workers’ health and safety concerns much more seriously and that all levels of government reinforce the vital right to refuse unsafe work. Now more than ever before, the voice of workers must be heard and listened to, and acted upon.

The best way to control any hazard is to systematically eliminate or remove it from the workplace, rather than relying on workers to reduce their personal exposure. The hierarchy of controls must prevail in order to protect workers in all workplaces, regardless of size or location.  Since science on COVID19 is uncertain, we must follow “the precautionary principle” and err on the side of caution.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a vibrant light on prevention shortcomings. Workers are leading the movement, and calls-to-action, for safer workplaces. Today we thank them for their commitment to creating safe workplaces for all.

As we reflect on the importance of the day, the union will also pause to remember three Unifor members who lost their lives at work since last year’s Day of Mourning:

  • John Iles | Local 222 Canada Cartage | December 23, 2019.
  • Mohammed Hasan Bhai | Local 40 HBC Logistics | February 12, 2020

TAKE ACTION

  • Share these images to your social media accounts to help spread awareness
  • Print and display this poster in your workplace
  • Observe a minute of silence at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 to honour those who have died
  • Join our Unifor team for the virtual walk “Steps for Life” to honour loved ones who died on the job

On April 28th fight for the living, and mourn for the dead.

 

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Join the Online Day of Action to Fix Long-Term Care!

See event details and RSVP on the Ontario Health Coalition Facebook event here!

Dear members,

COVID-19 is spreading exponentially in Ontario’s long-term care homes. The homes already suffered critical staffing shortages and inadequate levels of care before COVID-19. Now the situation is an emergency.

The Ford government has made improvements to testing, and their recent announcement to improve wages for frontline workers was a huge step forward to improving long-term care for workers and residents. We need to make sure these wage increases become permanent and get Doug Ford to address other systemic issues in long-term care.

The conditions of care for our loved ones are the conditions of work for the staff. We have a chance to make real progress now.

HOW CAN YOU JOIN THE ONLINE DAY OF ACTION?

  • Print the poster attached to this email, or simply hold it up on a computer, tablet or other device.
  • Take a picture of yourself with the poster.
  • On Friday, May 1, post your photo on the Day of Action event page.
  • If you’re a Twitter user, tweet your photo using the hashtag #FixLTCFord and tag @FordNation.
  • Not sure how to share your photo on social media? Email it to ohc@sympatico.ca and we’ll share it for you!

It takes just minutes to participate but can make all the difference for residents and workers in long-term care.

We are asking Doug Ford for:

  • Immediately improved access to PPE
  • Permanently improved wages + full time work
  • 4-hr minimum care standard
  • Better infection control
  • No more for-profit care

Invite your friends and family. Spread the word and let’s make senior care a priority well after the pandemic is over.

In solidarity,

Naureen Rizvi

Ontario Regional Director

APRIL 22-EARTH DAY

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We believe the time to fight for immediate and bold climate action is now, but the needed economic transition will not take place without strong guarantees for worker rights and good jobs for all.

This year, we mark this date with solemn considerations for how humanity will also overcome a new threat, the COVID-19 virus. This is not how we wanted to address our current climate crisis, but it may be that we can learn lessons from this healthcare crisis that can inform our path forward.

Along with our allies at the UE union in the United States, we have issued a statement calling for urgent action for workers and the planet. You can read and share the statement here.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias, National President
Lana Payne, National Secretary-Treasurer
Renaud Gagné, Quebec Director

 

 

Urgent action needed to change Ontario’s COVID-19 plan

Dear members,

I want to acknowledge how difficult this time is for you, your family, and so many Unifor members who are dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of the pandemic’s effects.

I also want to personally thank everyone working in frontline essential service jobs across so many sectors who are keeping us all connected as more health restrictions are being introduced to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

This is an unprecedented time for us all and rest assured that your union is working around the clock to pressure employers and government to enact measures that will protect your health, your income and your job security.

The government of Ontario will provide a fiscal update tomorrow at 4 p.m. that will include its COVID-19 strategy.

We need your help to send a message to Ford to enact Unifor’s COVID-19 proposals immediately in advance of tomorrow’s fiscal update. 

Many measures our union has called for have been implemented including protections for those workers in quarantine or in self-isolation as well as changes to Employment Insurance. All of the details can be found on Unifor’s COVID-19 website.

So far, the Government of Ontario’s COVID-19 strategy has been criticized by health authorities as slow, incremental, and potentially ineffective. Reports are mounting of exorbitant wait-times and delays with COVID-19 testing. Ford’s cuts to health care in our province are undoubtedly having an effect on our capacity to respond to the public health emergency.

The end of the month is approaching and Ontarians are facing bills, mortgages, and rents while the government still has not indicated if it will introduce emergency funds for those affected by the pandemic.

