United Steelworkers Canada News Feed http://www.uswca.org/news/media-centre/articles/rss United Steelworkers Canada News Feed Wed, 23 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 Strong Strike Vote by Steelworkers in Response to Evraz Attacks http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/strong-strike-vote-by-steelworkers-in-response-to-evraz-attacks Fri, 26 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/strong-strike-vote-by-steelworkers-in-response-to-evraz-attacks REGINA – Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5890 at Evraz Regina have voted 99.3% in favour of strike action in response to Evraz’s extreme concessionary demands.

Evraz Regina Steelworkers have been without a contact for nearly a year – the previous contract having expired in July 2016. Despite the union’s attempt to negotiate a fair collective agreement, Evraz management has launched an unprecedented attack on the working conditions of its own employees.

“This Russian-owned, American-managed company is extremely profitable, but their greed knows no bounds,” says USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. “Evraz is trying to squeeze out even more money by attacking the long-standing benefits of workers, including a demand to end certain pension benefits for retirees and removing a benefit for surviving spouses. It’s a sickening and shameful attack on vulnerable people.”

Other demands from Evraz management include:

  • 0% wage increase for 3 years and then 0.5% for 2 years
  • Removing cost-of-living adjustments
  • Implementing a two-tier wage system for new hires
  • Reducing overtime payments and scheduling
  • Altering the long-term-disability plan

“Every day Steelworkers at Evraz Regina do the hard work to make the steel that helps to build our country and allows the company to be profitable. Instead of a fair deal that respects their work, Evraz management have declared war on their own employees. It’s a reckless decision that puts the viability of the company at risk at a time when they’ve just received a contract to provide pipe for the recently approved Trans Mountain pipeline,” says Keith Turcotte, USW Staff Representative.

“Our members built Evraz Regina and they are never going to accept this type of attack lying down. The exceptionally strong vote is a message to management that they should rethink the path they are heading down,” says Hunt.

USW Local 5890 represents approximately 900 members at Evraz Regina.

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Steelworkers Applaud Alberta Government’s Modernization of Workplace Legislation http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-applaud-alberta-governments-modernization-of-workplace-legislation Thu, 25 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-applaud-alberta-governments-modernization-of-workplace-legislation EDMONTON – The United Steelworkers (USW) is applauding the Government of Alberta for keeping its promise to modernize the province’s decades-old employment legislation, aligning it with the rest of Canada and supporting family-friendly workplaces.

The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act will help grow the middle class by improving access to collective bargaining that in turn leads to higher standards for Alberta workers and an improved ability to support families, communities and local businesses, says USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt.

“Through collective bargaining, Alberta workers can improve their standard of living and that of their families. A growing middle-class not only benefits those individuals, but also local businesses and communities,” says Hunt.

The union says while it welcomes steps to improve and streamline the union certification process, it is disappointed the government chose a super-majority of 65% rather than a more democratic 50%-plus-one threshold to demonstrate support for unionization.

The union also applauds changes to the Employment Standards Code to ensure work is family-friendly. The changes will provide access to leave for workers to care for family members, align maternity and parental leave with federal guidelines, introduce new mandatory leaves for bereavement, personal and family responsibility and provide job protection for parents of critically ill children, children who disappear or children who die as a result of a crime.

Finally, USW is very pleased to see the inclusion of new leave for workers addressing a situation of domestic violence. This is an issue that USW and our local unions in Alberta have been championing in our workplaces through collective bargaining and such leave should be extended to all workers in Alberta.

“Premier Notley is to be commended for ensuring that Albertans benefit from workplace legislation that recognizes the modern challenges faced by workers,” says Hunt.

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Ontario Labour Law Report Falls Short http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/ontario-labour-law-report-falls-short Wed, 24 May 2017 14:27:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/ontario-labour-law-report-falls-short TORONTO – After many months of constructive input and consultations, the final report from Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review clearly sets out the critical need for progressive change for employees in Ontario. But some of its key recommendations then fall well short of the path needed to get there.

Just days ago, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn told the Toronto Star that the current employee-employer relationship is “an unbalanced relationship where the employer holds all the cards.”

