United Steelworkers: District 6 News https://www.usw.ca/districts/rss/6 United Steelworkers: District 6 News en-us info@usw.org webmaster@usw.org 40 Union Leader Calls for Action on Steel 'Crisis’ https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/union-leader-calls-for-action-on-steel-crisis Wed, 23 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/union-leader-calls-for-action-on-steel-crisis Ontario's steel industry is in crisis and a union leader wants the provincial government to help find a solution.

In a letter to Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid, United Steelworkers Ontario director Marty Warren calls for an Ontario Steel Industry Action Plan to save an industry that supports 20,000 direct and 100,000 spinoff jobs across the country.

Most of those jobs, Warren writes, are in Ontario.

"As you are no doubt aware, the price of steel has dropped sharply, plunging the industry into a worldwide crisis," he said. "If the crisis is not resolved soon, these thousands of men and women and their families are in critical danger of losing their livelihoods."

Complete article in the Hamilton Spectator

Marty Warren letter to Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid

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Steelworker Director shares his grandma’s Christmas Cake recipe https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworker-director-shares-his-grandmas-christmas-cake-recipe Thu, 17 Dec 2015 14:59:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworker-director-shares-his-grandmas-christmas-cake-recipe

Hi, Marty Warren here. I’m happy to share my Grandmother’s Christmas Cake recipe with my Steelworker family. This is for people who want to create the real deal Christmas Cake! The recipe below is written by my momma with love to her mother.

Clare (Sholea) Blimkie
Revised edition Nov 10,11 2006

9 Cups seeded raisins (no seeds)
6 Cups sultana raisins
3 Cups of currants
3 3/4 Cups of chopped “mixed peel”(Available at Bulk Barn)
Approx. 2 TBSP chopped orange rind(Available at Bulk Barn)
Approx. 2 TBSP chopped lemon rind (Available at Bulk Barn)
*1 or 2 Cups of candied cherries, red & green (Available at Bulk Barn) optional
*2 Cups chopped walnuts optional
*1 250ml Kraft Strawberry jam (NOT raspberry due to seeds) optional –but you’ll be sorry if you don’t add it because it was Clare’s secret ingredient-(Clare’s jam was homemade of course)
1 pound of butter
2 7/8 Cups of brown sugar (you may as well just add three cups)
1 Cup sweet molasses-(or 1 Cup of Juice…or 1/2 Cup of sweet molasses with 1/2 cup of juice…….you can use pure grape or orange juice). I use the 1 cup sweet molasses.
12 egg yolks (keep reading you will eventually need the whites)
4 Cups sifted Purity flour (all purpose flour also available at Bulk Barn)
4 Teaspoons cinnamon
4 Teaspoons allspice
1 1/2 Teaspoons mace
2 Teaspoons grated nutmeg (or powdered)
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup grape juice (or any desired fruit juice). I use 1 cup orange juice.
4 squares of semi-sweet baker’s chocolate, melted---but not melted in the microwave
1 TBSP hot water
12 egg whites

Now that you’ve assembled all the ingredients (a quick trip to Bulk Barn and you’re ready—no chopping, cutting or dicing for days prior to baking) you can begin to bake. NOTE: Bulk Barn sells already made Christmas cake for those who are not cut from the same cloth as our beloved Clare Blimkie.

Suggestions Prior to Baking:
-assemble a cooking crew of 5-7 close relatives/friends hopefully some with baking experience (I don’t know how Clare did it herself with all those bratty kids underfoot and only Pat to help her mix the ingredients)
-say a quick prayer to thank Clare for all the delicious Christmas cake she made over the years and to acknowledge her efforts and hard work (no Bulk Barn back then!)
-grab a bottle of your favourite Holiday drink…you may want a sip while the cake is baking

To begin rinse all the raisins and currants under some water and pat dry (to the beat of your favourite Christmas tune). Then you need to unstick any raisins that may have become clumped together – or just eat the clumps like Auntie Melba.
Measure out 1/2 cup from the 4 Cups of flour required for this recipe and use it to keep the raisins from sticking (by adding it to the raisins) when you mix the raisins and currants. Combine (in the following order) the fruit blend: raisins, currants, mixed peel, lemon and orange rind. Then add in the strawberry jam and the optional candied cherries and walnuts. Set Aside.

Cream the butter (using a mixer) until soft then gradually add in the brown sugar. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, then add the molasses and beat again.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks… DO NOT get any yolks in the whites. Beat the yolks until they are thick and pale yellow in colour then gradually add the beaten yolks to the butter/sugar/molasses mixture—beating thoroughly. This mixture will now be referred to as the “delicious batter” *Clare used a rotary beater which is an old time hand beater to mix this

Mix together the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour, spices and baking soda – then sift 2 or 3 times. That’s right ladies buy yourselves a sifter!!

Combine the 1 cup of fruit juice with the melted chocolate and hot water. This mixture will now be referred to as the “wet ingredients”
*melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the stove and you’ll have your hot water

To the “delicious batter” add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with “wet ingredients”, making 3 or 4 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.
Stir gently and quickly until well blended, but do not over-mix. Fold in the fruit blend mixture.
Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold quickly into the batter with a spatula.
Tadaaa!!!!!! The cake is ready for baking.

Preheat oven to 300° F

Line deep cake pans with 2 or 3 thicknesses of Reynolds Parchment paper … not wax!
Grease the outer paper using Crisco lard-don’t be chintzy on the greasing!!
Carefully spread batter in pans, filling pans 2/3 full. Bake approximately 3 hours----just don’t leave the kitchen while it’s cooking and test with a toothpick to see if it’s done. If you smell smoke…it’s done! ***Don’t forget to put a tin of water in the oven while baking-something to do with moisture and the cake***
Allow the baked cakes to “set” for 30-40 minutes before removing from pans. Remove paper and cool thoroughly. Cover with icing multiple times until cake is finished.

CAKE ICING (OPTIONAL)

Butter, icing sugar, milk, almond extract.

Start with about 1/2 cup butter, add icing sugar until stiff, add small amount of milk to make spreadable & few drops almond extract to taste. Add or take away ingredients as needed for size of cake/cakes.

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Steelworkers Humanity Fund Supports the Sudbury Food Bank https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-humanity-fund-supports-the-sudbury-food-bank Thu, 17 Dec 2015 14:16:53 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-humanity-fund-supports-the-sudbury-food-bank Steelworkers Humanity Fund Supports the Sudbury Food Bank

(SUDBURY, ON) – The United Steelworkers presented donations this past Monday to the Banque d’aliments Sudbury Food Bank (BDSFB), the Elgin St. Mission, and the Blue Door Soup Kitchen totaling $6000.

Myles Sullivan, the North-East Ontario Area Coordinator of the USW, presented the donations on behalf of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund.

“We’re always happy to be able to help out and do whatever we can for the community,” said Mr. Sullivan, who also explained how the USW’s Humanity Fund works.

Every member of the Union contributes one cent per hour worked to the fund. That might not seem like a lot, but with 280,000 members in Canada, the contributions add up: The Humanity fund has given $166,000 to local Food Banks across Canada this year. 

According to Dan Xilon, executive director of the BDSFB, the Steelworkers are an important partner for the Food Bank: 

“This donation from the Humanity Fund is a wonderful thing, and it certainly helps every year, but I have to say the local Steelworkers have always been great at helping us out. Knowing that support is there and knowing their commitment to the community really helps us in our work.”

For additional information about how monetary and food donations are used by The Sudbury Food Bank, and its member agencies, please visit their website at www.sudburyfoodbank.ca. Or call their office at 705 671-9663.

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‘Enough Is Enough,’ Steelworkers Say as Federal Government Betrays Another 1,700 Pensioners https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/enough-is-enough-steelworkers-say-as-federal-government-betrays-another-1700-pensioners Thu, 17 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/enough-is-enough-steelworkers-say-as-federal-government-betrays-another-1700-pensioners WABUSH, NL – More than 1,700 Cliffs Natural Resources pensioners learned today they will suffer a substantial loss of income because federal laws continue to protect corporations over workers and retirees, says the United Steelworkers (USW).

“Today another 1,700 families in Labrador and Quebec have been victimized by federal laws that allow corporations to break their obligations to pensioners and workers,” said Marty Warren, the USW’s Director for Atlantic Canada and Ontario.

“Enough is enough. For years we’ve called on our federal governments to stop allowing corporations to abandon their responsibilities to workers, pensioners and their communities,” Warren said.

“Canadian families need the new federal government to pass progressive legislation ensuring workers and pensioners are secured creditors in corporate bankruptcy protection cases, rather than being pushed to the back of the line. It’s only fair that working people receive the pensions and benefits they earned over careers spent generating wealth for their employers.”

The federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Superintendent of Pensions jointly announced today a decision to wind up the Wabush Mines pension plans.

The decision affects 1,700 workers and pensioners in Labrador and Quebec, whose pensions will be substantially reduced, with the specific cuts to be determined in the new year.

Cliffs Natural Resources has closed its Canadian operations, which are currently under bankruptcy protection under the terms of Canadian federal legislation, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Earlier this year, Cliffs eliminated health and life insurance benefits for pensioners and stopped making special payments into pension funds, which were already underfunded.

“Canadian law continues to protect corporations while abandoning workers and pensioners who have to struggle to survive. Cliffs Natural Resources continues to operate in the U.S., but is allowed to walk away from its obligations to workers and pensioners in Canada,” Warren said.

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Humanity Fund and other donations in Sault Ste. Marie https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/humanity-fund-and-other-donations-in-sault-ste-marie Tue, 15 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/humanity-fund-and-other-donations-in-sault-ste-marie Today the United Steelworkers were happy to present the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen with $7,500.  Ron Sim, General Manager of the Soup Kitchen received a cheque for $4,000 from the Steelworkers Humanity Fund.   Mike Da Prat, President of USW Local 2251 presented Ron a cheque for $1,500 on behalf of his membership.  Lisa Dale, President of USW Local 2724 and Cody Alexander, President of USW Local 9548 also presented cheques for $1,000 each on behalf of their memberships.  

In addition to the Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen, USW Local 9548 donated $1,000 to both the United Way and ARCH.  Laid off members of USW Local 9548 are also receiving a $55 Pino’s gift card.  USW Local 2724 donated $1,000 to each of the following charities – Sault Star Santa Fund, St. Vincent’s, Pauline’s Place, the Salvation Army and the Children’s Comfort Centre at ARCH.

USW Local 2251 donated an additional $1,500 to St. Vincent’s.  In support of the children’s meal programs $10,000 was donated to the Algoma District School Board and $5,250 to the Huron Superior Catholic School Board.  Another $1,500 was donated to support the Children’s Comfort Centre at the ARCH Hospice.  USW Local 2251 delegates will be delivering approximately 140 fruit baskets to local members and retirees who are currently in local nursing homes, the Sault Area Hospital and ARCH.  They will also be issuing cheques to the spouses of members who have passed away during the past year.

Humanity Fund 2015

Left to right: Mike Da Prat, President USW Local 2251
Lisa Dale, President USW Local 2724
Ron Sim, General Manager Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen
Cody Alexander, President USW Local 9548
Joe Krmpotich, USW Local 2251 Union Coordinator

Local 2251 – 2015 Marlene Henry, Volunteer Coordinator Guest Service Navigator
Mike Da Prat, President USW Local 2251
Ron Sim, General Manager Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen

Humanity Fund 2015

Local 2724 – 2015 Marlene Henry, Volunteer Coordinator Guest Service Navigator
Ron Sim, General Manager Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen
Lisa Dale, President USW Local 2724

Humanity Fund 2015

Local 9548 – 2015 Ron Sim, General Manager Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen
Marlene Henry, Volunteer Coordinator Guest Service Navigator
Cody Alexander, President USW Local 9548



Released by:

Jack Ostroski

USW District 6 Coordinator – Northwestern Region

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Criminal Charges Show Steelworkers Campaign to Enforce the Law is Starting to Work https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/criminal-charges-show-steelworkers-campaign-to-enforce-the-law-is-starting-to-work Thu, 10 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/criminal-charges-show-steelworkers-campaign-to-enforce-the-law-is-starting-to-work TORONTO – Criminal charges laid against a Sarnia company more than a year after the death of one worker and serious injury to five others is proof that a campaign to enforce a law passed more than a decade ago is resulting in the appropriate response by law enforcement and the courts, says Marty Warren, Ontario/Atlantic Director of the United Steelworkers (USW).

“Our campaign to Stop the Killing and Enforce the Law has been gaining support over the last year,” said Warren. “We are tired of seeing workers killed at a rate of 1,000 a year across Canada, while corporations and their leadership are not held accountable.”

Warren said the USW’s concerns are for all workers, unionized or not, and that support has been growing in municipalities, including Sarnia, which have passed resolutions calling for better enforcement and prosecution under 2003-04 amendments to the Criminal Code. Few charges, and fewer convictions, have occurred over the last 12 years since the amendments, known as the Westray Bill, were passed. 

“Steelworker members were front and centre, lobbying for those changes a decade ago, he said. “Our hope was that the Westray law would serve as a deterrent to employers who view the fines for workplace death under occupational health and safety legislation as a mere cost of doing business.

“Our hope now is that the family of Jason Miller, who was killed when a dust collection system exploded, will receive the justice they deserve, along with the five other workers injured when the explosion caused part of the roof to collapse at Veolia Environmental Services on October 25, 2014.

“Our campaign will continue until the killing stops and the law is fully enforced and prosecuted.”

More information on the USW Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law campaign can be found at: www.stopthekilling.ca

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Celebrating 25 Years of Women of Steel https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/celebrating-25-years-of-women-of-steel Wed, 09 Dec 2015 13:50:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/celebrating-25-years-of-women-of-steel Women’s activism and involvement in the union had begun earlier, particularly during the feminist wave of the 1970s and 1980s.

Deirdre Gallagher, a staff representative at the Canadian National Office in the early 1980s, developed Changing Faces of Unionism, a course aimed at breaking down workplace barriers and encouraging women to become active members and leaders of their union. The course would evolve into today’s Women of Steel program and help develop USW women leaders.

Recognizing a lack of women’s involvement in the union compared to its growing female membership, a young Leo Gerard – first as a USW staff rep and later as District 6 Director – encouraged women to get active and change our union. He worked alongside women Steelworkers to address their concerns, such as negotiating the appointment of sexual harassment counsellors in the workplace, and hiring staff and dedicating resources to create the Women of Steel program.

Women activists and leaders across our districts in Canada have shared in the development and growth of our Women of Steel program.

Find out more about the story of Women of Steel by following us on Twitter and Facebook. Each Wednesday, we will profile stories of our heroic sisters who have led the way for women's advancement and leadership in our union, and of our collective fight for women's rights in our workplaces, our collective agreements and the laws of our country.

The United Steelworkers continues our commitment to equality and our belief that unions need women and women need unions. 

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Hamilton MP Scott Duvall Demands Liberals Live Up to Election Rhetoric on U.S. Steel https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/hamilton-mp-scott-duvall-demands-liberals-live-up-to-election-rhetoric-on-u-s-steel Wed, 09 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/hamilton-mp-scott-duvall-demands-liberals-live-up-to-election-rhetoric-on-u-s-steel OTTAWA – Hamilton Mountain MP Scott Duvall is challenging the Liberal government to “live up to its election campaign rhetoric” and defend the rights of U.S. Steel pensioners who were robbed of their access to health benefits and prescription drug coverage.

