Category Archives: Campaigns

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

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

 

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.

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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

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

lhcope343

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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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