Yet around strikes and lockouts, the Review leaves that imbalance largely in place by suggesting that employers should be free from third-party arbitration in the event of long lockouts and strikes and still be able to hire replacement labour. The Review departs from decades of well-researched evidence that a card-based certification process is needed to sufficiently remove the inherent and damaging effect of employer involvement in employees’ unionization choices.

The United Steelworkers (USW) is also disappointed that the Review did not advise the government to introduce paid domestic violence leave and a longer period of unpaid, protected leave so as to assist those exiting abusive domestic relationships and that it recommends a reduction in personal emergency leave time for workers.

Other recommendations by the Review would, if implemented, go some way toward repairing other sections of the province’s currently outmoded legislation.

Among the recommendations supported by the USW are the provision of initial means for employees to communicate with co-workers during organizing efforts, for ensuring that workers in the precarious sectors of security, cleaning, food services and home health care do not lose their union in the event of a flip in their company’s contract for service and for increasing certain sanctions on employers that breach the law.

The USW supports the Review’s unequivocal guidance that Ontario law and policy should begin to build modern, durable bargaining structures by enhancing the labour board’s capacity to consolidate bargaining units and by providing workers in often low-paid franchise employment with the right to combine multiple bargaining units in one area into one overall bargaining unit.

As well, the USW supports the Review’s direction for the government to close some of the egregious exemptions and loopholes in the Employment Standards Act, to equalize part-timers’ pay with that of full-time workers, to limit the right of employers to keep workers in lower-paid ‘permanent temporary’ status and to increase vacations for workers with five years of employment with the same employer.

The USW calls on Premier Wynne and Minister Flynn to promptly introduce legislation encompassing these and other Review recommendations and to also move beyond the Review and truly rebalance the employee-employer relationship by guaranteeing:

  • a broader-based bargaining model that is even more inclusive and reaches beyond employees of franchisees. The goal must be to bring access to OLRA rights to employees in all corners of our rapidly changing economy.
  • the option of binding arbitration to solve long strikes or lockouts and the protection of the right to strike by prohibiting employers from using replacement workers.
  • card-check certification rights for all Ontarians, no matter where they work. Currently this right is limited to those in the construction sector, a restriction that has no justification.

“The USW calls on the Premier and Cabinet to show that Ontario can lead in the renewal and expansion of employees’ rights. The goal must be to raise working conditions standards for all Ontarians,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director. “This government can choose to aim much higher. In the next few weeks, we will know its choice.”

For a full list of the priorities identified by the USW, click here.

Important material from the Ontario Federation of Labour can be found at: www.makeitfair.ca/priorities.

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Quebec Steelworkers Heard Loud and Clear by Glencore Shareholders http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebec-steelworkers-heard-loud-and-clear-by-glencore-shareholders Wed, 24 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebec-steelworkers-heard-loud-and-clear-by-glencore-shareholders CHAM, Switzerland – Shareholders attending Glencore’s annual general meeting today were greeted by a boisterous protest of the company’s role in a 15-week strike by Steelworkers at Quebec’s CEZinc refinery.

“We want to ensure Glencore shareholders understand the issues behind this labour dispute,” said Manon Castonguay, President of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6486, which represents 371 striking employees at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., west of Montreal.

The CEZinc refinery is operated by Noranda Income Fund, of which Glencore is the largest shareholder. Glencore also supplies all of the concentrate that is processed at the refinery and is the sole purchaser of the finished product.

CEZinc provoked the labour dispute by demanding concessions, in particular an attack on the workers’ pension plan, even though the plan is overfunded.

“We are questioning Glencore’s motives for prolonging this labour dispute,” said Castonguay, who along with fellow USW representative Luc Julien used shareholder proxies to attend the Glencore AGM and confront corporate executives.

“We are reiterating our willingness to work with the company to pursue efficiencies and cost-cutting options rather than draining the workers’ pension fund. But Noranda Income Fund and Glencore continue to ignore our proposals,” Castonguay said.

“Shareholders should know what’s going on and they should have their say so that the refinery can actually resume normal operations.”