In October, an Ontario Superior Court judge overseeing U.S. Steel Canada’s bankruptcy protection case allowed the company to eliminate critical health-care benefits for 20,000 pensioners and surviving spouses. That decision, and the secret deal that allowed U.S. Steel to take over Stelco in 2007, affects pensioners and the future of the much-reduced workforce remaining at the company’s Hamilton and Nanticoke operations.

“During the election campaign, the new government promised they would release details and hold the company accountable for all its promises to workers and pensioners,” Duvall said Tuesday in the House of Commons. “When will the government live up to its rhetoric, open up the secret deal and stand up for workers’ pensions?”

As expected, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (formerly Industry Canada), Navdeep Bains, did not directly answer the question.

Duvall, the NDP critic for pensions and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, was a Hamilton city councillor for nine years and president of USW Local 5328, the former Stelwire plant known locally as Parkdale Works.

“Scott Duvall has shown his commitment to his community and to the workers we represent,” said United Steelworkers’ National Director Ken Neumann. “Together with Scott, Tom Mulcair and the NDP, we will continue to put pressure on this government and demand real accountability, openness and transparency. Workers and pensioners in Hamilton don’t deserve, and can’t afford, to be pushed aside.”

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Canada’s Steel Industry: High-Value Cornerstone of Our Manufacturing Economy - Ken Neumann/Marty Warren Op-Ed https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/canadas-steel-industry-high-value-cornerstone-of-our-manufacturing-economy Wed, 09 Dec 2015 09:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/canadas-steel-industry-high-value-cornerstone-of-our-manufacturing-economy By Ken Neumann and Marty Warren

With a perfect storm threatening Canada's steel industry, many concerned Canadians are asking, "Will steel manufacturing still play a key role in our future economy?" Well, the answer can — and should — be: "yes." To understand why and how, let's look at the facts.

The livelihoods of tens of thousands of Canadian workers and pensioners are at risk and so are the communities that depend on the steel industry for jobs and economic activity. The current crisis is caused by low world steel prices, a sluggish oil and gas sector and dumping of subsidized steel from China and other jurisdictions with poor environmental, safety and working standards.

Like oil and gas, demand and prices for steel are very cyclical. Fifteen years ago, steel dropped to levels similar to today's depressed prices — below $400 a ton for hot-rolled band steel — then rebounded dramatically. The financial meltdown of 2008 brought another plunge, but by 2011 the price of steel was up to $800 a ton.

Smart industry executives know that ultimately the supply and demand for steel will rebalance, the oil sector will pick up again and prices for standard and high-end steel will ultimately rebound.

In the meantime we have to work to preserve the industry. Canadian steelmaking is directly responsible for 20,000 jobs, with a payroll injection of $1.7 billion, as well as another 100,000 indirect jobs. The industry also purchases $9.3 billion annually in goods and services, supporting over 5,000 suppliers. That's a lot of Canadian families and suppliers in a lot of Canadian communities.

Canada's steel industry is a highly advanced, technically skilled, value-added, state-of-the-art sector. It produces some of the highest grades of steel products anywhere. But in the current crisis, even sophisticated operations are now under creditor protection as a result of the current crisis.

U.S. Steel Canada in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., is under creditor protection and it operates North America's newest Greenfield integrated steelmaking facility and has one of the most advanced zinc-coating facilities in North America. Essar Steel Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie is under creditor protection too and it has one of the most-advanced thin slab casting and rolling mills in North America.

These operations, and the many other globally competitive steelmaking facilities that are currently threatened, are all productive operations that employ highly skilled Canadian industrial workers and engineers, and have a history of innovation and investment in new technologies. Indeed, this is not your granddad's steel. More than half of all types of steel made today did not exist 15 years ago.

So while these Canadian communities and families wait for global steel prices to rebound, our governments have a duty to play a strong, proactive role to defend the industry.

Unlike our resource-extraction industries, steel manufacturing can be simply moved out of the country. The loss of our domestic steel sector would have massive effects throughout industry-dependent communities and in the economy.

We need a thriving Canadian steel industry to provide our manufacturing sector with the steel to build cars, windmills, infrastructure, energy projects and others essentials for our 21{+s}t-century economy. If steel production were to move, we would lose a critical part of the supply chain for many associated industries.

This is why it is essential that governments play an active role to ensure this perfect storm doesn't result in the disappearance of such a vital component of our economy and the livelihoods of so many Canadians.

The federal and Ontario governments must work with industry and labour to help these facilities withstand the current crisis. Adopting progressive, level-playing-field trade policies and providing supports and incentives for the restructuring will be essential to the viability of our high-quality steel industry. It's important to protect viable, good jobs and to ensure fair treatment for the employees and retirees.

The bottom line is this — Canada needs a strong, domestic steel industry as a cornerstone of an advanced manufacturing economy, and many families, communities and suppliers will suffer if we don't act.

- Ken Neumann is the United Steelworkers National Director. Marty Warren is the United Steelworkers District Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Op-ed column as published in the Hamilton Spectator

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Statement from Marty Warrren, marking December 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/statement-from-marty-warrren-marking-december-6 Sun, 06 Dec 2015 08:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/statement-from-marty-warrren-marking-december-6 We were all shaken to hear the news, back on September 22, about three women murdered near Wilno, Ontario, by the same man, an ex-partner with a long record of violence. Sadly, these three women were not the only sisters, mothers, wives, and daughters to lose their lives to domestic violence this year in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.

On December 6, we remember the day in 1989, when a man murdered fourteen young female engineering students at Montreal’s École Polytechnique. And by remembering them, we honour and remember all the women and girls who have left us too early, who were targeted because they were women.

Fortunately, December 6 is also a day of action. Because remembering a tragedy without trying to prevent it happening again is not acceptable. As we say in the trade union movement, let’s mourn for those we have lost, then organize to help the living.

And there are actions which will make a huge difference. I hope that, in a few days, we will hear the federal government call a national enquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Steelworkers have joined our voices with so many others calling for an enquiry, and insisting that victims’ families and Aboriginal women’s organizations be consulted in the enquiry’s design.

But we need more. We need a national action plan on violence against women, to co-ordinate the legislative changes and support services needed across jurisdictions. Women’s organizations and domestic-violence survivors have already mapped the way. They have created a “blueprint” document that governments should follow as they develop this long-overdue strategy.

And in the short term, we need more shelters and better funding for shelters. On any given night in this country, 4,600 women and 3,600 children are forced to sleep in emergency shelters due to violence. Hundreds of others have to be turned away because of a shortage of space.

On December 6, attend a vigil or pause in silence to honour and remember the women who have died. Then roll up your sleeves. Along with sisters and brothers in our local unions, telephone and write and e-mail provincial and federal politicians, calling for action to end the loss of women’s lives.

Marty Warren

Director, District 6, United Steelworkers

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Throne Speech: Helping Middle Class Should Mean Saving Jobs – Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/throne-speech-helping-middle-class-should-mean-saving-jobs-steelworkers Fri, 04 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/throne-speech-helping-middle-class-should-mean-saving-jobs-steelworkers TORONTO – United Steelworkers National Director Ken Neumann says the Liberal government’s Speech from the Throne leaves both gaps and opportunities for Canadian workers, particularly in industries like steel and forestry.

“Broad statements leave us both hopeful and full of questions,” said Neumann. “While trade and infrastructure investment are important, the very real uncertainty currently faced by workers and retirees, as a result of an absence of industrial strategy by previous governments, is worrisome. The lack of concern for Canada’s manufacturing base has led to the dumping of foreign products into Canada by other countries.”

Neumann said that although the government repeated its plan to invest in Canada’s infrastructure, nothing was said about how, or with what, this infrastructure will be built. The USW is currently involved in anti-dumping trade cases against numerous countries like China.

The government has given no indication nor made a promise to use Canadian products rather than dumped Chinese steel for its infrastructure projects.

“Using Canadian tax dollars to purchase dumped steel would not only threaten the jobs of Canadian steelworkers who make the same product here in Canada, but Chinese steel is not made to the same quality standards as Canadian steel,” Neumann said. “Infrastructure projects, funded by Canadian taxpayer dollars, should be built using Canadian steel. It’s good economics, and it’s safer.”

As well, Neumann said foreign investment decisions made by the federal government in secret have devastated workers, retirees and their families in Hamilton, while similar uncertainties are emerging in Sault Ste. Marie, where Essar Steel Algoma recently filed for bankruptcy protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

“We hope and expect this government to act rapidly to preserve jobs in key economic sectors, as well as the dignity of retired workers and their families, who have given their most productive years to build Canadian industry. Fair trade and a strong Canadian economy cannot be accomplished without re-building manufacturing so that we have something to trade beyond raw resources.”

Neumann added that the union has already met with government bureaucrats over the future of the recently expired Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States. 

“The softwood lumber issue was not referenced today nor included in the mandate delivered to International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland from the Prime Minister,” said Neumann. “We wonder what that means, when we also face continued raw log exports to Asia and more pressure under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Our union has 25,000 members in the forestry sector and since the early 2000s forestry companies, such as Interfor, have moved production across the border to avoid U.S. duties.

“This government must ensure that any trade deals clearly benefit workers and communities.

“If Mr. Trudeau wants to save the middle class, then he has to save jobs.” 

Neumann said the USW will continue to seek meetings with ministers over these issues and others.

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Steelworkers Welcome New Leadership at Ontario Federation of Labour https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/united-steelworkers-welcome-new-leadership-at-the-ontario-federation-of-labour Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/united-steelworkers-welcome-new-leadership-at-the-ontario-federation-of-labour TORONTO - The United Steelworkers celebrated the election of new leadership today at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).

"This is a good day for working people and the labour movement in Ontario. With the election of this strong slate of candidates to head the provincial federation of labour, we are entering a new period of thoughtful and strong activism on behalf of Ontario workers both unionized and non-unionized," said Marty Warren, District Director of Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

"The Steelworkers have confidence in all three newly elected officials," added Warren.

Unifor's Chris Buckley was unanimously elected OFL President, OSSTF's Patty Coates was similarly elected Secretary-Treasurer and Ahmad Gaied from UFCW was elected Executive Vice-President.

Upon being elected, Buckley said: "My job is to make sure that this Federation pulls together! My goal is to unite our labour movement across Ontario and that starts with unity at your OFL."

Buckley continued, "We owe it to workers today and to our collective future to champion a province-wide campaign to reshape labour laws in the interest of every worker in Ontario."

"It is only when the fight of any worker becomes the fight of every worker that the labour movement can defend good jobs and strong public services that make our economy work for everyone."

Buckley's unanimous selection shows that the labour movement is united in the direction we want to take in our fight for good jobs, fair deals for workers and strong communities.

"I am proud of the many Steelworkers who have been active participants and voting delegates at this week's convention," said Warren.

"I also want to personally thank Steelworkers' Nancy Hutchison for six years of strong, determined and thoughtful leadership as Secretary-Treasurer for the OFL. Nancy deserves all of our respect and admiration. We at USW are very happy to welcome her back to our workplace," Warren declared.

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Trudeau, Wynne Must Act Now on Deepening Steel Crisis: Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/trudeau-wynne-must-act-now-on-deepening-steel-crisis-steelworkers Wed, 11 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/trudeau-wynne-must-act-now-on-deepening-steel-crisis-steelworkers TORONTO - For the second time in a week, United Steelworkers (USW) leaders are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to act immediately to defend over 100,000 workers and pensioners threatened by a deepening steel industry crisis.

"The time for real action is now," said USW National Director Ken Neumann, who last week sent an open letter to Trudeau, urgently requesting a meeting to discuss measures to support Canada's steel industry, which directly and indirectly sustains over 100,000 jobs and tens of thousands of pensioners.

"Will this government continue its predecessor's record of neglecting our industrial and manufacturing base, or will it take meaningful action to stand up for thousands of families whose jobs and pensions are at stake?" Neumann asked.

"European governments are committing to take significant, immediate action to support their steel sector and to counter the dumping of cheap, subsidized steel into their markets," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"We need a similar response. Canadian workers and pensioners are asking – Where are our governments? Why are they not defending our jobs and our communities?" Warren said.

Warren and Neumann also co-signed an open letter last week to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, demanding immediate action to support the province's steel industry, workers and pensioners.

The crisis in the domestic steel sector worsened this week as Essar Steel Algoma Inc. filed for creditor protection. Essar Algoma employs nearly 3,000 people in Sault Ste. Marie and an estimated 15,000 other jobs in the city depend directly or indirectly on the company.

Essar Algoma has joined U.S. Steel Canada as the second major steel producer in Ontario that is under court-supervised creditor protection. U.S. Steel Canada, which employs nearly 2,000 workers in Ontario, recently eliminated vital health benefits and prescription drug coverage for some 20,000 pensioners.

"Over the years, our governments told us that, with globalization we had to become more competitive, more efficient, that we had to think outside the box – and we've done that," said Mike Da Prat, President of USW Local 2251, which represents hourly workers at Essar Steel Algoma.

"But we also need fair trade rules because we have fixed costs for health and safety, for environmental protection, etc. Our governments continue to allow the dumping of cheap steel from countries that neglect health and safety, that pollute the environment and that violate human rights in their workplaces.

"We need Justin Trudeau to deliver on his promise of stimulating the economy and supporting fair trade," Da Prat said.

"Everyone in our union, at all levels, will do everything we can to defend the interests of our members and pensioners throughout this restructuring process," said Lisa Dale, President of USW Local 2724, which represents salaried employees at Essar Algoma.

"But we need our federal and provincial governments to be on our side. Our entire community is counting on the governments they elected to fulfill their promises that they would support decent, middle-class jobs," Dale said.

"We need those promises to be honoured. We need an action plan and a strategy that will help ensure the sustainability of our industry, which provides economic benefits to our entire country."

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Announced Layoffs by Profitable Telus Regrettable and Unnecessary https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/announced-layoffs-by-profitable-telus-regrettable-and-unnecessary Thu, 05 Nov 2015 11:59:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/announced-layoffs-by-profitable-telus-regrettable-and-unnecessary BURNABY, BC. – Telus announced today through the media that it will be reducing its workforce by 1,500 full-time employees from across Canada.

"We are extremely disappointed to learn of Telus' decision to reduce their workforce at a time when the company is extremely profitable.  It is also disappointing to have been notified through the media, when the company will have known about this decision for some time," said Lee Riggs, TWU, USW National Local 1944 President.

Telus was tight-lipped about who will be affected, but they gave assurances that our bargaining unit will not face any layoffs.  Downsizing will be done through attrition and through voluntary buy-out packages.

We anticipate that the jobs of skilled professionals in your community will be offshored and contracted out, even though Telus brought in $398 million net in the past 3 months and today increased shareholder dividends by 10%.

President Riggs continued by saying: "our members work hard to provide great service from coast to coast and it is extremely disappointing to see how Telus values both their employees and subscribers."

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At-Risk Pensioners Need Real Help From Trudeau, Wynne: Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/at-risk-pensioners-need-real-help-from-trudeau-wynne-steelworkers Wed, 04 Nov 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/at-risk-pensioners-need-real-help-from-trudeau-wynne-steelworkers TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne are being urged to provide meaningful help to thousands of vulnerable pensioners whose critical health-care benefits were taken away overnight by multinational U.S. Steel.

“I request your government’s immediate attention to the plight of some 20,000 retirees and surviving spouses whose rights to post-retirement health care benefits have been torn from them,” USW National Director Ken Neumann states in an open letter delivered today to the prime minister.

A similar open letter, co-signed by Neumann and USW Ontario Director Marty Warren, has been sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The USW letters also call on the prime minister and premier to show tangible support for Canada’s struggling steel industry and to unseal a secret deal between the federal government and U.S. Steel.