Lastly, the Ford government hasn’t adequately protected long-term care residents and Personal Support Workers by addressing the staffing shortages in this province.

Together, these issues are creating the conditions for an unimaginable public health and economic crisis in the province.

Will you send a message to Ford to enact Unifor’s COVID-19 proposals immediately?

Share a message on social media as soon as possible using the suggested text below and the shareable image here and tell Doug Ford to adequately protect Ontarians from COVID-19.

I’m calling on @FordNation to protect me and flatten the #COVIDOntario curve with real measures protect my health, income and job. That includes $1 billion in health care funding to protect long-term care workers and residents by addressing the #PSWCrisis

Click here to share this tweet.

In solidarity,

Naureen Rizvi
Ontario Regional Director

Unifor urges Ottawa to proactively protect workers from COVID-19 virus

UNIFOR CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2020

February 1, 2020

Every February, Unifor celebrates Black History Month to honour the contributions Black Canadians have made and continue to make in our workplaces and communities.

Black History Month has been officially marked in Canada since 1995 following a motion introduced in the House of Commons by the first Black Canadian woman elected to parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. This month continues to provide an opportunity to reflect on the unique challenges facing Black communities and individuals.

Guided by this year’s theme Celebrating Our History and Making Our Own, Unifor highlights the tireless work of Black people in the continuing fight for workers’ rights, human rights, and in seeking equality for all.

This year also marks the sixth year of the United Nation’s International Decade for People of African Descent dedicated to recognition, justice and development. These concepts are integral to the union’s work as we continue to oppose ingrained and persistent inequalities. Recognition of historical struggles and accomplishments broadens our understanding of the challenges that persist, and inspires our activism to promote respect and engage in meaningful change.

Unifor actively seeks justice for marginalized communities, both through workplace supports and through solidarity with the tremendous Black leaders from coast to coast developing and strengthening their workplaces and communities.

Resolutions against racial profiling were adopted across the country at each of Unifor’s Regional Councils and the union is coordinating broad discussions with police forces across the country to ensure discriminatory practices are eliminated on paper and in practice.

All month long, Unifor will be collecting stories featuring the work of Black members from across the country. To be featured in our Black History Month review, have your Unifor Local submit a photo and a short description of your work and accomplishments to humanrights@unifor.org.

Download the Unifor app, check unifor.org for upcoming events, and participate in Unifor Local events in your area to celebrate the ongoing work by Black Canadians.

 

Bombardier long-term lease deal welcome news for aerospace workers

December 4, 2019 – 12:00 AM

December 4, 2019

TORONTO – Unifor welcomes Bombardier’s announcement of a long-term lease agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to build the new Global Manufacturing Centre located at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

“The announcement of this new manufacturing facility is an important step in advancing the long term job security of our members at the Bombardier Downsview facility,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “These are hardworking, highly skilled, and well trained workers who can look forward to a more secure future at the new location.”

The Downsview facility currently employs 2,100 Unifor members represented by locals 112 and 673 in the production, office, and technical divisions as well as numerous other direct and indirect jobs. In 2018, Bombardier announced its intention to sell the facility creating anxiety and uncertainty for workers.

“We wanted reassurance that Bombardier would continue to assemble the Global family of aircraft in the Toronto area, and todays announcement provides it” said Scott McIlmoyle, President of Unifor Local 112. “Our members have been through a lot recently. I couldn’t be happier for them.”

“I am proud of the determination and resolve our members showed throughout the past year of uncertainty,” said Maryellen McIlmoyle, President of Unifor Local 673. “This agreement brings tremendous relief to Bombardier workers and their families.”

The long-term lease agreement with the GTAA runs until 2058 and the new facility’s planned completion date is in 2023.

In addition to selling the Downsview property in 2018, Bombardier also sold its Q400 aircraft program to De Havilland Aircraft Company. The Q400 is currently assembled at Downsview.

De Havilland workers are also members of Unifor Local 112 and 673. Both locals and Unifor National will continue to work with De Havilland and all levels of government in an effort to secure the Q400 program beyond 2022.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative David Molenhuis at David.Molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).

Ford funding cuts threaten health and security of Ontario families

Ford funding cuts threaten health and security of Ontario families

August 20, 2019 – 12:00 AM

TORONTO – The Ford government decision to proceed with municipal funding cuts to public health and childcare threatens the health and security of Ontario families.

“It’s shameful that Doug Ford’s only plan is to improve his government books at the expense of public health and childcare,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Ford is forcing municipalities across Ontario to cut vital services or raise taxes. Shirking off your responsibilities on others is not leadership.”

The cuts to municipal funding, originally slated to take effect this year, were paused following huge public outcry but have now been resurrected and scheduled for January 2020.