Since the strike began on Feb. 12, CEZinc has been cited by Quebec’s Ministry of Labour of violating the province’s anti-scab law on two separate occasions. The law prohibits the use of replacement workers during labour disputes.

Today’s demonstration outside the Glencore AGM was organized by European allies of the striking Quebec Steelworkers, including Switzerland’s largest private-sector union, UNIA and IndustriALL Global Union. The groups denounced the refusal by Glencore and Noranda to engage in meaningful negotiations to resolve the CEZinc strike.

Luc Julien, one of the negotiators for the Quebec Steelworkers, encouraged Glencore and Noranda shareholders to demand a return to good-faith bargaining to reach a fair settlement to the dispute.

“You’re dealing with the lives of people who do physically demanding jobs in very hot and contaminated working conditions,” Julien said.

“This kind of tactic by multinationals, of continually trying to squeeze working and living standards, is outdated and no longer acceptable. Employees should be seen as valued partners who should be able to keep the hard-won gains that were achieved over generations of collective bargaining.”

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Quebec’s CEZinc Strikers to Confront Glencore Shareholders at AGM in Switzerland http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebecs-cezinc-strikers-to-confront-glencore-shareholders-at-agm-in-switzerland Tue, 23 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebecs-cezinc-strikers-to-confront-glencore-shareholders-at-agm-in-switzerland MONTREAL – Striking Steelworkers at Quebec’s CEZinc refinery are bringing their dispute to resource giant Glencore’s annual general meeting in Switzerland this week.

A delegation representing the 371 strikers at the CEZinc refinery in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., west of Montreal, will confront Glencore shareholders during a demonstration at the company’s AGM in Switzerland on Wednesday.

The Quebec delegation, led by United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6486 President Manon Castonguay, was welcomed to Switzerland earlier this week by leaders of the country’s largest private-sector union, Unia. Representatives of IndustriALL Global Union also will join the Quebec Steelworkers for Wednesday’s demonstration at the Glencore AGM in Cham, in the canton of Zug.

“As members of a large, international union, we work with allies around the world and this global trade union network helps workers confront multinationals like Glencore,” said USW representative Luc Julien, also part of the Quebec delegation in Switzerland.

“We are supported by allies who are helping to make our voices heard. Glencore is not just attacking 371 workers in Quebec, it is taking on an international labor network that will fight back against corporate greed,” Julien said.

Glencore is the largest shareholder of Noranda Income Fund, which operates the CEZinc refinery in Quebec, where USW Local 6486 members have been on strike since Feb. 12. Glencore supplies all of the concentrate that is processed at the refinery and is the sole purchaser of the finished product.

The company provoked the labour dispute by demanding concessions, in particular an attack on the workers’ pension plan, even though the plan is overfunded. The workers also have denounced the company for rejecting their proposals to explore other cost-cutting and efficiency measures.

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Steelworker Summer http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworker-summer Tue, 16 May 2017 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworker-summer
Steelworker Summer is an educational and training internship in which participants develop skills useful for union growth by experiencing firsthand the kinds of struggles workers face while trying to win a voice at work and in the community.  It is also designed to give participants an understanding and appreciation of the positive impact unions have had on the lives of working men and women.

Steelworker Summer is a program for young adults who want experience working for social justice firsthand.  Ideally, interns will remain active after Steelworker Summer by educating others about the value of the labour movement, possibly forming student/labour action coalitions, becoming union organizers, or contributing in some other way to the labour movement.

Internships are open to young adults, 17 years of age or older.  Preference for selection is given to children of members of the United Steelworkers.

Steelworker Summer is about uniting students, workers, and community activists to create social justice in workplaces and communities.

Steelworker Summer Internship Info and Application

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25 Years After Westray – Families Remember http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/westray-families-remember Tue, 16 May 2017 11:05:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/westray-families-remember Twenty-six men died in the Westray mine explosion. They each had their own story, their own family and friends whose lives they touched. CBC Information Morning takes a look at Glenn Martin – with the help of his brother Allen and Allen's wife Debbie.