On Oct. 10, while in the midst of court-supervised insolvency proceedings, U.S. Steel Canada abruptly eliminated critical health benefits and prescription drug coverage for its 20,000 pensioners and surviving spouses.

“These are vulnerable people who have done nothing wrong. They are losing essential health care benefits earned as deferred compensation during a work life spent in a heavy industrial setting,” state the letters to Trudeau and Wynne.

The pensioners must now “attempt to pay for treatments which are required for their survival and quality of life and which are often prohibitively expensive.”

The estimated annual cost of providing benefits to the pensioners is $40 million. However, the Ontario government has proposed only a $3-million fund to help the pensioners.

“Clearly, Ontario’s response is completely inadequate. The $3-million fund proposed by the province is hardly worth the cost of setting up a mechanism to determine how it would be allocated and to whom,” the USW leaders state.

“More provincial money is needed. Money from the Government of Canada is also needed if retirees are to be protected.”

With U.S. Steel announcing its plan to “disengage” and walk away from its Canadian operations, it is crucial for the Trudeau government to take action to open the secret deal previously reached by the company and the government, the USW says.

In approving U.S. Steel’s takeover of the former Stelco, the federal government had a legal responsibility to ensure the takeover would provide a “net benefit” to Canada, Neumann says in his letter to Trudeau.

“The Government of Canada bears some real responsibility for the plight of retirees and current employees,” he says.

The federal and provincial governments also must support an action plan and strategy to ensure the viability and sustainability of a Canadian steel industry, including the Hamilton and Nanticoke facilities that U.S. Steel wants to abandon, the USW says.

“The USW calls on the Government of Ontario to provide funding necessary for U.S. Steel Canada, as an independent Canadian corporation, to survive the current challenges and to plan for future operations,” says Warren.

The Canadian steel sector employs more than 20,000 workers and indirectly supports more than 100,000 jobs across the country.

USW letter to the Prime Minister

USW letter to the Ontario Premier

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Building a better working future: The USW and Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/changing-workplaces-review Wed, 04 Nov 2015 10:14:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/changing-workplaces-review In Ontario, full-time jobs with decent wages, benefits and retirement income are increasingly rare. In their place are too many low-paid, part-time jobs with minimal benefits or retirement income.

The USW does not accept this as inevitable.

Decisions by successive provincial governments to weaken laws and erode labour rights have not resulted in job creation and economic prosperity.

The USW is pleased that the Ontario government has begun a review of the province’s labour laws. The Changing Workplaces Review is considering the causes and effects of precarious work, and will offer options to the provincial government to respond to the problem.

The review held public consultations this past summer. Rank and file members of our union brought real-life experiences for the review’s special advisors to consider.

In September, the USW delivered a wide-ranging submission to the review.

We focus on the vital responsibilities of freely chosen unions, independent of employer control and with the resources necessary to engage in effective bargaining. They are the key lever for working people to advance their interests. We propose positive, practical reforms to provide for Ontarians:

• a truly fair method for people to form unions;
• a better balance of power when employers try to slash employees’ incomes and working conditions
• an end to the ‘race to the bottom’ in the contract services sector
• expanding the right of employees to engage in coordinated activity directed toward mutual aid, protection or collective bargaining

We also call for an overhaul of employment standards law to replace the current patchwork of exclusions and loopholes with a strong foundation on which all working people can stand.

The USW will continue our engagement with the review in the coming months. And importantly, our members will communicate with their MPPs to ensure that they are ready to move Ontario’s employment laws in a progressive direction.

USW Submission to the Changing Workplaces Review

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20,000 Pensioners Lose Critical Health and Drug Benefits Due to Harper’s U.S. Steel Sellout https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/20000-pensioners-lose-critical-health-and-drug-benefits-due-to-harpers-u-s-steel-sellout Fri, 09 Oct 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/20000-pensioners-lose-critical-health-and-drug-benefits-due-to-harpers-u-s-steel-sellout TORONTO – The federal Conservative government must accept its responsibility for 20,000 pensioners who are immediately losing critical health benefits and prescription drug coverage, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

“There will be 20,000 pensioners waking up tomorrow without health benefits and prescription drug coverage, because of the Harper government’s secret deals with U.S. Steel. It’s a disgrace,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“We’re calling on Stephen Harper to directly address this crisis and to take meaningful action – before October 19th,” Warren said.

The United Steelworkers (USW) will continue to fight to protect U.S. Steel Canada workers and pensioners, following a court ruling today allowing the company to stop paying health and other benefits.

Pensioners are expected to lose their benefits at midnight tonight.

“U.S. Steel and the federal government must be condemned in the strongest possible terms for callously abandoning their commitments and responsibilities, particularly to some of the most vulnerable residents of our communities,” Warren said.

“We will continue to pursue every avenue at our disposal to defend the jobs, pensions and benefits of our members and pensioners,” he said following the Ontario Superior Court ruling in U.S. Steel Canada’s bankruptcy protection proceedings.

The decision by Superior Court Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel approved a plan for U.S. Steel Canada to be severed from parent company U.S. Steel.

The court-sanctioned plan also allows U.S. Steel Canada to stop paying for health and prescription drug benefits for more than 20,000 pensioners, as well as to stop paying municipal taxes to the City of Hamilton and Haldimand County.

“U.S. Steel caused this crisis because it set up its Canadian operations to fail,” said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

“Now U.S. Steel is walking away from this devastation, while U.S. Steel Canada’s restructuring plan targets thousands of vulnerable and sick pensioners by taking away the medical benefits and prescription medications they desperately need,” Howe said.

“Our federal government allowed U.S. Steel to take over some of the most modern and efficient steelmaking facilities in North America, based on legal commitments to workers, pensioners and communities,” said USW Local 8782 President Bill Ferguson, representing workers at U.S. Steel Canada’s Nanticoke operations.

“The Conservative government allowed U.S. Steel to starve our operations, export our work to the U.S. and break all of its obligations to maintain jobs and production in Canada. It’s time for this government to step up – before this election – and help us save and rebuild this industry,” Ferguson said.

“The United Steelworkers is committed to building a prosperous Canadian steelmaking company again,” said Warren.

“We are committed to reversing the damage caused by U.S. Steel and the Conservative government. We need our government to finally stand up for Canadian workers, pensioners and communities,” he said.

Warren noted that the USW has had discussions with Ontario government officials and the province will provide $3 million for a hardship fund to help U.S. Steel pensioners pay for health care and prescription drug costs. The fund is expected to cover costs for six months, he said.

“We are exploring other possibilities and arrangements to help address these issues and we will continue to communicate with our members and pensioners accordingly,” he said.

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USW Retirees to Host Seniors Vote Event in Sudbury https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-retirees-to-host-seniors-vote-event-in-sudbury Wed, 30 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-retirees-to-host-seniors-vote-event-in-sudbury

Only NDP candidates scheduled to speak at Oct. 1 event

To celebrate the International Day of Older Persons, the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) is encouraging seniors to get out and vote on Oct. 19.

The organization will host a Seniors Vote event at the United Steelworkers Hall on Oct. 1.

“We're trying to get seniors, and everyone else, to get out and vote,” said Julien Dionne, one of the event's organizers.

Complete article in Sudbury Northern Life

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Steelworkers! Join Tom’s Whistle-Stop Tour https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/join-toms-whistlestop-tour Wed, 30 Sep 2015 11:45:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/join-toms-whistlestop-tour Steelworkers!

Tom Mulcair and the Orange Wave are coming to southwestern Ontario for a whistle-stop tour this Sunday, October 4. You’re invited!

Let’s show Tom and the NDP that the Steelworkers are on board for $15-a-day childcare, a $15 minimum wage, repealing Bill C-51 and retirement security for our seniors.

Bring your family and friends. RSVP at the links below in the community near you.

Let’s make history in 2015!

8:30 a.m. in Brantford RSVP

10:00 a.m. in Waterloo RSVP

11:00 a.m. in Stratford RSVP

12:30 p.m. in London RSVP

4:30 p.m. in Sarnia RSVP

7:00 p.m. in Essex RSVP

www.usw.ca/election2015

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Steelworkers Provide Update on U.S. Steel Canada Mediation https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-update-re-ussteel-canada-mediation Wed, 30 Sep 2015 06:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-update-re-ussteel-canada-mediation TORONTO – United Steelworkers (USW) Locals 8782 and 1005 advise members and retirees on the progress of U.S. Steel Canada’s CCAA process.

USW has just completed five days of mediation in Toronto and the mediation is ongoing. The mediation is confidential and the parties cannot provide any details of discussions that have and are continuing to take place.

While few details are available, USW can say that discussions are continuing and have not broken off.  

“To our thousands of members and retirees: we will continue to defend your jobs, your pensions and your benefits, that you have fought for and that you deserve,” said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

“Throughout this process, our priorities have not changed. We will do all in our power to protect our members’ pensions, their crucial health benefits and of course Steelworker jobs,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.

“We want to move forward and keep making steel in Hamilton and Nanticoke,” said Rob Newstead, Unit Chair of USW Local 8782 Pickling Division.

A number of motions were to be heard by the Ontario Superior Court this week. Those motions have now been rescheduled for October 7 and 8.

“As there are no longer any scheduled public proceedings this week, we instead call on our members, retirees and supporters to join us to witness public proceedings before the court on October 7 and 8,” said Ferguson.

Motions to be heard by the court on October 7 and 8 include the U.S. Steel Canada motion to stop making certain pension plan contributions and to stop paying for crucial benefits for retirees known as OPEBs (other post-employment benefits). The USW has condemned this motion and is opposing U.S. Steel Canada’s efforts to avoid its responsibilities to its employees and retirees.

Retirees received a letter from U.S. Steel Canada dated September 18 that caused confusion and alarm. USW Local 1005 and USW Local 8782 are working to address the concerns of that letter. Our members and retirees can expect to receive another letter from U.S. Steel Canada in the near future, regarding the debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing and OPEBs.

USW hopes to have more information for members and retirees very soon.

“We will continue to stand together and fight hard for our members and retirees throughout this process. We’re Steelworkers,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director. “We know that Hamilton Works and Lake Erie Works can succeed as stable, long-term, profitable businesses with good jobs and retirements for our members.”

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Update from Steelworkers re U.S. Steel Canada Court Proceedings: Rescheduled https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/update-re-ussteel-canada-court-proceedings-rescheduled Mon, 28 Sep 2015 21:58:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/update-re-ussteel-canada-court-proceedings-rescheduled TORONTO, 28 September 2015 – Due to developments late Monday, the United Steelworkers (USW) has been advised that U.S. Steel Canada court proceedings regarding benefits for retirees have been rescheduled to Thursday at the earliest, with the date still to be confirmed. 

As the date of the court proceedings has changed, members are asked to prepare to attend court on Thursday, instead of Tuesday, should the date be confirmed.

WHAT: Assembly to Witness Court Action Against U.S. Steel Canada’s Despicable Action

WHO:  Workers and Retirees of U.S. Steel Canada

WHERE: Assemble Outside Ontario Superior Court House, 330 University Avenue, Toronto 

WHEN: Rescheduled for Thursday – date and time to be confirmed
(Previously slated for Tuesday, 29 September 2015 -- 11:30 a.m.)

The court was to hear a motion from the USW opposing U.S. Steel Canada’s threat to suspend pension plan contributions and crucial health benefits for retirees.

“While the date of court proceedings has changed with little notice, our members, retirees and supporters are ready to join us on Thursday, or any day, any time, to fight for the pension contributions and health benefits they have earned and that they deserve,” said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

“We are working hard to ensure our members and retirees, who have worked their lives in dangerous, hazardous conditions, are not abandoned by this company. We will use this delay to organize and spread the word, so our members and retirees can witness proceedings in court on Thursday,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.

U.S. Steel Canada is under court-supervised insolvency protection. Its parent company, U.S. Steel, has decided to move production of high-value steel out of Hamilton and Nanticoke to its American facilities, over the objections of Canadian workers, pensioners, community leaders and the court-appointed monitor.

“We will continue to defend our members and retirees through this difficult process and do everything we can to stop U.S. Steel Canada from destroying its operations,” said Rob Newstead, Unit Chair, USW Local 8782 Pickling Division.

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Steelworkers Call on Members to Witness Court Proceedings to Stop U.S. Steel Canada from Abandoning Workers, Pensioners and the Community https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/court-proceedings-to-stop-u-s-steel-canada Mon, 28 Sep 2015 12:11:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/court-proceedings-to-stop-u-s-steel-canada Please see udpated advisory, September 28, 10:00 p.m.

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) are asking union members, retirees and community supporters to join them tomorrow to hear and witness the Ontario Superior Court proceedings as USW tries to stop the outrageous moves by U.S. Steel Canada to abandon its responsibility to Canadian workers, pensioners and the City of Hamilton.

WHAT: Assembly to Witness Court Action Against U.S. Steel Canada’s Despicable Action

WHO: Workers and Retirees of U.S. Steel Canada

WHERE: Assemble Outside Ontario Superior Court House, 330 University Avenue, Toronto

WHEN: Tuesday, 29 September 2015 -- 11:30 a.m.

“U.S. Steel Canada must be stopped from destroying Canadian operations,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.

Though U.S. Steel Canada is under court-supervised bankruptcy protection, parent company U.S. Steel has decided to move production of high-value steel – produced for the auto industry – out of plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke.

U.S. Steel plans to move the production to its American facilities, over the objections of Canadian workers, pensioners, community leaders and the court-appointed bankruptcy protection monitor.

“This move abandons thousands of retirees and their dependents who rely on their drug and health benefits after years of work in dangerous, hazardous conditions,”  said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

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Steelworkers Demand that Final Reports on 2014 Fatality be Released https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-demand-that-final-reports-on-2014-fatality-be-released Thu, 24 Sep 2015 12:44:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-demand-that-final-reports-on-2014-fatality-be-released Pascal Goulet

 TORONTO, THUNDER BAY -- The United Steelworkers union (USW) is demanding that the family of a man killed in 2014 at the North American Palladium Ltd. Lac des Iles mine be provided with the final reports on how 38-year-old Pascal Goulet died.

“This hide-and-seek game being played by the employer and the Ministry of Labour is prolonging the suffering and pain for Pascal’s family over a death that was preventable and for which no one has been held accountable,” says Marty Warren, Ontario/Atlantic Director of the United Steelworkers.

“Workplace fatalities should never be wrapped up so tightly in red tape that families are denied their right to know,” Warren said, adding that Goulet’s death should have been treated as a crime scene, with full investigation under provisions of the Criminal Code enacted in 2004.  

“Instead, work resumed at the Lac Des Iles mine less than 18 hours after Pascal was killed,” he said. “Now, the company is denying access to its final report. The Ministry of Labour and the company are also denying access to copies of charges filed against North American Palladium under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.  

“This is cruel and unusual punishment for Melanie and her two children,” Warren said. “The USW is continuing to work with the family and demand that these reports be made available in an open and transparent way.  Our fallen brother deserves no less.”

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Second Workers Uniting Program Brings Together Youth From Around World https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/2nd-workers-uniting-program-brings-together-youth-from-around-world Mon, 21 Sep 2015 18:04:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/2nd-workers-uniting-program-brings-together-youth-from-around-world Fourteen young trade unionists from Canada, the United States, UK, Mexico and Cuba met in London, UK in late August for the second Global Youth Exchange, organized this year by Workers Uniting.   A typical English summer accompanied the event, though the 12 days of rain couldn’t dampen the delegates’ spirits!