Ford’s plan will force all Ontario municipalities to shoulder massive increases to fund childcare spaces and to public health programs, such as vaccinations, disease prevention, and ambulance services.

“It’s clear Doug Ford doesn’t want to be responsible for the health and wellbeing of Ontarians and families can expect even more cuts to critical services if Andrew Scheer is elected.” said Dias. “It’s clear that Conservatives across Canada are taking their cues from Scheer and workers are paying the price.”

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org  or 416-896-3303 (cell).

Jerry Dias acclaimed and Unifor has first woman as National Secretary-Treasurer

Jerry Dias acclaimed and Unifor has first woman as National Secretary-Treasurer

August 20, 2019 – 12:00 AM

August 20, 2019

QUEBEC CITY – Jerry Dias was acclaimed as National President of Unifor and Lana Payne was chosen as Secretary-Treasurer of Unifor at the union’s National Convention in Quebec City.

“I am energized to continue leading this great union. We still have a lot of work to do, the fight for social justice does not stop and we have a great leadership team to take us through the next three years,” said Jerry Dias, who now begins his third and final three-year term as National President.

Payne replaces Bob Orr who is retiring after 35 years of labour activism.

“I am so grateful to our members and look forward to working hard with our amazing Unifor family to make gains for workers across Canada,” said Payne, who previously served as Unifor’s Atlantic Regional Director.

Two new Regional Directors were also elected today at the union’s third constitutional convention.

Replacing Payne as Atlantic Director is Linda MacNeil, previously Atlantic Area Director.

Renaud Gagné was elected at Quebec Regional Council and was acclaimed by the membership as one of the top three officers of Unifor.

Gavin McGarrigle, B.C. Area Director, was chosen as the Western Regional Director, replacing Joie Warnock, who will become an Assistant to the National President and will lead Unifor’s efforts on Indigenous issues.

Naureen Rizvi, former Toronto Area Director and Director of Telecommunications, will continue as Ontario Regional Director.

For more information please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org  or 416-896-3303 (cell).

2019 MEMORIAL GOLF CLASSIC

TAKE ACTION: RALLY to Stop Doug Ford’s attack on public health care

Dear Unifor members,

Our health care services in Ontario are under attack from Doug Ford’s PC Government. This government introduced Bill 74 “The People’s Health Care Act” – a plan to privatize and cut public health care services in Ontario.

If passed, Bill 74 will create a centralized Ontario Health ‘Super Agency’ that would open the door to the privatization of our health care system.

This agency would be responsible for managing health care services and the widespread cuts across the system that includes hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, health clinics and more.

Clearly, there’s a lot at stake.

That’s why the Ontario Health Coalition along with Unifor and other coalition partners have organized a rally at Queen’s Park on April 30 to protect our public health care. Thousands are planning to attend from across the province, and we need you to stand with us to show Doug Ford how serious we are about protecting public health care.

Locals are encouraged to rent buses. Unifor National will reimburse Locals for the cost of the buses plus the on-board bagged lunches. There will be no Leave of Absence or any other expenses reimbursed by the National Union.

Local Unions are encouraged to inform their Area Director or Retiree Chapter Chair of their Bus Arrangements so that Unifor National can assist you in populating your buses. All buses should arrive at Queens Park no later than 11 am on April 30. Unifor members and retirees are to gather at the John A MacDonald statue for 11:30 am.

If you have any questions, please contact the following people:

Retirees:                            Barb Dolan, Director of Retirees at Barb.Dolan@unifor.org

Local Unions:                      Your Area Director

Others:                              Josh Coles, Unifor Political Action Director, at josh.coles@unifor.org

As an Ontarian and as a union activist, we need you to join us to protect our health care system. As our province faces Doug Ford’s threats of funding cuts and privatization of health care, it is now more important than ever that we make our voices heard: Public health care is not for sale!

We can do this. We have done it before. But we need your help.

Please join us for 12:00 p.m. on April 30 at Queen’s Park and protect public health care.

In solidarity,

Naureen Rizvi
Ontario Regional Director

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Unifor launches boycott of Mexican-made GM vehicles

January 25, 2019

TORONTO – Unifor has launched a boycott of Mexican-made General Motors (GM) vehicles to protest the automaker’s plans to slash Canadian and American manufacturing while expanding production in Mexico.

“GM is arrogant enough to think it can rob Canada of jobs without repercussions,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “GM is making a choice to increase manufacturing in Mexico while it abandons communities that have supported it for generations, but make no mistake Canadian and American consumers also have a choice.”

The boycott call is specific to vehicles manufactured in Mexico to send a message to GM that its customers will not be party to the exploitation and betrayal of workers.