Listen here: CBC Information Morning Nova Scotia

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Vern Theriault Recalls Westray – CBC's The Current http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/vern-theriault-recalls-westray Tue, 16 May 2017 10:41:54 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/vern-theriault-recalls-westray Vernon Theriault had been working in the Westray mine for just six months when the explosion killed his colleagues. He volunteered with the rescue and describes the scene 25 years later to The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Also in the segment, USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt on the USW's Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law campaign and ongoing efforts to end workplace deaths.

Listen here: 25 Years After Westray on CBC's The Current

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District 3 Summer School – June 11-16, 2017 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/district-3-summer-school Fri, 12 May 2017 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/district-3-summer-school Once again, District 3 will be holding the week-long Summer School at the Trickle Creek Lodge and Kimberley Alpine Resort on June 11-16, 2017.

I am pleased to announce the following courses will be offered this year:

  • Advanced Grievance Handing
    • Leading Bargaining
    • Facing Management
    • Occupational Health and Safety
    • Leadership for Action
    • Women of Steel
    • Globalization

The school commences with registration on Sunday, June 11th and continues until noon on Friday, June 16th.   Registration is $1,050.00 per person (multiple occupancy – no single or family accommodation available).  Registration fees include all meals from Sunday evening to Friday lunch.

For those students new to our school we will be holding an orientation session in the Stemwinder from 3pm – 4pm and a “Welcome” barbeque for all at 6pm.

Please see the enclosed registration form and course outlines.  One form must be completed for each local union delegate and submitted to the District 3 office, with the registration fee, no later than May 12, 2017.

We look forward to your Local's participation in this year’s school.

In solidarity,

Stephen Hunt

Director, District 3

Summer School Package

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Quebec Steelworkers Ratify Good Contract at ArcelorMittal http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebec-steelworkers-ratify-good-contract-at-arcelormittal Thu, 11 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/quebec-steelworkers-ratify-good-contract-at-arcelormittal SEPT-ÎLES, Que. – The 2,000 United Steelworkers (USW) members at ArcelorMittal operations in Fermont and Port-Cartier, Quebec, have ratified a four‑year collective agreement with gains that include maintaining and improving their defined-benefit pension plan.

“It's an excellent contract. Thanks to the mobilization and determination of our members, they have ensured younger workers will benefit from the same pension plan that previous generations fought for and, in fact, they have improved the plan for all current and retired workers. There's reason to be proud,” said Nicolas Lapierre, Steelworkers Area Coordinator for Quebec’s North Shore region.

Late last week, the 2,000 workers voted almost unanimously to reject a contract offer that included a two-tier pension concession and to issue a 72-hour notice of a strike.  During intense negotiations over the weekend, the employer dropped its two-tier pension demand and a tentative agreement was reached. The agreement was ratified by union members today.

In addition to pension improvements, the deal provides workers at ArcelorMittal’s Fire Lake Mine with contract parity with their colleagues at the company’s Mont‑Wright mine. Previously, the wage gap between workers at the two mines was as high as $8 an hour.

The agreement includes annual wage increases ranging from 2.2% to 3%, an increase in basic pension benefits and restrictions on subcontracting that will bring back unionized jobs. Improvements also will be made to health benefit plans and to non-monetary clauses. Office employees will return to a 40-hour work week, reversing a cut in hours last year.

“There are clear improvements and no concessions. This was made possible by very strong mobilizing and solidarity on the workers’ part. I would also like to tip my hat to members of the negotiating committees, who spent long days away from their families in past weeks and who did an outstanding job,” Lapierre said.

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United Steelworkers Announces Westray Scholarship http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/united-steelworkers-announces-westray-scholarship Tue, 09 May 2017 10:01:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/united-steelworkers-announces-westray-scholarship STELLARTON, N.S. – As family members, their supporters, government and union leaders and community activists gathered today to commemorate the passing of 25 years since the Westray coal mine exploded and killed all 26 men working underground, the United Steelworkers (USW) announced the introduction of an annual scholarship of $2,500.