The activities began in Esher at Unite the Union’s Education Centre, a historic building that spoke to England’s long history and reminded the participants of the Harry Potter movies.  Here the participants engaged in a mix of serious debate and comical exchanges. They discussed how payments of external debts and deficit fighting are mechanisms to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich. They explored how free trade agreements assault the sovereignty of signatory nations. They learnt how a small country like Cuba can provide universal health care and education because it is free of much of the corporate interference burdening other countries and how the labour movement is not only fighting for members in their own countries but also engaging in international solidarity with Colombia, Qatar and Cuba.

The participants also learnt about residential schools in Canada, where aboriginal children were sent to “get the Indian out of the Indian” and about the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala, Mexico, while protesting tuition, more than a year ago.

A major issue the group tackled was “youth apathy”. Is it a real phenomenon or just the opinion of older generations? One thing was clear: most apathy felt by young workers is a result of feeling isolated or divided. Realizing the potential of young workers’ collective power is essential in order to confront multiple issues, from the erosion of workplace health and safety, to discrimination in the workplace, all the way to countering the corrosive effects of neoliberal globalization.

In addition to these many worthwhile topics, the participants generously shared their own experiences of building activism in their workplaces and creating space for youth within their union. From workplace war stories, to convention speeches, to the suggestions of a respected mentor on how to manage a successful campaign, the conversation flowed freely amongst the participants.

The second part of the event got the participants out of the classroom. Held in London, the participants first visited New Westminster Parliament and talked with Grahame Morris, MP for Durham County and member of the Labour party, about politics in the UK. In the Unite the Union building they discussed working with communities, Unite the Union’s Community Membership Program and what Workers Uniting is doing to promote the interests of working people around the world.

The exchange ended with a commitment to continue the conversation using social media and other forms of communication and to join participants from the first Global Youth Exchange on September 18th to participate in “Global Solidarity Day”, where the young trade unionists will carry out community events and actions. Everyone involved promised to see each other very soon. 

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Dartmouth Auto Shop Owner Charged Under Westray Bill in Mechanic's Death https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/westray-bill-charges-in-mechanics-death Fri, 11 Sep 2015 10:27:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/westray-bill-charges-in-mechanics-death Elie Hoyeck ran Your Mechanic Auto Corner in Dartmouth when Peter Kempton died in September 2013

A man who used to operate an auto repair shop in Dartmouth has been charged under the so-called Westray Bill, marking the first time the law — named for a Nova Scotia disaster — has been used against an employer in this province.

Elie Hoyeck, who used to run Your Mechanic Auto Corner, has been charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with an explosion that killed Peter Kempton, a mechanic, two years ago.

Kempton, 58, died of his injuries after he accidentally sparked the fire while dismantling a minivan with a torch on Sept. 20, 2013.

His daughter, Shannon Kempton, said her father would be glad about the latest developments.

"I think he'd be glad that his accident and his death didn't go unnoticed," she told CBC News on Thursday. "I think he'd be glad that I'm fighting to make sure other people don't die the same way he did."

The Westray Bill, used to charge Hoyeck, targets employers in cases where workers have been killed or injured.

The bill took its name from the Westray Mine disaster in which 26 coal miners died in an underground explosion. Nova Scotia tried — but failed — to prosecute the mine owners for the serious safety deficiencies in the mine.

Complete Article on CBC News

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U.S. Steel Must Be Stopped From Destroying Canadian Operations https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/u-s-steel-must-be-stopped-from-destroying-canadian-operations Thu, 10 Sep 2015 16:28:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/u-s-steel-must-be-stopped-from-destroying-canadian-operations TORONTO – U.S. Steel must be stopped from moving more jobs and production out of Canada, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

“When is the federal government going to stand up to U.S. Steel and defend Canadian workers and pensioners?” asked Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

“From Day One this Conservative government has refused to hold U.S. Steel to its legal obligations to maintain jobs and production in Canada. Now the company is moving our highest-value production to the U.S. and this government is doing nothing in response,” Howe said.

Though U.S. Steel Canada is under court-supervised bankruptcy protection, parent company U.S. Steel has decided to move production of high-value steel – produced for the auto industry – out of plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke.

U.S. Steel plans to move the production to its American facilities, over the objections of Canadian workers, pensioners, community leaders and the court-appointed bankruptcy protection monitor. The move will result in significant job cuts and millions in lost business for U.S. Steel’s Canadian operations.

“Clearly, U.S. Steel has taken its cue from the Conservative government, that it can operate with impunity and break every commitment it has made to keep jobs and production in Canada,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.

“This has to stop now. Our government must compel U.S. Steel to live up to its commitments. We’ve been producing high-value steel for the auto industry for many, many years and this production must stay in Canada. Our communities deserve nothing less,” said Rob Newstead, chair of the USW Local 8782 pickling division.

“Since U.S. Steel was allowed to take over Stelco in 2007, the Conservative government has enabled a shell game in which the company has moved production to the U.S. and slashed jobs in Canada,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“The Ontario government and a former Stelco president have come to the same conclusion, that U.S. Steel set up its Canadian operations to fail so that it could abandon its obligations to our workers, pensioners and communities,” Warren noted.

“Thousands of Canadian workers and pensioners will suffer if U.S. Steel is allowed to continue on this path.”

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Union Asks Court to Halt U.S. Steel's Plans to Move Production https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/union-asks-court-to-halt-u-s-steels-plans-to-move-production Thu, 10 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/union-asks-court-to-halt-u-s-steels-plans-to-move-production The union representing workers at United States Steel Canada Inc. will ask the Ontario Superior Court to block a plan by the company's parent company to shift production of some its highest-value-added steel out of Canada.

The plan to shift production of automotive steel from mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke, Ont., to U.S. mills has infuriated the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents about 1,500 workers at the two mills and is fighting to maintain jobs and save pensions at the Canadian unit.

"The USW believes this 'move' by USS [United States Steel Corp.] is designed by USS to have a devastating impact on the revenue earnings and cash flow of Hamilton Works and Lake Erie Works at a critical and vulnerable time," the union's lawyer Ken Rosenberg said in a letter Thursday to Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel, the Ontario Superior Court judge who is overseeing the restructuring of the Canadian unit.

"The urgency of this matter supersedes all others before this court regarding USSC [United States Steel Canada]," Mr. Rosenberg said in the letter.

Complete article in the Globe and Mail

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Elliot Lake Hampton Inn Employees Join Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/elliot-lake-hampton-inn-employees-join-steelworkers Thu, 10 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/elliot-lake-hampton-inn-employees-join-steelworkers Labour Day – Strong Unions, Strong Communities https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/labour-day-2015-district-6 Fri, 04 Sep 2015 13:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/labour-day-2015-district-6 At a momentous conference held recently in Sault Ste. Marie, United Steelworkers members from across Ontario and Atlantic Canada were recognized by news media and community and political leaders for the tremendous benefits that their union and their activism provide to their communities.

Indeed, it is more clear than ever that the labour movement and the contributions of union members everywhere remain a vital force in supporting strong families, strong communities and social and economic justice.

So it is that on Labour Day 2015, we not only celebrate and honour the labour movement’s historic achievements that have benefitted us all, we re-commit to mobilize and carry on the legacy of progressive activism that produced greater equality and higher working and living standards for everyone.

United Steelworkers members can proudly say that we continue to make a difference for workers and families, in our workplaces, in our communities and in our legislatures. 

Today, to cite just a few examples, our union members are setting new standards for pension protection in the post-secondary education sector, we are taking on U.S. Steel in the courts to defend workers and pensioners, we are building community alliances and supporting charities to help those most in need, and we are collectively and voluntarily donating portions of our heard-earned wages to support grassroots projects in numerous developing countries. 

And with a historic federal election only weeks away, rank-and-file Steelworkers are becoming more politically engaged than ever, to counter a regressive, right-wing agenda that has produced growing inequality over the last two decades.

Most of the shameful rise in inequality in our country is the result of more than a decade of Liberal social program cuts, tax giveaways to corporations and regressive policies. The subsequent Conservative government has piled on to this destructive agenda in the past decade and contributed to even greater inequality.

Steelworkers are working hard in this federal campaign to elect New Democrats because we know that only the NDP can be trusted to stand up for working families and our communities.

We know that whenever our members face a struggle, whenever working families anywhere are under attack, the NDP is the only party that can always be counted on to be on our side.

I am proud and humbled on this Labour Day to represent the members of United Steelworkers District 6. Today we join with our families, friends and neighbours to reflect, to celebrate, to re-commit to defending our shared values and to have fun. Together we will take on the challenges ahead with hope, optimism and a positive outlook for a better future.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labour Day.

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

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Steelworkers, Salit Steel Negotiate Four-Year Deal https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-salit-steel-negotiate-four-year-deal Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-salit-steel-negotiate-four-year-deal NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Employees of Salit Steel in Niagara Falls have ratified a four-year collective agreement with the company.

Then new contract takes effect retroactively to Sept. 1 and covers approximately 100 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 14241 employed by Salit, a structural steel manufacturer. Union members ratified the agreement by a 74% margin.

The contract provides a $250 signing bonus and total wage increases of 7.5% over the contract’s term. It also provides 1.5% pension increases each year, stronger protection of seniority rights and improvements in benefits and terms and conditions of employment.

"I couldn't be more proud of our members for standing strong and supporting us as we bargained to the final minute of the expiry of our previous agreement,” said USW Local 14241 President Dylan Shannon.

“Our mandate from the membership was clear – no concessions or freezes – and we met that mandate. That's not an easy task given the state of manufacturing and unemployment in Niagara, the state of the steel industry and the current recession.

“This agreement keeps the company viable and secures four more years of work for our members. The entire Niagara community will benefit from the hard work the United Steelworkers put into bargaining this agreement,” Shannon said.

“I congratulate these hard-working USW members for sticking together and once again demonstrating the benefits that free and fair collective bargaining provides for families, communities and our economy,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

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For further Information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Frank Arcuri, USW Staff Representative, 905-545-3008, ext. 225, farcuri@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Reach Four-Year Contract with Queen’s https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-reach-four-year-contract-with-queens Fri, 04 Sep 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-reach-four-year-contract-with-queens KINGSTON – More than 1,000 United Steelworkers (USW) members have reached a new, four-year collective agreement with Queen’s University.

Members of USW Local 2010, who work as office, administrative and technical staff at Queen’s, this week ratified a tentative agreement negotiated by their union and the university.

Despite attempts by the provincial government and the university to impose a zero-increase austerity agenda, the new agreement includes monetary increases in addition to improvements in contract language.

Employees will receive a lump-sum payment in the contract’s first year, followed by across-the-board increases in each of the following three years.

Employees who have not reached the top pay level in their respective wage grids also will receive additional “step” increases in their grids in each of the last three years of the contract. Increases for most of these employees will average 2.5% annually over the contract’s final three years.

The new agreement also improves contract language affecting terms and conditions of employment, on issues including seniority and job postings, union representation and a strengthened mandate for a joint labour-management committee.

The union and the university also have agreed to work co-operatively on a proposal to ensure sustainability of the employees’ defined benefit pension plan.

Earlier this year, USW Local 2010 reached a historic co-operation agreement with other unions that represent another 6,000 Queen’s employees, to present a united front to the university to address pension issues.

The unions and the university will examine options for addressing pension funding and solvency issues, such as creating a sector-specific, multi-employer Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan, or JSPP.

“Our members recognize that we have negotiated a fair deal under very difficult circumstances and that we have made improvements that go beyond other agreements reached in this sector,” said USW Local 2010 President Kelly Orser.

“We are now looking to the future and are committed to working with the administration to improve labour relations, which will benefit employees, the university and most importantly our students,” Orser said.

“USW members at Queen’s are to be commended for challenging the austerity agenda that the provincial government and universities have attempted to impose,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“I commend the office, administrative and technical staff at Queen’s for resisting this agenda and for their solidarity in negotiating monetary and other improvements to their collective agreement.”

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Peggy McComb, USW Area Coordinator, 613-546-1177, pmccomb@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Gerard Urges Union Leaders to Hit the Streets to Boot Conservatives from Office https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/gerard-urges-union-leaders-to-hit-the-streets-to-boot-conservatives-from-office Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/gerard-urges-union-leaders-to-hit-the-streets-to-boot-conservatives-from-office The leader of the largest industrial labour union in North America called on its members to work together to boot the Conservative government out of office in the upcoming election.

Leo W. Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, told delegates at the USW District 6 conference in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday to mobilize to elect an NDP government to Parliament.

With its headquarters in Pittsburgh, the United Steelworkers has more than 800,000 members across Canada, the United States, and the Carribean.

Gerard, originally from Sudbury, blasted Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to call an 11-week long election, arguing the move was purely a tactic to outspend his opposition.

“He figures if he calls the election now, he can outspend the other parties and use that to recapture the prime ministership. We won't be able to raise as much money as they've got, but we've got something they don't have. That's hundreds of thousands of members, not just in our union, but in all unions,” he said.

Complete Article in the Sault Star

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American Airlines-US Airways Employees Choose Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/american-airlines-us-airways-employees-choose-steelworkers Mon, 17 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/american-airlines-us-airways-employees-choose-steelworkers TORONTO, MONTREAL, OTTAWA – More than 230 Canadian employees of merged American Airlines-US Airways operations have voted to have the United Steelworkers (USW) as their union.

Over 68 per cent of the airline employees who work at airports in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa voted in favour of the Steelworkers union as their official bargaining agent.

“We are delighted and honoured that these hard-working employees have overwhelmingly chosen the Steelworkers as their union,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"We welcome all the new members who are joining our union. We will continue to provide the best representation to our members to ensure they work in safe conditions, are paid a good wage with decent benefits and are treated fairly and respectfully at work,” Neumann said.

Following the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) ordered a vote by the 232 Canadian employees to choose a single union to represent them in their workplaces.

Prior to the vote, the Steelworkers represented 112 US Airways employees while 120 American Airlines employees were members of Unifor.

The CIRB-ordered vote took place between Aug. 5-14. The CIRB reported that 68.5 per cent of employees voted for the Steelworkers.

The employees, all of whom now work under the American Airlines banner, are now members of USW Local 1976. They work in customer service, at ticket counters, airport kiosks and in baggage handling.

Contract negotiations are expected to begin this fall between the USW members and the airline. All USW members will receive a survey from the union, seeking their input into the priorities that should be pursed during collective bargaining.

"We look forward to the coming round of collective bargaining to ensure the employees benefit from their significant contributions to the airline’s success," Neumann said.

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Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Mike Piché, USW Staff Representative, 416-543-4770, mpiche@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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USW D6 Conference Map https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-d6-conference-map Fri, 14 Aug 2015 15:19:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-d6-conference-map Map of the D6 Conference Venues

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USW District 6 Conference Shuttle Bus Schedule https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-bus-schedule Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:23:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-bus-schedule Quattro Hotel - Holiday Inn - Delta Hotels

SUNDAY

4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Registration at Quattro Hotel: School bus shuttle to and from all hotels

8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.  Hospitality Suite at Quattro Hotel: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels
           

Monday, August 17

7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

5:15 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.  Director's Dinner: School bus shuttle to and from all hotels every half hour on the half hour

Tuesday, August 18

7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Steelworkers Make Great Neighbours: School bus shuttle to venues and return to all hotels, as required

8:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.  Hospitality Suite at Quattro Hotel: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels      

Wednesday, August 19

7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

4:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.  Steelworkers' Community Festival: School bus shuttle to and from all hotels every half hour on the half hour

 

Thursday, August 20

7:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Conference: City bus shuttle to and from all hotels only

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USW District 6 Conference Agenda https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-agenda Fri, 14 Aug 2015 13:07:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-agenda Sunday, August 16

REGISTRATION, Quattro Hotel, 4:00 p.m.