At a time of record profits, GM plans to throw thousands of Canadians out of work with the closure of its top-quality Oshawa plant and four U.S. facilities while the company expands in Mexico to take advantage of low pay and a lack of human and labour rights.

In 2014, GM confirmed plans to spend $US 5 billion to double production in Mexico. If GM closes Oshawa, by 2020 the company will have cut annual production in Canada by 418,000 vehicles (67 per cent), while increasing annual production in Mexico by 304,000 vehicles (47 per cent) since before the announced Mexican expansion.

“GM is doubling down on the exploitation of Mexican workers before CUSMA comes into effect,” Dias said at a Toronto media conference. “Oshawa Assembly is a high-performing, viable plant that Greedy Motors is walking away from solely to inflate profits by paying Mexican workers poverty wages.”

Unifor continues to ask consumers to show their support by purchasing North American union-made vehicles, including GM products (a list of can be found here). The union also debuted a new television commercial that outlines how to identify where your vehicle is made through its VIN number. For more information visit SaveOshawaGM.ca.

“We’re asking all Canadians to take this stand in defense of our jobs and in defiance of international corporations that seek to raise profits by lowering the bar for workers,” said Dias.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org  or 416-896-3303 (cell).

GM Update and Action- January 24, 2019

January 23, 2019

Sisters and brothers,

This morning, members of our union began a direct action at General Motors Headquarters in Oshawa, Ontario. We are sending a clear message with this action – General Motors must reverse its decision to close the Oshawa Assembly Plant.

To members in the region, I invite you to join us. The ongoing event is being held at 1908 Colonel Sam Dr, Oshawa, ON L1H 8P7. Please reach out to Nena Bogdanovich, National Representative to arrange to join the action at nena.bogdanovich@unifor.org.  

If you are unable to attend, there are more ways to participate and show your solidarity.

Start by sending a message to CEO Mary Barra and General Motors. Tell GM that to sell here, they must build here.

Then, tune in today at 2:15 p.m. ET, for an update from our rally in Oshawa. This will be livestreamed on Unifor’s Facebook Page.  

Our union is a bold, unapologetic force when it comes to defending workers’ rights. We will not allow GM to trample on this community, and leave disaster in the wake of the company’s greedy decision.

I am taking action to Save Oshawa GM. I hope to see you in Oshawa, or see your support online.

For more information on the #SaveOshawaGM campaign visit SaveOshawaGM.ca.

In solidarity,

 

Jerry Dias
National President
Unifor

 

Unifor activists shut down D-J Composites

September 26, 2018

GANDER – Hundreds of union activists and supporters have turned the tables on the managers and scabs at a Gander Aerospace facility where 30 Unifor members have been on a picket line for 646 days, effectively locking them out.

“We have had enough of D-J Composites breaking labour laws and treating our members with contempt,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President. “It is time to take a stand for not only our members but for all workers across Canada.”

D-J Engineering, based in Kansas State owns D-J Composites. The company has been found guilty of bad faith bargaining twice.

“We are so happy to see the support shown by union members across the country who have come to Gander to stand with us,” said Ignatius Oram, Unifor Local 597 Unit Chair. “This American employer thinks they can bust the union, but we won’t ever quit.”

The employer has been using scabs to prolong the dispute while 30 Newfoundland workers face a third Christmas on a picket line in the snow.

“Today is a wake-up call, D-J’s illegal bargaining tactics have one goal. To not reach an agreement and hope we go away,” said Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “D-J Composite you are not in Kansas anymore.”

This is the longest lockout on the province’s history and the Premier and his cabinet continue to ignore the fact that a U.S. company is trampling on the rights of workers in Gander.

“We have all come here stand with these workers because when one of us is attacked we are all under attack,” said Renaud Gagne, Quebec Director who reminded supporters that Unifor’s 315 thousand members are standing in solidarity with locked out workers at Local 597.

For weeks Unifor has been running a social media campaign and newspaper ads, asking the public to write and call the Premier and the CEO of D-J Composites to demand a fair deal.

“Today they have no choice but to listen,” said Dias.

Photos are available for publication at this link.

For more information or to arrange interviews in on-site or by phone, FaceTime, or Skype, in English or French, please contact Unifor Director of Communications Natalie Clancy at Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or 416-707-5794 (cell).

NAFTA Social Media Support

Sisters and Brothers,

As NAFTA negotiations come down to the wire Andrew Scheer and the federal Conservatives are increasing the call for an immediate deal – no matter the cost.

Today in Washington, National President Jerry Dias recorded a video message asking Scheer what he is prepared to sacrifice in order to appease the U.S. as he called for political unity on the trade front.

Please help to get this important message out by sharing and liking this video on social media.

https://t.co/fzxhORZ57W

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=322276878546448&id=278053089043549

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