“One scholarship will be awarded each year to a student in the Stellarton area who is completing high school and pursuing post-secondary education,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

“Applying for the scholarship will be a permanent reminder of the tragedy that has brought so many people together on this day. It is intended to help keep the memory of Westray in the hearts and minds of generations to come. It is another way we can maintain the pledge we have made for the last 25 years – No More Westrays.”

Application forms and details for submissions are available on the USW website, at www.usw.ca/westrayscholarship.

Submissions made this year, which can be in the form of either an essay or a video on YouTube, must be post-marked or emailed no later than June 30, 2017. The winner will be notified by Aug. 15, 2017.

“We are looking for the best expression of one of two possible topics,” said Neumann.  “One is how the community has shown determination following the Westray disaster.  The other, what legacy the community has been left with as a result of the tragedy.

“The Westray Memorial says the words, ‘Their light shall always shine.’ We hope this scholarship and the submissions that we receive will help keep that light eternal.”

USW is campaigning across Canada for better enforcement of the Westray Law, amendments to the Criminal Code passed unanimously by Parliament in 2003, intended to hold corporations criminally accountable for workplace death and injury. Find out more at www.stopthekilling.ca.

Westray Post-Secondary Scholarship

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2,000 Steelworkers Reject ArcelorMittal Offer, Authorize Strike http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/2000-steelworkers-reject-arcelormittal-offer-authorize-strike Fri, 05 May 2017 12:08:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/2000-steelworkers-reject-arcelormittal-offer-authorize-strike Quebec workers give 72-hour strike notice, barring negotiated settlement

SEPT-ÎLES, Quebec – Corporate demands for pension concessions have been overwhelmingly rejected by 2,000 workers at ArcelorMittal’s iron ore operations in Fermont and Port-Cartier, Que., who also voted today to strike if a fair collective agreement is not reached within 72 hours.

Members of the United Steelworkers (Syndicat des Métallos) denounced the company’s demand to impose a two-tier pension system that would adversely affect new workers.

“The mandate is clear, there is no question of abandoning our young people. The pension plan must be maintained for all workers,” said Nicolas Lapierre, the Steelworkers’ area coordinator for Quebec’s North Shore region.

“If the employer insists on these concessions, the ore will be staying in the ground as long as it takes to ensure fair and equal working conditions for everyone – current and future workers. Past generations fought for this pension plan and our current members are committed to ensuring it is passed on to the next generation,” Lapierre said.

Other outstanding issues include union demands that contracted-out positions be returned as unionized jobs and the resolution of discrepancies in working conditions and standards between workers at ArcelorMittal’s Mont Wright mine and its Fire Lake mine.

“The clock is ticking. The issues can be resolved if the employer has the will to do so. The employer should not doubt the resolve of these 2,000 members. If they are forced into a labour dispute, they won’t hesitate,” Lapierre said.

Following are results of the secret-ballot votes by each of the USW bargaining units at the ArcelorMittal operations, to reject the employer’s contract offer and to authorize strike action:

Local 5778 (mining): 99.8%

Local 7401 and 7401-FP (office and technical employees, Fermont): 100%

Local 7401 and 7401-FP (office and technical employees, Port-Cartier): 100%

Local 8664 (pellet plant, Port-Cartier): 99%

Local 6869 (rail, port and cargo handling): 99.3%

The Syndicat des Métallos/USW is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy.

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Alberta Government signs precedent setting agreement for Westray Enforcement http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/alberta-government-signs-precedent-setting-agreement-for-westray-enforcement Thu, 04 May 2017 13:01:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/alberta-government-signs-precedent-setting-agreement-for-westray-enforcement It is not coincidental that Alberta moved occupational health and safety into the forefront on the National Day of Mourning. Labour Alberta, along with the RCMP and Alberta Justice, joined forces to sign the Westray Memorandum of Understanding. The memorandum between the ten police forces in Alberta and the provincial government defines the protocols for notification, investigation and communication between departments when there is a serious workplace incident. This will help investigators from all agencies coordinate information to determine if criminal charges may be warranted in addition to occupational health and safety violations.

Minister of Labour Christina Gray said that, “By signing this Memorandum of Understanding this ensures that these protocols with be in place in perpetuity.”