WOMEN OF STEEL CAUCUS, Superior Room, 7:00 p.m.

SOAR, Michigan Room, 7:00 p.m.

NEW DELEGATES’ ORIENTATION, Superior Room, 7:30 p.m.                               

NEXT GEN CAUCUS, Michigan Room, 8:00 p.m.

HOSPITALITY SUITE, Great Lakes Room, 8:00 p.m.      

     

Monday, August 17

All events to take place in the Quattro Ballroom unless otherwise specified 

REGISTRATION, 7:00 a.m.

CONFERENCE OPENING, 9:00 a.m.                

STEELWORKERS HUMANITY FUND

LUNCH

HISTORY LESSON:  ALGOMA STEEL

KEYNOTE: Joe Roberts, Push for Change

GUEST: Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada

GETTING POLITICAL

DIRECTOR’S DINNER, Mill Square, Machine Shop


Tuesday, August 18 

CALL TO ORDER, Quattro Ballroom, 9:00 a.m.                

‘STEELWORKERS MAKE GREAT NEIGHBOURS’ Kick-Off

HOSPITALITY SUITE, Great Lakes Room            


Wednesday, August 19

All events to take place in the Quattro Ballroom unless otherwise specified 

CALL TO ORDER, 9:00 a.m.         

BEAR PIT WITH MARTY WARREN (delegates only)

HEALTH AND SAFETY

LUNCH, 12:00 p.m.  

GUEST: Andrea Horwath, Leader, Ontario NDP

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

GUEST: Leo W. Gerard, USW International President

STEELWORKERS BENEFIT PLAN

GUESTS: Chief Lyle Sayers, Garden River First Nation, Chief Dean Sayers, Batchewana First Nation

UNITED STEELWORKERS’ COMMUNITY FESTIVAL, Roberta Bondar Park

 

Thursday, August 20

All events to take place in the Quattro Ballroom unless otherwise specified 

CALL TO ORDER, 9:00 a.m.

GUEST: Colin Brehaut, Telecommunications Workers Union, USW Local 1944

ONTARIO LABOUR LAW REFORM, Quattro Hotel, Quattro Ballroom

STEELWORKERS MAKE GREAT NEIGHBOURS REPORT-BACK, Quattro Hotel, Quattro Ballroom

CLOSING REMARKS

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Steelworker Days in Sault Ste. Marie https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworker-days-in-sault-ste-marie Thu, 13 Aug 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworker-days-in-sault-ste-marie SAULT STE. MARIE, ON A proclamation from the mayor, a community festival and projects to repair, paint, build and serve a number of local charities, are among the events planned for a conference next week that will see hundreds of members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) from Ontario and Atlantic Canada meet for the first time ever in Sault Ste. Marie.

“Our theme for the week of August 17-20 is Strong Union, Strong Community,” said USW Ontario/Atlantic Director Marty Warren.

“We will have some of the usual speeches, but we will also be spending Tuesday, August 18, out in the community in partnership with a number of local charities. We are also partnering with the Batchewana and Garden River First Nations, on whose traditional territories our conference is being held,” Warren said.

         WHAT:    United Steelworkers District 6 (Ontario/Atlantic Canada) Conference and Community Solidarity

         WHEN:    August 17-20, 2015

         WHERE:  Quattro Hotel (229 Great Northern Road, Sault Ste. Marie) and various community venues.

On Wednesday, August 19, starting around 5 p.m., the USW is hosting a free community festival and barbecue, with bands, face painting and fireworks at the Roberta Bondar Park and Pavilion. 

Earlier this year, Mayor Christian Provenzano proclaimed the week of Aug. 17-20 to be “Steelworker Days in Sault Ste. Marie.” Donations to many of the community projects came from local businesses.

Among the projects slated for Aug. 18 are: building a garden at the Algoma Residential Community Hospice (ARCH); painting at Pauline’s Place emergency shelter and at St. Vincent Place; serving lunch at the Soup Kitchen Community Centre as well as St. Vincent; delivering backpacks with school supplies and vouchers for running shoes at the Community Hub and Best for Kids; clean-up and path restoration at the Regional Conservation Authority; building a patio with benches and fire pit at Batchewana First Nation; refurbishing the veterans’ monument at Garden River First Nation.

“This will be a union conference like no other,” said Warren. “There are so many people to thank and we will do that formally during the conference.”

Speakers on Monday, Aug. 17 will include federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair (via video) and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus. Wednesday, Aug. 19 will feature Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation and Chief Lyle Sayers of Garden River First Nation will also speak on Wednesday. USW International President Leo W. Gerard speaks Wednesday morning. USW National Director Ken Neumann will speak on Monday afternoon.

The conference office during the four days is in the Ontario Room.

USW District 6 Conference page

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For more information and a full conference agenda: Pat Van Horne, 613-859-1763, pvanhorne@usw.ca

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United Steelworkers Ratify Two Contracts in Cambridge https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/united-steelworkers-ratify-two-contracts-in-cambridge Mon, 27 Jul 2015 07:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/united-steelworkers-ratify-two-contracts-in-cambridge CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – Job security and an apprenticeship program for skilled jobs are highlights of new contracts for almost 550 workers in the Cambridge area, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4610.

“It’s very forward-looking of our members at Frito Lay. They initiated early bargaining recognizing the potential for significant capital investment by the company in its Cambridge operations in the near future,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director.

The five-year agreements with Frito Lay (now owned by PepsiCo Canada) cover 500 workers in the plant who make chips and snacks and 43 transport workers. The contracts will run from Jan. 3, 2016 to Jan. 2, 2021.

“These are good family-supporting, community-supporting jobs in the industrial heartland of Ontario,” said Warren. “I’m proud of our members and the gains they have made with these deals with Frito Lay. It demonstrates their loyalty and commitment as well as their interest in gaining skills and access to opportunity.”

In the new deals, the plant workers gain pension and benefit improvements, wage increases of 10.75% over five years, an apprenticeship program that will give members the opportunity for learning a trade, enhanced job security and vacation flexibility.

The transport workers gain a pension increase exceeding 10% over five years, wage and benefit improvements, a new pay structure with the option of review after one year, more opportunities for growth and job security for drivers and welcome changes to the vacation process.

Both contracts include an expedited grievance process for resolving disputes and improved union representation.

“These agreements secure the future of 550 of our members in Cambridge. Agreements like these demonstrate collective bargaining is a key to Ontario’s economic success,” said Warren.

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"A conference to get ideas to benefit everyone" https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/national-aboriginal-workshop-report Thu, 23 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/national-aboriginal-workshop-report United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop session

Aboriginal Steelworkers from coast to coast came together for the first-ever National Consultation Workshop to build a stronger union movement by sharing ideas, needs and experiences.Held in Winnipeg on July 20 and 21, the conference brought together over 60 participants.

Here’s a sneak peek of how the workshop went, in the words of the participants:

“This workshop is an opportunity. Reconciliation comes when we see ourselves--when other Canadians see Aboriginal peoples--as more than what we’ve inherited from residential schools and the Indian Act. We can be more than what we’ve been handed.”
United Steelworkers Aboriginal Workshop presenter Niigaan Sinclair

Workshop Speaker Niigaan Sinclair
Head of Native Studies, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba


“I wanted to come to this workshop to be more educated about the union and to see the Indigenous people from all over Canada. I was surprised to see the vast area covered. And I came to network, to get ideas from others.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop Attendee Jocelyn Dunstan

Jocelyn Dunstan
Haul Truck Operator
Local 7619: Highland Valley Copper
Siska Indian Band, Kamloops, British Columbia


“There are some organizations where everyone talks and nothing gets done. What the Steelworkers are doing here is great and smart of them. Because if the Aboriginal communities know you’re putting on a conference to get ideas to benefit everyone, that’s a good thing.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop Attendee John Sutherland
John Sutherland
Equipment Operator
Local 1-2010: North American Mill Yard Services
Moose Band, Moose Factory, Thunder Bay, Ontario


“I attended because I wanted to see what there was for First Nations people, to see if there was something out there to help other First Nations in the workplace or to get other First Nations to come into the union… It would be good for our membership to have more First Nations involved in the union.”
United Steelworkers National Aboriginal Workshop attendee Susan Oliverius
Susan Oliverius
Electrician
Local 1-423: SRI Homes
Okanagan Indian Band, Kelowna, British Columbia



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'We want our jobs back' https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/we-want-our-jobs-back Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/we-want-our-jobs-back Union members protest layoffs near gates of IOC

The United Steelworkers Union (USW) is seeking arbitration on the case, and, in the meantime, Head said she’ll apply for jobs at places like Muskrat Falls until it’s sorted out.

USW president Ron Thomas said it’s been long enough and it’s time for them to go back to work because the layoffs don’t make sense.

“There are people in there doing the jobs on a regular basis, they’re paying them more money – there’s no business sense to it,” he said.

Complete Article on The Telegram


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Bitterness Remains as Crown Metal Workers End 2-year Strike https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bitterness-remains-as-crown-metal-workers-end-2-year-strike Mon, 20 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bitterness-remains-as-crown-metal-workers-end-2-year-strike Employees narrowly voted Sunday night to ratify a new collective agreement with the Toronto-based beer can manufacturer, after one of province’s longest pickets in recent history.

“We’re pleased that the strike’s over,” said Lawrence Hay, United Steelworkers’ lead negotiator in the dispute. “We’re not so pleased with the terms and conditions.”

Sunday’s collective agreement will result in annual wage increases of around 2 per cent for the next six years, but it will not reverse that substantial cut in workers’ salaries.

The union did manage to ensure that all workers will be able to return to their jobs if they so choose, which had been a major sticking point in negotiations. The company had tried to block 34 workers considered to be the most active union members from regaining their old positions, according to the union.

USW representative Lawrence Hay said he takes pride in his members’ fortitude, despite the final deal.

“They couldn’t destroy those folks,” he told the Star.

Complete Article in The Toronto Star

19 July 2015, USW Media Release New Contract Ratified at Crown Metal Packaging, Strike Ends


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New Contract Ratified at Crown Metal Packaging, Strike Ends https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/crown-strike-ends Sun, 19 Jul 2015 17:01:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/crown-strike-ends TORONTO, 19 July 2015 – Employees of the Crown Metal Packaging factory in Toronto have ratified a new collective agreement, ending a 22-month strike.

Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176 voted today to accept a six-year collective agreement with Crown. The return to work process will begin Aug. 10. 

A tentative agreement was negotiated July 8 after the company withdrew one of the major impediments to a settlement – its attempt to bar many striking workers from returning to their jobs. The company had recruited replacement workers to operate the Toronto factory during the labour dispute.

The new collective agreement guarantees the rights of all striking employees to return to their jobs. It also includes enhanced retirement and severance provisions for employees who decide not to return to the plant.

“These men and women can return to work with their heads held high. They are going back shoulder-to-shoulder, with their union and their principles intact,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director.

“These workers fought for nearly two years against a foreign multinational’s attempt to eliminate their union and their unionized jobs. They received tremendous support from their community and from many allies. While the Liberal government appointed a commission of inquiry, unfortunately it did not direct binding arbitration.

"Clearly, this strike demonstrates the pressing need for amendments to the Labour Relations Act that would provide for binding arbitration in long and difficult strikes and would impose a ban on the use of replacement workers. We urge the Liberal government to take the necessary steps through the current labour law review process to commit to those reforms," Warren added.

“We wish to thank the Bargaining Committee and USW International Vice-President Fred Redmond who worked tirelessly on the strike. We also thank the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Canadian Labour Congress and the many other unions, community groups and residents who provided tremendous financial and moral support to these working families over the last 22 months,” he said.

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23 July 2015, IndustriALL 22-month USW Strike Ends in Agreement with Crown in Toronto

For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Lawrence Hay, USW Staff Representative, 416-807-8792, lhay@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Support New Lender for U.S. Steel Canada https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-support-new-lender-for-u-s-steel-canada Fri, 17 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-support-new-lender-for-u-s-steel-canada TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) union is supporting a proposal by U.S. Steel Canada to secure a new lender for the company’s operations while it remains under creditor protection.

U.S. Steel Canada has filed a motion in Ontario Superior Court seeking the replacement of its American parent, U.S. Steel Corp., as the debtor-in-possession (DIP) lender for the Canadian operations during the restructuring process.

“We have previously made our concerns known to the court-appointed monitor that U.S. Steel has had too much control over the restructuring process and potential sale of its Canadian operations,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“In principal we support the replacement of U.S. Steel in favour of an alternative, independent DIP lender for U.S. Steel Canada during the restructuring process,” Warren said.

“We believe the sale and restructuring process has been skewed in U.S. Steel’s favour. We will continue to seek a fair and just process to ensure the best possible outcome for the workers, pensioners and communities whose futures are at stake.”

The USW also has been actively seeking greater access to key information related to U.S. Steel Canada’s potential sale and restructuring, including details of proposals by 39 potential bidders for the company’s assets.

U.S. Steel Canada was granted creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) last September.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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After 22 Months on Strike, a Tentative Deal for Crown Holdings Workers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/after-22-months-on-strike-a-tentative-deal-for-crown-holdings-workers Thu, 09 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/after-22-months-on-strike-a-tentative-deal-for-crown-holdings-workers A very long and highly publicized strike at Crown Holdings may soon come to an end, if Crown workers vote to accept a tentative agreement reached late Wednesday night. 

The 120 workers at Crown Holdings Inc.'s Toronto plant have been on strike since September 6, 2013, after voting almost unanimously to reject a two-tiered collective agreement. The strikers are members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9176, and many of them have been working at Crown Holdings for over two decades.

"I commend the members of Steelworkers Local 9176 and their negotiating committee for the incredible solidarity and character they exhibited throughout this prolonged struggle," said United Steelworkers Ontario Director Marty Warren in a press release.

In March, Ontario Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn ordered an industrial inquiry to investigate the dispute. That intervention initiated a mediation process as well as an inquiry which was led by experienced mediator-arbitrator Morton Mitchnik. 

Mitchnick submitted his report to the Ministry of Labour late last month, and according the union, the investigator agreed with the union that Crown Holdings’ illegal behaviour had prolonged the strike.

Complete article on Rabble.ca

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Tentative Deal Reached to End Crown Beer Can Strike https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/tentative-deal-reached-to-end-crown-beer-can-strike Thu, 09 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/tentative-deal-reached-to-end-crown-beer-can-strike TORONTO – The United Steelworkers and Crown Holdings have reached a tentative agreement aimed at ending a 22-month strike at a beer can manufacturing plant in Toronto.

The tentative agreement was reached Wednesday night with the assistance of the Ontario Labour Relations Board. The proposed contract will be presented to striking workers and submitted to a ratification vote during the weekend of July 18-19. Details of the agreement will not be released prior to the ratification vote.

“I commend the members of Steelworkers Local 9176 and their negotiating committee for the incredible solidarity and character they exhibited throughout this prolonged struggle,” said Marty Warren, United Steelworkers Ontario Director.

“I thank the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Canadian Labour Congress and the many other unions, community groups and residents who provided tremendous financial and moral support to these working families over the last 22 months,” Warren said.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, United Steelworkers Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Crown Strikers Support Law Reform, Renew Customer Campaign at Labatt's https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/crown-strikers-support-law-reform-renew-customer-campaign-at-labatts Tue, 07 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/crown-strikers-support-law-reform-renew-customer-campaign-at-labatts TORONTO - United Steelworkers (USW) members embroiled in a 22-month labour dispute with beer can manufacturing giant Crown Holdings are advocating for legislative changes to prevent such prolonged and devastating disputes.

USW members will attend public hearings in London on Wednesday as part of the Ontario government's Changing Workplaces Review. The review has been established to consider positive changes to the province's labour laws.

USW members will advocate for placing restrictions on the use of replacement workers during labour disputes, ending the six-month limit on the right of employees to be reinstated by their employer during a strike, and making binding arbitration available at the request of either party to settle long strikes or lockouts.

Mike Cruttenden, a 30-year Crown employee, will speak on behalf of his 120 fellow members and argue that these reforms are necessary to keep up with the growing power of corporations.

"The situation at Crown is a prime example of how our labour laws are out of step with the realities experienced by working people," says Cruttenden. "We're dealing with a corporate giant with over 140 plants worldwide and huge resources to keep us out on the street. We just want Ontario's lawmakers to rebalance the playing field and prevent the kind of suffering our 120 families are experiencing."

Since provoking the strike in September 2013 with demands for major concessions, Crown hired replacement workers (scabs) to keep producing cans and try to break the strike. Instead of negotiating a fair deal with its long-time employees, the company says it wants to prevent strikers from returning to work, a position the USW maintains is a violation of Ontario's Labour Relations Act.

In the Ontario Legislature on May 25, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn committed to strikers at Crown Holdings that his government would "get to the bottom of this (dispute) and … find a resolution that suits their needs and their desires." USW members continue to hope that the provincial government will order binding arbitration as a means of settling this strike.

At Wednesday's Changing Workplaces Review hearings in London, the union's members will encourage the Review to recommend that the government amend labour laws to provide the arbitration option for future protracted disputes.

At the same time, the union is proceeding with its complaint that Crown is violating provincial law by insisting on denying continued employment to strikers. The first hearing date before Ontario's Labour Relations Board is scheduled for today.

While awaiting the Labour Board's decision, USW members are renewing their call to the public to support them by choosing "Bottles Not Cans." Following Cruttenden's presentation, he and a group of fellow members will demonstrate in front of the large Labatt brewery on Simcoe Street and distribute leaflets urging the public not to use Crown cans. To the USW's knowledge, Labatt and its parent company, AB InBev, have continued to be a significant buyer of Crown cans over the course of the labour dispute. As part of its extensive Bottles Not Cans campaign, the USW is urging the public to avoid Labatt and Budweiser cans until the strike is settled.

For more details, videos and photos, see www.bottlesnotcans.ca.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Tony DePaulo, Assistant to USW District 6 Director, 905-869-0760
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-570-9984, aeshelman@usw.ca
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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Metron Construction Boss Should Be Jailed for Causing Four Deaths https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/metron-construction-boss-should-be-jailed-for-causing-four-deaths Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/metron-construction-boss-should-be-jailed-for-causing-four-deaths TORONTO - The recent conviction of a Metron Construction boss on criminal negligence charges for killing four workers in 2009 should result in a jail sentence, says Marty Warren, Ontario/Atlantic Director of the United Steelworkers (USW).

"This case illustrates exactly why our union has been fighting long and hard to have workplace fatalities and injuries investigated as criminal events," said Warren. "These convictions are too few and far between and the consequences of killing workers has to be more than a fine. Death should not be a cost of doing business. Time in jail is absolutely appropriate in this case."

USW National Director Ken Neumann said the national campaign to enforce the 2004 Westray law, amendments to the Criminal Code, is aimed at ending the continuing carnage in Canada's workplaces.

"We call our campaign 'Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law' because that is exactly what has to happen," said Neumann. "Every year 1,000 workers are killed on the job and too few corporations are held criminally accountable."

Neumann said the USW-led campaign is gaining momentum across the country as municipal councils, police associations, Aboriginal groups and others endorse the goals of the campaign, to ensure that:

Crown attorneys are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments;

Dedicated prosecutors are given the responsibility for health and safety fatalities;

Police are educated, trained and directed to apply the amendments;

There is greater coordination among regulators, police and Crowns so that health and safety regulators are trained to reach out to police when there is a possibility that Westray amendment charges are warranted.

Steve Hunt, the USW's Western Canada Director, said the examples of negligence are growing, with no justice for families of victims.

"Inquiries and inquests are important, but they have not stopped the pain and anguish of families who are faced with the death of loved ones," said Hunt. "There must be more political commitment to enforce the law. It's not rocket science."

"We call on all provinces and territories, through their attorneys-general, to do the right thing and ensure that all workers are protected and all employers are held accountable," added Neumann. "Workers are not disposable."

More details on the campaign to Stop the Killing, including video testimony from families who have lost loved ones, can be found at www.stopthekilling.ca.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada, mwarren@usw.ca, 519-504-9098
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, kneumann@usw.ca, 416-544-5966
Gerry Leblanc, USW Head of Health & Safety, gleblanc@usw.ca, 416-209-2280
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, bgallagher@usw.ca, 416-434-2221

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Cameco, Union Ink Deal https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/cameco-union-ink-deal Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/cameco-union-ink-deal PORT HOPE / COBOURG - A new three-year contract for Cameco fuel manufacturing workers in Cobourg and Port Hope includes both yearly raises and enhanced retirement benefits, says company spokesperson Carey Hyndman.

The first and second years will see a 2.25% increase for 101 members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 14193 and, with a 2.5% increase in the third year, the overall increase is 7%, she said. About 80 of the fuel manufacturing workers are in Port Hope facilities and the balance in Cobourg.

Complete article in Northumberland Today

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Pastway Planing Employees Join Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/pastway-planing-employees-join-steelworkers Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/pastway-planing-employees-join-steelworkers COMBERMERE, ON - Employees of Pastway Planing and Wood Preserving LP in Combermere have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW). The Pastway Planing employees voted 63% in favour of joining the USW, in a June 17 vote supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. There will be 58 members in the new union.

The Pastway Planing mill in Combermere, an eastern Ontario community about 40 minutes southeast of Algonquin Park, produces lumber and treated wood products used in decks, landscaping, fencing, boardwalks and docks.

Pastway Planing is owned by CanWel Building Materials Group, a national wholesale distributor of building materials, home renovation products and hardware. The USW represents thousands of workers in the wood, forestry and related sectors in Canada, including employees at CanWel distribution facilities in Langley, B.C. and Brampton, Ont.

"Pastway has been a successful business for many years and that will continue now that employees have joined the Steelworkers. Our union has good relations with CanWel and we look forward fruitful and mutually beneficial bargaining," said David Lipton, USW Staff Representative.

"I congratulate the employees of Pastway Planing on their decision to give themselves a strong, collective voice in their workplace and to bring greater democracy to their working lives," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

Hundreds of workers in eastern Ontario have voted to join the USW recently, including 250 employees at Alexandria Moulding in Renfrew County and 900 employees of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Limited (formerly AECL) in Chalk River.

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For further information:

David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-859-8403, 613-260-7205, dlipton@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Labour Law Violations Prolonging 21-Month Strike: Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/labour-law-violations-prolonging-21-month-strike-steelworkers Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/labour-law-violations-prolonging-21-month-strike-steelworkers TORONTO – The report of a rare Industrial Inquiry Commission confirms that a 21-month strike at a Toronto beer can factory is being prolonged by the illegal behaviour of U.S.-based multinational Crown Holdings, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

Commissioner Morton Mitchnick, appointed by the Ontario government in March to lead the inquiry and seek a resolution to the protracted dispute between Crown and its Toronto employees, released his final report Wednesday. The report has been submitted to Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn.

“We commend Commissioner Mitchnick’s efforts in trying to settle this dispute and we agree with many of the commissioner’s findings,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“We believe the commissioner’s report supports what we have been saying for a long time. This dispute continues due to Crown’s intransigence, particularly its insistence that many striking employees will not return to work – a position that violates the Ontario Labour Relations Act,” Warren said.

“This American company’s violation of our labour laws is prolonging the misery of 120 working families in our community.”

Crown provoked the strike at its Toronto factory in September 2013 by demanding massive concessions from its employees, members of USW Local 9176. Rather than negotiate a fair settlement over the ensuing 21 months, the company hired replacement workers to operate the plant and try to break the strike.

Prior to provoking the dispute, Crown had recognized its Toronto workers for operating its most productive manufacturing plant in North America.

In his report released Wednesday, Mitchnick acknowledges the USW’s contention that the major impediment to resolving the strike is whether striking workers will return to their jobs once a collective agreement is negotiated.

“Crown has prolonged this impasse and has singled out 34 workers for dismissal,” Warren said.

In his report, Mitchnick agrees with key USW positions on the issue.

“I agree with the union’s submissions that the parties have … gotten to a point where their positions are not far apart – save for the return to work issues,” Mitchnick states.

“The only matter really preventing the parties from moving on to a deal is that of return to work,” he says.

“The Company has not demonstrated real movement … on the return to work protocol, in particular for what has become known as the ‘34’ … but also on the question of strikers versus replacement workers generally.”

Mitchnick also notes that Crown failed to provide “any clear articulation” of its reasons for its position.

The USW has filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and Mitchnick has confirmed there is “a real issue to be tried” regarding the union’s charge that Crown has violated the Labour Relations Act.

The complaint will be heard by the OLRB on July 7.

Mitchnick also suggests in his report that Crown should move toward the USW’s position on other collective bargaining issues.

“The commissioner’s report confirms that a settlement can be achieved quickly if Crown Holdings respects our labour laws, abandons its illegal behaviour and engages in real negotiations,” Warren said.

“The USW is disappointed that the commissioner has concluded that his mandate in this process precludes him from recommending binding arbitration to achieve a settlement,” Warren added.

“Ultimately, the responsibility to mandate binding arbitration rests with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn. However, the Premier and her government have shamefully rejected this solution and turned their backs on the working families who need their support.”

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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‘No More Secret Deals’ for U.S. Steel, Steelworkers Say https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/no-more-secret-deals-for-u-s-steel-steelworkers-say Wed, 17 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/no-more-secret-deals-for-u-s-steel-steelworkers-say TORONTO – A veil of secrecy shrouding the bidding process for U.S. Steel assets in Hamilton and Nanticoke must be lifted immediately to protect the interests of thousands of workers and pensions, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

“There are 39 potential bidders out there, but U.S. Steel doesn’t want anybody to know anything about it,” said Gary Howe, President of USW Local 1005 in Hamilton.

“This isn’t a private transaction just to benefit U.S. Steel. It’s a bankruptcy protection case, a court process that affects thousands. Those who are directly affected – our community, our members and our pensioners – deserve a fair, open and transparent process. It’s their jobs and their pensions that are at risk,” Howe said.

A court monitor overseeing U.S. Steel Canada’s bankruptcy protection case announced earlier this month that multiple parties have expressed interest in purchasing all or part of the company's Canadian assets.

However, to date the USW and other stakeholders directly affected by the restructuring process have not been allowed to meet with, or to even know the identities of bidders who have expressed an interest in the U.S. Steel assets.

The USW is seeking a court order to gain access to the bidders and to related documents, including the letters of intent submitted by the bidders.

The union also is asking the court to prevent U.S. Steel from exercising undue control and gaining an unfair advantage in the sale and restructuring process.

“We’re saying, ‘no more secret deals.’ We want to meet with the bidders and we want to meet with them immediately,” said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782 in Nanticoke.

“We’ve been trying to move things forward, but U.S. Steel still is holding up the process,” Ferguson said.

“We’ve seen where the Investment Canada Act and those secret deals got us – lost jobs, plant shutdowns and broken promises on investment and production,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

“We know there are potential bidders who are looking at U.S. Steel properties and we are hearing concerns that some of these bidders are very frustrated with the process and they might just walk away,” Warren said.

U.S. Steel Canada wants to wait until it has received and assessed final offers for its Canadian assets before providing any bid-related information to the USW and other stakeholders such as non-union workers and pensioners and the provincial government.

By then, “it will be too late for effective and meaningful input” from key stakeholders, the USW says in a letter filed with the chief restructuring officer in the bankruptcy protection case.

“It is inconceivable that the SARP (Sale and Restructuring Process) would prohibit timely discussion about such issues with those very stakeholders,” the letter states.

If the company will not allow meaningful involvement by the USW, the union will ask Superior Court Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel to impose a “stakeholder consultation protocol” to protect the key stakeholders’ interests.

The proposed protocol would require U.S. Steel “to provide complete, unredacted copies of the letters of interest” recently submitted by potential bidders.

The protocol also would allow discussions between stakeholders and potential bidders, ensure stakeholders receive regular updates on the SARP and provide the stakeholders with complete, unredacted copies of bids submitted by potential buyers in the second phase of the SARP.

The USW also is proposing to seek a court order requiring the monitor to seek alternatives to U.S. Steel as the debtor-in-possession (DIP) lender for the company’s Canadian operations during the restructuring process.

U.S. Steel’s position as the DIP lender “skews the sales process in its favour” and “is no longer tenable,” the union’s letter states.

The court-appointed monitor in the bankruptcy protection case should “immediately canvass the market for an alternate DIP loan,” including canvassing parties that have submitted letters of interest as potential bidders for U.S. Steel Canada’s assets.

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For further information:

Gary Howe, President, USW Local 1005, 905-531-4078, gary.howe@uswa1005.ca
Bill Ferguson, President, USW Local 8782, 905-537-8782, president@uswa8782.com
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Negotiate New Contract with Novelis https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-negotiate-new-contract-with-novelis Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-negotiate-new-contract-with-novelis

KINGSTON, Ont. - United Steelworkers (USW) members employed at the Novelis aluminum manufacturing plant in Kingston have ratified a three-year collective agreement with the company.

Members of USW Local 343 voted 77% in favour of the new contract, which provides annual pay increases of three per cent.

"Our members believe this is a fair deal that recognizes their skills and the value of the work they do every day to contribute to the company's success," said USW Local 343 President Tracy Simpson.

The Novelis plant produces high-end rolled aluminum for the automotive industry as well as specialty and industrial products for marine, transportation and other industrial applications. Approximately 140 USW members work at the facility.

In addition to three-per-cent annual pay hikes, the new collective agreement provides an extra 50 cents an hour for mill operators in the contract's first year, as well as language and benefits improvements, including new orthodontics coverage of $1,000.

"Through free and fair collective bargaining with their employer, these workers have negotiated an agreement that maintains decent jobs that will continue to benefit their families, their community and the local economy," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

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For further information:

Tracy Simpson, USW Local 343 President, 613-888-4355 (c), 613-546-4364 (w), usw343.ts@gmail.com
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Embattled Steelworkers' Union Rally Against Layoffs in Lab West https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/embattled-steelworkers-union-rally-against-layoffs-in-lab-west Tue, 26 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/embattled-steelworkers-union-rally-against-layoffs-in-lab-west Some 150 workers facing layoffs next month

CBC News

Hundreds of people showed their support at a steelworkers' union rally in Labrador City on Monday evening.

In early April, the Iron ore Company of Canada announced that 150 workers would be laid off in June, causing anxiety for an already economically troubled Labrador West.

On Monday evening, the union hall for Local 5795 of the United Steelworkers was bustling with hundreds who carried signs that read things such as "Stand With Lab West,"  "Stop the Union Busting" and "Solidarity is a Weapon."

Union members march with USW flags at a rally in Labrador City on Monday. (John Gaudi/CBC)

Haul truck driver Chris Hill, from St. John's, is still dealing with news that both he and his wife will be losing their jobs.