When asked by one reporter whether or not this was already happening, the Minister of Labour stated that, “The work already is happening. The government takes the health and safety of workers seriously, but this sets out the protocols so that there is consistency across the board in a way that protects the scene of the investigation and allows at any time for any officer to be able to pick the investigation and know where it is at.”

Assistant Commissioner RCMP K Division and Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police representative, Marlin Degrand stated, “This is something that has been on our minds for some time and is something that has been front of mind with the Alberta Chiefs of Police. The protocols have already been distributed to all chiefs of police in the province and to all 4 offices in K division."

President of United Steelworkers Local 1-207, Ray White spoke of how Westray came into being and how, as the USW was organizing one of the mines in Nova Scotia, the mine exploded from methane gas that had built up in the mine and was not vented out. From that point on, the United Steelworkers would ensure that a law was made to protect workers, and bring those found guilty of negligence when it came to workplace incidents to justice. Ray also provided details on how the United Steelworkers were working with various jurisdictions to bring enforcement of Westray to fruition, and this signing was a major move towards achieving that goal.

The Federal Government through the Prime Minister’s Office announced today that it would also be moving towards better enforcement of Westray.

Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull, Executive Director of the Alberta Worker’s Health Center also spoke, stating, “We are happy to see this initiative go forward. It will add to the toolkit of enforcement officers, ensuring that individuals who are criminally negligent are held to account. We believe this is an important step towards making workplaces safer for all working people in Alberta."

Minister of Labour Christina Gray and Assistant Commissioner of RCMP K Division Marlin Degrand sign the historical memorandum of Understanding in Edmonton, during the day of mourning press conference.

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Steelworkers, Family Groups to Hold Westray Anniversary Events on May 9 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-family-groups-to-hold-westray-anniversary-events-on-may-9 Thu, 04 May 2017 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-family-groups-to-hold-westray-anniversary-events-on-may-9 STELLARTON, N.S. – On May 9, 1992, a lethal build-up of methane gas led to the explosion of the Westray Coal mine in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

The explosion killed all 26 miners working underground and forever scarred the communities of Pictou County. Since that time, family groups and the United Steelworkers union (USW) have worked together to honour the memory of those lost and to push for enforcement of the “Westray Law” to protect the health and safety of all workers.

May 9, 2017, marks 25 years since the Westray disaster and the USW, along with family members, elected officials and other unions will gather to commemorate the tragedy and continue the campaign to enforce the law.

EVENT #1:

WHEN: 6:45 a.m.
WHAT: Candlelight Vigil and Procession
WHERE: From Summer Street Industries, 72 Park St., New Glasgow, to Westray Memorial Park, corner of Park Street and Walkerville Road, New Glasgow, N.S.

EVENT #2:

WHEN: 4:30 p.m.
WHAT: Reading of “Hell’s History” by author Tom Sandborn
WHERE: New Glasgow Public Library, 182 Dalhousie St., New Glasgow

MAIN EVENT:

WHEN: 7:00 p.m.
WHAT: Memorial Service led by Rev. Glen Matheson, including wreath laying, remarks from USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann, Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil; performances by Men of the Deeps; the Halifax Fire Fighters Pipes & Drums.
WHERE:
Westray Memorial Park, Corner of Park Street and Walkverville Road, New Glasgow, N.S.

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USW Coffee Orders Fund Good Work http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/usw-coffee-orders-fund-good-work Mon, 01 May 2017 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/usw-coffee-orders-fund-good-work

In Colombia, armed groups use violence to force farm families off their land, often to clear the way for multinational mining companies.

The Steelworkers Humanity Fund supports work with the survivors, mostly women and children. They want to rebuild their lives and recover their lands.

Now we can help them with every cup of coffee we drink.

For each pound of HOPE coffee you buy, USD$1 will go to programs of legal and psychological support to victims of the conflict. Get a discount on orders of 5 pounds or more.

Order for your home, your workplace, and your union office!