Add to that a young daughter and a $300,000 mortgage on a home in Labrador West, and the situation can be a source of anxiety.

He thinks the company is not tuned in to the plight of those being laid off.

"These guys are coming here, they're taking our ore out and they're contracting out jobs to other provinces while good hard working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are losing their jobs," he said.

"That's just not right."

Despite the doom and gloom, Hill did feel the turnout at Monday's rally was very encouraging.  

"I see a lot of old retired steelworkers here. I see a lot of workers at local businesses here. I see a lot of workers," he said. "The guys who are not being affected by it show up here. It gives us a bit of a boost, to keep this fight going."

Complete article on CBC.ca

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United Steelworkers Union Certified at Entec https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/united-steelworkers-union-certified-at-entec Mon, 25 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/united-steelworkers-union-certified-at-entec SAINT JOHN, N.B. - The United Steelworkers (USW) has successfully unionized the workers at Entec Inc. in Saint John. The New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board has now certified the 71 workers who make natural gas boilers in the Saint John location.

Following the issuing of an interim relief order, the Labour and Employment Board has certified the Steelworkers as the union representing the workers.

"These workers worked hard to make sure they got the protection of a union. They should be congratulated for their effort and determination to win the right to bargain collectively," said Lawrence McKay, United Steelworkers Area Coordinator.

"The workers at Entec deserve a voice in the workplace, a safe environment and fair compensation. Now they will have the ability to speak collectively and bargain a fair deal," said Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director.

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For further information:

Lawrence E McKay, USW Area Coordinator, lmckay@usw.ca, 506-232-8472
Marty Warren, USW District Director, mwarren@usw.ca, 416-243-8792

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USW 9176 Members at Crown Holdings - Struggle Reaches 20 Months https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-9176-members-at-crown-holdings-struggle-reaches-20-months Thu, 21 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-9176-members-at-crown-holdings-struggle-reaches-20-months Our members at Crown Holdings have now been on strike for over 20 months. While the Ontario government has taken the rare step of ordering an industrial inquiry, it may not be enough to finally resolve this dispute. The Toronto and York Region Labour Council has started a new LabourStart petition reaching out directly to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to ask them to be prepared to order binding arbitration in the event that the industrial inquiry doesn’t resolve the strike.
 
The petition already has over 1,400 supporters since it was officially launched though LabourStart yesterday. Let’s make sure there are lots of Steelworkers on the list of supporters! I am urging everyone to go to the link below to send an email letter to Premier Wynne and Minister Flynn and to post the link on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Any help in getting this out throughout Canada will be deeply appreciated.

Take Action! Sign the LabourStart Petition

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
District 6 Director

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Queen's University Employees Join Forces to Protect Pensions https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/queens-university-employees-join-forces-to-protect-pensions Wed, 20 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/queens-university-employees-join-forces-to-protect-pensions KINGSTON, Ont. - Unions representing more than 7,000 Queen's University employees and pensioners are joining forces to seek an agreement with the university to ensure improved pension protection and long-term sustainability for their members.

A pension co-operation agreement was signed today by representatives of the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA), United Steelworkers (USW), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

"We recognize that pension funding and long-term sustainability are major issues confronting our members and the university," the labour groups said in a joint statement. "The provincial government is pushing universities to join a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP)." (A JSPP is a defined benefit plan in which employers and members share responsibility for plan governance and funding).

"This co-operation agreement reflects our intention to work together on pension issues and to present a united front to the university in order to negotiate the best possible long-term solution to enhance retirement security for our members."

The four labour groups represent more than 7,150 pension plan members at Queen's, including more than 3,700 active employees. The pension plan currently has about $1.5 billion in assets.

The co-operation agreement will see the labour groups examine options for addressing pension funding and solvency issues. Options could include solidifying the existing pension plan or joining a new, sector-specific, multi-employer JSPP.

"Our goal is to pursue proactive approaches to ensure long-term retirement protection and the viability of our members' pension plan," the groups said.

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For further information:

Alex D. McKinnon, USW Research Director, 416-544-5981, amckinnon@usw.ca
Grant Amyot, QUFA, 613-533-6234, amyotg@queensu.ca
Donna Carlaw, CUPE, 613-542-2069, Ext, 223, dcarlaw@cupe.ca
Cheri Hearty, OPSEU, chearty@opseu.org

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Crown Workers, on Strike 21 Months, Still Hold Hope for a Fair Deal https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/crown-workers-on-strike-21-months-still-hold-hope-for-a-fair-deal Mon, 18 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/crown-workers-on-strike-21-months-still-hold-hope-for-a-fair-deal By Rosie DiManno, The Toronto Star

There’s little need right now for the old wood-burning stove in the shed’s corner. Or the split logs and kindling boards stacked up outside.

But who knows? The time may come again. Another bitterly cold winter on the picket line, in a strike that has gone largely unnoticed by the public for 21 months — except when a couple of men, dressed for the brutal elements in their layer-upon-layer of tramping clothes, joined the search for missing toddler Elijah Marsh in February and discovered the frozen boy behind an unsuspecting family’s house.

Seven seasons have turned since 118 workers at the Crown Holdings can factory in North York walked out, on Sept. 6, 2013. Since that date, only two employees have crossed the line and returned to their jobs, though a dozen others have taken retirement.

They have remained resolute in the cause, if, from the perspective of United Steelworkers Local 9176, exceedingly compromising in negotiations, with the company demanding steep wage cuts.

“We conceded wages,” says Wayne Harrison, grievance committee chair, who’s worked at the plant since 1985. “We agreed to their wage scale.” (In fact there’s no agreement, though the union has made wage counter-proposals.) “But they want to freeze the current pension and we don’t agree with that. They want to go to a contributory pension in the future, eliminate the defined benefit plan.”

It has been an ordeal, sticking to their guns, even when largely holstering them, living on $335 a week strike pay. Some have required financial assistance from the USW for mortgage payments to keep their homes. Offspring have put off university and taken interim jobs to help their families cope. Others are working one or two jobs while continuing to put in their picket duty.

“People’s teeth are rotting out of their heads,” says Mike Cruttenden, because dental treatment means paying upfront and submitting claims afterwards. “People are going without prescriptions because they don’t have a drug card. (The company) stopped benefits 15 days after we struck.”

And for what? Amid boycotts — the public urged to buy bottles, not cans — the multinational Philadelphia-based company reached a labour agreement with workers at one of their plants, in Wyoming, in April, granting a decent contract that includes at least some of the demands that are being denied in Toronto.

Now, most worrisomely, strike leaders here have learned that their names are on a “hit-list” — mostly outside crew — that the company will not allow back, when and if this dispute is resolved.

Complete article in The Toronto Star

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For Toronto Can Factory Workers, a Tellingly Long Strike https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/for-toronto-can-factory-workers-a-tellingly-long-strike Wed, 13 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/for-toronto-can-factory-workers-a-tellingly-long-strike Drawn-out dispute a worrisome example of what's next for Canadian workers.

Imagine you've worked hard for the same employer for nearly 30 years, and seen your factory colleagues honoured as top producers.

Now imagine that your employer wants to freeze your pension, cut cost of living allowances, and bring in a divisive two-tiered wage system.

Then imagine that when you go on strike to stop it, your employer brings in replacement workers to do your work.

Welcome to Cheryle Dollimore's world.

Dollimore is one of 120 employees at a Toronto beer can plant embroiled in a long strike against their employer, Crown Holdings Inc. On strike since September 2013, Dollimore and her colleagues, members of United Steelworkers Local 9176, rejected proposed changes to their collective agreement, including the introduction of a two-tiered wage system and a salary and pension freeze. (The company later changed its wage proposal to a 30 per cent across the board wage cut.)

Dollimore, who'd worked for the company 27 years when the strike began, said that she and fellow strikers were barely scraping by while replacement workers did their jobs and Crown Holdings profits continued to soar. The U.S.-based packaging giant, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of beer and soft drink cans, posted net sales of over US$9 billion and a gross profit of over $1.3 billion in 2014. CEO John W. Conway was paid US$9.6 million last year.

"The worst day was when the replacement workers started to cross our lines," Dollimore said. "If the company gets away with doing this to us, they'll come after other unionized workers next."

Complete article in The Tyee

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Given 8, Stobie Jury Returns 24 Ways to Make Mines Safer https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/given-8-stobie-jury-returns-24-ways-to-make-mines-safer Thu, 07 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/given-8-stobie-jury-returns-24-ways-to-make-mines-safer

Families, union, company praise jury for recommendations to improve safety underground

The families hugged, smiled and shed a tear as the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier came to an end today with recommendations from the four-person jury today.

The jury was given eight recommendations to look over last week, and they came back with 24 in total on the final day of the coroner’s inquest.

“We’re very happy with the outcome,” said Briana Fram, Jordan's sister. “We feel that everything was covered and were are very proud with the work that jury did, along with our stand-in’s, Vale and the Ministry of Labour.”

Fram spoke on behalf of her family. She said she believes her brother would be happy with the outcome, too.

“I think my brother would be very proud at the work that we’ve done, and you saw how much he was loved within that inquest. I think people will take these to heart, and work towards making everything safe for everyone.”

Chenier and Fram died on June 8, 2011 after an uncontrolled run of muck overcame the two at Vale’s Stobie Mine.
After years of fighting for an inquest and finally securing one, Fram said the family is relieved that the process has come to an end.

“The inquest process was very difficult, to relive those moments, and to hear his last minutes, we were never able to hear what he did in his last few minutes,” she said. “So we were relieved to hear some of the wonderful stories that his co-workers shared with him.

“It is a very overwhelming feeling, it feels like the doors are now closed. Everything is over, we can now move on and grieve as a family once again,” Fram added.

But, she said, this won’t be the end of the process for the Fram or Chenier families.

“We hope that (the recommendations) are implemented and that other mines in Ontario and throughout Canada read these recommendations and implement some of them themselves.”

Sixteen of the recommendations were directed to the Ministry of Labour, one to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and one to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Five recommendations were specifically aimed at Vale.

“Some of the recommendations that were presented today are new to us, so we’re going to have to go back and consider those very carefully,” said Angie Robson, Vale’s Manager of Corporate Affairs, Ontario Operations. “But we are certainly committed to doing what we can to prevent an incident from happening again.”

The 24th and final recommendation was an endorsement of 42 recommendations that were indentified by the Vale and USW mining review as outlined in the Stobie Fatality Recommendations.

The family, the Steelworkers Union and Vale had high praise for the four-person jury, who could have stayed pat and accepted the eight original recommendations, but instead agreed with the eight and tacked on 15 more.

Complete article in NortherLife.ca

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Sudbury Union, NDP to Fight for Widows, Benefits https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/sudbury-union-ndp-to-fight-for-widows-benefits Thu, 07 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/sudbury-union-ndp-to-fight-for-widows-benefits By Carol Mulligan, The Sudbury Star

Members of United Steelworkers Local 6500 will join an Oshawa MPP at Queen's Park today when she introduces a private member's bill that would have an impact on workers and their families in Ontario.

Oshawa New Democrat MPP Jennifer French will hold a news conference to outline details of her bill, the Protecting Victims of Occupational Disease Act, which will be introduced later in the day.

Complete article in The Sudbury Star

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Steelworkers Reach Three-Year Deal with Haley Industries https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-reach-three-year-deal-with-haley-industries Tue, 05 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-reach-three-year-deal-with-haley-industries RENFREW COUNTY - United Steelworkers (USW) members in Renfrew County have ratified a three-year collective agreement with Haley Industries Ltd., one of the region's major employers.

"We succeeded in negotiating a fair settlement through frank and honest discussions throughout the bargaining process," said USW Local 4820 President Mike Byers. "We hope this sets the stage for an improved relationship between the company and the unionized employees in the future."

The new contract covers approximately 370 members of USW Local 4820, who work as production, maintenance, office and clerical employees at Haley Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Magellan Aerospace. Haley Industries manufactures magnesium and aluminum castings for the aerospace industry, including engine castings for passenger and military aircraft.

"We've reached a good agreement that achieves progress on most of the collective bargaining goals of our membership," said USW Staff Representative David Lipton.

The contract will provide wage increases totaling 4.6 per cent over the term of the agreement. Employer contributions to the employees' pension plan will increase by 7.5 per cent.

The agreement also features improvements in shift premiums, bereavement leave and long-term disability coverage. Other gains include improved contract language regarding seniority, technological change and overtime.

"This agreement, negotiated between workers and an important employer in their community, will benefit the entire local economy," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"This agreement shows that manufacturing can thrive in Ontario and that free and fair collective bargaining is key to our economic success," Warren said. "It demonstrates that a low-wage, no-benefits economic strategy is not the right direction for our future."

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-260-7205, ext. 232, dlipton@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Ratify Five-Year Deal with Vale https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-ratify-five-year-deal-with-vale Fri, 01 May 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-ratify-five-year-deal-with-vale SUDBURY, PORT COLBORNE, Ont. - United Steelworkers members in Sudbury and Port Colborne have approved a five-year collective agreement with mining giant Vale.

The new contract has been ratified by 76.7% of USW Local 6500 members in Sudbury and 87% of USW Local 6200 members in Port Colborne. Turnout was high for the ratification votes, with 89 per cent of Local 6500 members voting and 91 per cent of Local 6200 members voting.

Ratification votes were held over the last two days, after a tentative agreement was reached earlier this week by USW and Vale negotiators.

"This agreement is a tremendous achievement for our members and will benefit our families, our pensioners and our community for several years to come," said Rick Bertrand, USW Local 6500 President, representing 2,700 workers in Sudbury.

"We have negotiated an agreement that provides long-term security and that addresses our members' key priorities, including wages, pensions, benefits and contract language, said Sean Sparkes, USW Local 6200 President, representing 115 workers in Port Colborne.

The new collective agreement was reached one month prior to the expiry of the existing contract, which expires on May 31.

"We successfully engaged in a new approach to bargaining with the company, focused on negotiations at the local level," said Myles Sullivan, USW Northeastern Ontario Area Coordinator, the union's lead negotiator.

"We succeeded in reaching a settlement earlier in the process than has ever been accomplished in more than five decades of bargaining history," Sullivan said.

The existing contract that expires May 31 was reached in 2010 following a yearlong strike provoked by Vale's demands for unprecedented concessions.

The new five-year contract, which runs until 2020, includes significant improvements in numerous areas.

"This agreement reflects the positive outcome that can be achieved when all parties demonstrate goodwill in the collective bargaining process," said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

"I congratulate the Steelworkers in Sudbury and Port Colborne for the commitment and solidarity they have shown in achieving an historic agreement that will provide long-term benefits to their communities," Warren said.

Wages will increase across the board in each year of the new agreement. Cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments will be added to the wage increases each year. Based on projected inflation of two per cent annually, COLA is expected to generate additional wage increases of 44 cents per hour annually, or $ 2.20 per hour over the life of the agreement.

Each union member also receives a $4,500 signing bonus.

The new contract calls for substantial increases in contributions to employees' pension plans. By the end of the collective agreement, the basic pension for a 30-year employee will be $3,750 per month.

Benefit improvements will see increases in vision care coverage and increased payments for sickness and accident coverage.