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USW Participation in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/usw-participation-national-inquiry-mmiw Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:09:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/usw-participation-national-inquiry-mmiw The USW will provide some financial support to Steelworkers of Aboriginal ancestry who have suffered the loss of a family member and want to attend and/or give testimony at a hearing (or truth finding gathering) of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

The USW has named a Coordinator to assist and facilitate the participation of Steelworkers of Aboriginal ancestry in the National Inquiry.

Members who are interested in applying for financial support or learning more about how they can take part in the National Inquiry should contact USW’s National Inquiry Coordinator, Carolyn Szilva, at coord@usw.ca or at (705) 207-8515.

Carolyn is a member of USW 2020 in Sudbury, ON where she works as a registered psychotherapist offering services in both English and French. She is of Métis ancestry.

Because we have a limited amount of funds, the coordinator will work with members and their local unions to make the money go as far as possible, and to help access other sources of financial support, where possible.

The National Inquiry may provide ways for families to tell their stories without having to attend a truth finding gathering. The National Inquiry is inviting family members, loved ones, and survivors to reach out and identify themselves by e-mailing Profile@mmiwg-ffada.ca with their name, contact information, and location.

Visit the National Inquiry’s web site

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USW’s Leo Gerard on Softwood and Unfair Trade http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/gerard-on-softwood-and-unfair-trade Thu, 27 Apr 2017 19:11:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/gerard-on-softwood-and-unfair-trade USW International President Leo W. Gerard spoke to CBC Sudbury’s Jason Turnbull about softwood lumber, unfair steel trade and NAFTA.

 “Our union has been very aggressive in both Canada and the States tackling unfair trade in steel.”

“The fact of the matter is that on softwood lumber, he’s just wrong. U.S. softwood is working at 100% capacity; it’s at the highest price it’s ever been in 20 years. In order to sustain a tariff, you’ve got to be able to demonstrate injury. If you don’t want Canadian lumber, you shouldn’t get Canadian raw logs to make lumber out of.”

“To tell you the truth about softwood – it’s not about lumber … Canada’s timberlands are owned by the Crown – they’re provincially or federally owned. In the U.S. they’re all privately owned … That forest land has to be carried on your books as an asset … so if I can raise the price of that asset, then the value on my books goes (up). It has nothing to do with how much lumber is getting into the country, it has to do with a bunch of greedy transnational companies, some of which are Canadian, operating on both sides of the border.”

“I think our objective is to work with our members in both countries … we’re not going to let him [Trump] screw our members on either side of the border.”

– Leo W. Gerard

Listen here: CBC’s Up North Sudbury show

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Open Letter to B.C. Steelworkers from President Gerard http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/open-letter-to-bc-steelworkers-from-president-gerard Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/open-letter-to-bc-steelworkers-from-president-gerard April 27, 2017

To: All B.C. Steelworkers,

No matter what side of the border I work on, more and more I hear from right-wing politicians who don’t really have any ideas of their own so they just make things up. Apparently this B.C. election is no different.

BC Liberal leader Christy Clark has falsely claimed that my meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump was about softwood lumber – she just made that up – in fact it was about protecting our members’ jobs in the steel industry in both the U.S. and in Canada.

Clark even claimed she’s been to Washington, D.C. to defend B.C.’s lumber industry—she made that up too. Again, in fact, I have been to Washington, D.C., to defend our members in Canada’s forest industry and I’ll go again and again and again until we get a fair deal that protects our members’ livelihoods and Canadian forest communities.

The tariffs filed by Trump have nothing to do with protecting jobs in the US; in fact it will cost Americans 8,000 jobs in the construction industry alone. It has more to do with US lumber companies trying to drive up prices and increase their profits. And quite frankly Canadian lumber companies like West Fraser and Interfor stand to benefit no matter what. They’ve taken profits from B.C. to buy mills in the US and hedge their bets. It’s the small operators, the value added sector, and most importantly our members and their communities that get hurt the most. Think Christy Clark is on the side of the little guy? Think again.

Clark is attacking our union and me personally, because she wants to distract from the fact that the BC Liberals have been the most corporate government in North America. Our members work hard for the wages they earn, Christy Clark’s actually been fattening her wallet with money from corporate donations, including companies like Weyerhaeuser – one of the very same lumber companies that instigated the softwood lumber dispute. She’s pocketed $300,000 from donations from big companies, including many of our biggest employers in the forest industry. We support John Horgan and the BC NDP’s plan for election finance reform, the real question is why Clark and her corporate cronies don’t.

Outside of powerful U.S. lumber companies most Americans don’t want a trade fight with Canada. Like Canadians they want to stop unfair dumping of manufactured goods from overseas and end the race to the bottom on lower standards for workers and the environment. Just a few years ago Christy Clark had a chance to stand with us when the United Steelworkers intervened to fight the unfair dumping of overseas rebar.

Instead she opposed our efforts and stood with anti-union groups who claimed rebar was driving up the cost of B.C. homes —she made that up too. Thankfully she lost, and we won.

We’ve canvassed, surveyed and talked to our members all across British Columbia. A massive majority are tired of a government that only cares about the wealthy and big corporations. They want change in B.C., and it’s no surprise to me.

Let’s remember the BC Liberals closed over 100 mills and killed 35, 000 forestry jobs, while allowing raw log exports to skyrocket. When Christy Clark and the BC Liberals encouraged the exploitation of temporary foreign workers in B.C. mines and other workplaces, instead of hiring local workers, Steelworkers stood up and fought back. And no one has fought more against the BC Liberal deregulation of health and safety standards than the United Steelworkers. From botched investigations to poor enforcement and cuts to pensions we’ve held Christy Clark and the BC Liberals to account. We’re a union that fights and the BC Liberals just don’t like it.

Our members have been clear; we want a government that’s on the side of working people for a change. That’s why this election we’re supporting John Horgan and the BC NDP.

So Steelworkers you know the old adage, when under attack, stand up and fight back. I’m asking you for your help; hand out more leaflets, knock on more doors, make more phone calls, get our fellow members and their families out to vote. Get involved with #SteelworkersVote. Let’s make sure this election we send Christy Clark and the BC Liberals a message where it counts—at the ballot box. Together, this May 9th, let’s elect John Horgan and the BC NDP.

In solidarity,

Leo W. Gerard
USW International President

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Steelworkers Launch Hard-Hitting TV Ad on “Sell-Out” Christy Clark http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-launch-hard-hitting-tv-ad-on-sell-out-christy-clark Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:00:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/steelworkers-launch-hard-hitting-tv-ad-on-sell-out-christy-clark VANCOUVER, 27 April 2017 – Christy Clark has spent most of this election attacking the United Steelworkers in an attempt to distract voters from her disastrous record as Premier. The United Steelworkers is launching a new hard-hitting TV ad today that takes direct aim at Christy Clark and the BC Liberals.

“In a desperate attempt to cling to power, Christy Clark is attacking the United Steelworkers. Our members are salt-of-the-earth British Columbians who do the hard work that makes our province prosper and they have been sold out by Christy Clark and the BC Liberals,” says Stephen Hunt, United Steelworkers District 3 Director.

“Her corrupt fundraising practices and salary top-up from big corporate donors have led her to abandon working families. She’s allowed a record number of log exports while hundreds of mills close and thousands of forestry workers lose their jobs. She’s signed backroom deals to allow companies to utilize temporary foreign workers instead of British Columbians in our resource industries. Christy Clark has been a disaster and we are calling her out,” says Hunt.

The ad is available for viewing at www.usw.ca/LiberalsBad4BC.

For further information:

Stephen Hunt, USW District 3 Director, 604-816-2554, shunt@usw.ca
Brad West, USW Communications, 604-313-9185,bwest@usw.ca

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BC Liberals: Bad for Workers, Bad for British Columbia http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/bc-liberals-bad-for-workers-bc Thu, 27 Apr 2017 10:38:00 -0500 http://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2017/bc-liberals-bad-for-workers-bc Christy Clark has been launching baseless attacks at our union. Why? Because we aren’t afraid to hold her and the BC Liberals to account.

Watch and share this video, so British Columbians know the truth about Christy Clark.

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