The agreement also features significant improvements to contract language, including enhanced provisions affecting the grievance procedure, seniority recognition, contracting out and job postings.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Myles Sullivan, USW Northeastern Ontario Area Coordinator, 416-770-8878, msullivan@usw.ca
Rick Bertrand, USW Local 6500 President, 705-521-3412, rbertrand@uswsudbury.ca
Sean Sparkes, USW Local 6200 President, 289-228-6833, ssparkes2@cogeco.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

Related Articles

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Steelworkers, Mexican Miners Protest at Crown Holdings Shareholders’ Meeting in Mexico https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-mexican-miners-protest-at-crown-holdings-shareholders-meeting-in-mexico Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-mexican-miners-protest-at-crown-holdings-shareholders-meeting-in-mexico MONTERREY - United Steelworkers (USW) members from Canada joined 32 members of Los Mineros, the National Miners' and Metalworkers' Union of Mexico, to confront Crown Holdings directors at the corporation's annual shareholder meeting Thursday.

Crown's shareholders' meeting strangely took place at its recently acquired can manufacturing plant in Monterrey, after being held for over a decade at the company's Philadelphia headquarters. 

Los Mineros draped a large banner in front of the plant's main entrance, stating: "Crown Holdings - Stop Your Union Busting in Canada." The banner refers to a 19-month strike provoked by Crown at its metal can manufacturing plant in Toronto, where workers are represented by the USW.

Los Mineros members drove four hours from Zacatecas in the wee hours of the morning to start picketing and leafleting at 7:30 a.m. with Steelworkers. The two unions distributed over 100 leaflets to Mexican workers entering the plant.

"The Steelworkers have the unconditional support of Los Mineros," said Daniel Cossio, a member of National Executive Committee of Los Mineros. If not stopped, Crown will do the same things to Mexican workers as it has done to Canadian workers, he said.

Inside at the shareholders meeting, USW member Lodrick Joseph, a 29-year Crown employee from Toronto, asked CEO John Conway why Crown would spend as much as $33 million in a futile attempt to break the union in Toronto. Negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement to end the strike would cost a fraction of that, Joseph pointed out.

Although Conway did not answer the question, he did not refute the estimate of the strike's cost.

Rob DePippo, a 38-year Crown worker, asked why the company would attack its highly awarded Toronto employees and force a strike when USW members were only asking to keep what they had. 

DePippo pointed out that it had been over a decade since Crown's Toronto workers had received a raise other than meagre cost-of-living increases. He said the strike was endangering Crown's customer base in Canada and incurring major expenses by having to ship cans from other plants in the U.S.

Joe Drexler, USW Head of Strategic Campaigns in Canada, pointed out that Crown had not moved away from its union busting demands despite major intervention by the Ontario government. He challenged the company to agree to binding arbitration for a new collective agreement in the interest of shareholders, the company and its workers.

Conway did not comment and closed the meeting.

Crown's board of directors was quickly escorted out of the room into waiting vehicles. The meeting lasted approximately 20 minutes and there was no report about the company's performance. There were approximately only 40 people in attendance.

The USW accused the company of moving the meeting to Mexico to avoid a larger rally and presence in Philadelphia, where the city council recently passed a resolution condemning Crown's practices in Toronto.

The rally and leafleting at the plant gate was covered by four different news outlets in Monterrey.

BottlesNotCans.ca

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For further information:

Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Ask Court to Open Secret Deal Between Feds and U.S. Steel https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-ask-court-to-open-secret-deal-between-feds-and-u-s-steel Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-ask-court-to-open-secret-deal-between-feds-and-u-s-steel TORONTO - The United Steelworkers (USW), representing thousands of employees and pensioners, is today asking Ontario Superior Court to open a secret deal between the federal government and U.S. Steel Canada.

The secret deal was struck in 2011 when the Conservative government dropped its legal challenge of U.S. Steel's broken commitments on production and employment levels at the former Stelco operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke.

It is crucial that terms of the secret deal are provided to key parties affected by U.S. Steel Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act court case, the USW will argue in Superior Court today.

The Steelworkers union and the City of Hamilton have filed a joint motion in Superior Court, asking Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel to open the secret deal.

The union and the city "require disclosure of the settlement agreement at this time to be able to participate meaningfully and effectively in the negotiations and discussions that are currently underway," the motion states.

"They need to be able to review and understand the obligations of USS under the settlement agreement to ensure that all rights and obligations owed by the parties and in particular, by USS, have been or will be fulfilled. They also need to understand how the settlement agreement will be considered in the restructuring negotiations and how USS intends to address its obligations under the settlement agreement in a plan of compromise. USS's obligations could also affect damages claims."

It is offensive that the federal government has decided to argue in court against the release of the secret agreement, said Bill Ferguson, President of USW Local 8782, representing employees at U.S. Steel's Nanticoke operations.

"We need to know how the terms of this secret deal could affect this CCAA case and how it could affect the lives of our workers, our pensioners and our communities," said Ferguson.

"To see this government trying to keep this information hidden from us just confirms that it is squarely on the side of U.S. Steel and has absolutely no interest in supporting the workers, pensioners and families who risk losing so much."

"Our members and our community don't trust U.S. Steel or this government to do what's best for workers and pensioners," said Gary Howe, incoming President of USW Local 1005, representing employees at U.S. Steel's Hamilton operations.

"It is clear that we deserve compensation, which at the very least is a fully funded pension plan, post-employment benefits and guaranteed jobs in Hamilton," Howe said. "Our retirees deserve to live in dignity and not have to worry that what they earned will be swindled from them. The best way to ensure that is to start making steel again at our Hamilton plant."

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For further information:

Bill Ferguson, President, USW Local 8782, 905-537-8782, president@uswa8782.com
Gary Howe, incoming President, USW Local 1005, 905-531-4078, gary.howe@uswa1005.ca
Ken Rosenberg, Counsel to USW, 416-646-4304, ken.rosenberg@paliareroland.com
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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Ottawa Moves to Block Release of U.S. Steel Settlement Deal https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/ottawa-moves-to-block-release-of-u-s-steel-settlement-deal Fri, 17 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/ottawa-moves-to-block-release-of-u-s-steel-settlement-deal By Steve Arnold

The Harper government is moving to keep the lid on the terms of its secret deal to drop a lawsuit against U.S. Steel.

Acting for Industry Canada, the federal attorney general has filed legal documents opposing a motion by the city, the United Steelworkers and retirees seeking release of the full text of the 2011 deal.

The federal document says nothing about why the government wants to keep terms of the deal from the public. One potential issue may be a government desire to avoid a precedent that would allow the courts to order the release of information private companies want to keep private.

"It would be against the law for us to release this information without the agreement of the company," said Industry Canada spokesperson Jake Enwright. "On our own the government cannot make these commitments public.

"U.S. Steel Canada is a private company that can release this information at any time it wants," he added.

Complete article in The Hamilton Spectator

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USW, City Call for Release of 'Secret' U.S. Steel Deal https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-city-call-for-release-of-secret-u-s-steel-deal Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-city-call-for-release-of-secret-u-s-steel-deal The city is joining U.S. Steel Canada workers and retirees to demand the release of the secret agreement that ended a lawsuit over the company's broken employment and production promises.

In a motion to be heard in Superior Court on Monday, the group argues they have a stake in USSC's restructuring but are handicapped without information about all the company's promises and obligations.

At the same time, the union, a retired couple and the provincial government have filed objections to U.S. Steel's claim it is owed more than $2.2 billion by its Canadian arm.

"It is very important to USW and our members that we be fully involved in the (restructuring) process. We are the largest arm's-length creditor in the proceeding," said Tony DePaulo, assistant to the union's Ontario-Atlantic director in an affidavit.

"Millions of dollars of Canadian public funds are at stake in this insolvency proceeding. USW members, as taxpayers and members of the public, have an interest in an open and transparent court process, which includes having access to relevant documents, including the Settlement Agreement."

U.S. Steel was granted federal approval to buy Stelco in 2007 with a package of 31 promises. Those included employing an average of 3,105 workers and producing 14 million tons of steel in three years.

Complete article in Hamilton Spectator

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Steelworkers Call for Timely, Enforceable Health and Safety Improvements https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-call-for-timely-enforceable-health-and-safety-improvements Wed, 15 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/steelworkers-call-for-timely-enforceable-health-and-safety-improvements TORONTO, – United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario Director Marty Warren today welcomed the release of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group's report aimed at improving safety in the province's mining industry.

The advisory group, created in December 2013 by the Ontario government, issued a final report including 18 recommendations to improve workplace health and safety. The report, culminating a 16-month review of mine safety in the province, must now be followed by meaningful and timely improvements to protect workers, Warren said.

"Our members, their families and communities rightfully expect swift implementation of the recommendations of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group," he said.

"These recommendations must lead to meaningful change. That means health and safety improvements that will be enforceable in order to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths."

The mine safety review was launched following months of advocacy and lobbying by the USW and members of a community-based committee including families of miners killed at work.

The safety review's terms of reference reflected serious issues identified by the Steelworkers and other advocates following several preventable deaths in the mining industry, including the June 2011 deaths of Sudbury miners Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier and the 2007 death of Timmins miner Lyle Dufoe.

"On behalf of the USW I would like to thank the numerous workers, family members, health and safety advocates and others who provided input into the mine safety review, as well as the advisory group members who completed the report," Warren said.

"Now Ontario's miners and their families expect and deserve to see swift, meaningful action that will tangibly improve health and safety in this industry," he said.

"Improving health and safety in the mining industry must also include continued efforts to prevent occupational diseases," said Sylvia Boyce, USW Health and Safety Coordinator. "We want to work with the Ministry of Labour and employers to better protect workers from exposure to hazards that cause debilitating and deadly illnesses."

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April 28th, the National Day of Mourning https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/april-28th-the-national-day-of-mourning Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/april-28th-the-national-day-of-mourning April 2015

Re: April 28th, the National day of Mourning


Dear Sisters and Brothers,

April 28th is the National Day of Mourning, observed across Canada and many other countries.
It is the day we remember and honour those who have lost their lives, and those who have been injured and made ill as a result of occupational hazards and diseases. At the same time, we renew our commitment to improving health & safety in the workplace and refocus our energies to prevent further deaths, injuries and diseases at work.
Sadly, the numbers remain staggering. In 2013, 902 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada. This means more than 2.5 deaths every single day.

In the 20-year period from 1993 to 2013, 18,941 people were killed because of unsafe workplaces and work practices (an average of 947 deaths per year). Every death is an absolute failure, like that of our brother, Paul Rochette, who was killed one year ago at the Copper Cliff nickel Smelter in Sudbury, ON. Fines are not enough.
The statistics are incomplete and are just those that are acknowledged and accepted by workers’ compensation boards. They do not include the many workers who are not covered by workers compensation, or those whose claims have been denied, or the incidents that have not even been reported.

Whatever the numbers show, every statistic is unacceptable -- because we know that most deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable.

Compared with many other countries, Canada remains a dangerous place for working people. That is why:
Our union will never stop demanding improvements to health and safety regulations and laws, to prevent and reduce injuries and fatalities.
We must ensure that workers receive quality training and have meaningful worker participation in joint health and safety committees.

Marty Warren
USW Director District 6

 

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S&T Industrial Inc. Employees in Sault Ste. Marie Join Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/st-industrial-inc-employees-in-sault-ste-marie-join-steelworkers Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/st-industrial-inc-employees-in-sault-ste-marie-join-steelworkers SAULT STE. MARIE, – Employees of S&T Industrial Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie have joined the United Steelworkers (USW).

In a vote certified by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, more than 90 per cent of employees casting ballots voted to join the USW. The new bargaining unit covers more than 100 S&T employees, who work primarily on maintenance contracts at Essar Steel Algoma operations.

The workers will become members of the amalgamated USW Local 8748.

"We welcome these workers to our union and congratulate them on their democratic decision to join the USW to give them a real voice in their workplace," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"Our union will provide all the support and resources these new members need to defend their rights and to negotiate a fair collective agreement with their employer," Warren said.

The workers sought to join the USW to help address concerns over issues including seniority rights, wages and hours of work," said Jack Ostroski, Steelworkers Area Coordinator.

"We've scheduled a membership meeting for April 9 to get started on electing a negotiating committee and conducting a bargaining survey among the members," Ostroski said. "Our priority is to get a collective agreement that is good for the workers and good for the employer."

The workers received significant help in their organizing campaign from retired Steelworker Merle Evans, a former Essar Algoma employee and a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR), Ostroski noted.

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For further information:
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Jack Ostroski, USW Area Coordinator, 705-759-4945, 705-941-1224, jostroski@usw.ca

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Sudbury Smelter Charges No Surprise - Union https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/sudbury-smelter-charges-no-surprise-union Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/sudbury-smelter-charges-no-surprise-union By Carol Mulligan, The Sudbury Star

A committee of representatives from Vale Ltd. and United Steelworkers Local 6500 is working to ensure the 58 recommendations from a joint investigation into the death last year of a millwright are implemented and that history doesn't repeat.

Mike Bond, chair of health and safety for USW Local 6500, said some progress has been made to resolve issues at the Copper Cliff Smelter Complex, where Paul Rochette, 36, was killed April 6, 2014, while working on an ore crusher.

Monday, the Ministry of Labour announced it had laid 17 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to Rochette's death.

Nine were laid against Vale Canada Ltd. and eight were laid against two supervisors, and a third supervisor who was classified as a worker at the time.

The charges against Vale relate to ensuring work was done properly, that workers were educated and trained, and that safeguards were put in place to keep pieces of machines in place.

Complete article in the Sudbury Star

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United Steelworkers-Alexandria Mouldings Agreement Benefits Community https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/united-steelworkers-alexandria-mouldings-agreement-benefits-community Fri, 13 Mar 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/united-steelworkers-alexandria-mouldings-agreement-benefits-community ALEXANDRIA, Ont. - The United Steelworkers (USW) and Alexandria Mouldings have reached a new collective agreement that strengthens the manufacturing base and economic outlook in this eastern Ontario community.

USW members ratified a three-year contract on Thursday covering 253 production and maintenance employees at three local Alexandria Mouldings plants.

"Our union is optimistic about the future of manufacturing in Ontario and agreements like this one demonstrate collective bargaining is a key to our province's economic success," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"This agreement shows manufacturing can thrive when employees are treated well and paid fairly and we believe other employers should take note. The low-wage, no-benefits path is not the right direction for Ontario's future," Warren said.

Alexandria Mouldings is Canada's largest manufacturer of high-quality wood and composite mouldings for the home building and renovation markets.  Based in Alexandria, with additional operations in the U.S., the company serves customers across North America.

The company's employees in Alexandria were members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) but were dissatisfied with that organization. They voted overwhelmingly last year to leave CLAC and join the USW, which represents thousands of workers in wood products and related sectors.

"We're pleased with the assistance we received from the USW in these negotiations to help us achieve a fair contract," said Gary Menard, chief union steward for the Alexandria workers. "Now we have the USW's expertise and resources behind us to be more effective in representing our members."

The new collective agreement provides numerous improvements to benefits and terms and conditions of work, including health and safety, seniority rights, vacations, disability benefits and drug, dental and vision care coverage.

The contract includes across-the-board wage increases of five per cent over three years and additional increases for some job classifications and for weekend shifts.

"This agreement recognizes the workers' contribution to the company's success and provides solid improvements that will help them and their families," said USW negotiator David Lipton.

"It provides a solid footing to keep good manufacturing jobs here in Alexandria, for the benefit of the community."

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-260-7205, ext. 232, dlipton@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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USW District 6 Conference - August 17 - 20 2015, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-august-17-20-2015-sault-ste-marie-ont Fri, 13 Mar 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/usw-district-6-conference-august-17-20-2015-sault-ste-marie-ont The United Steelworkers District 6 will be holding their conference on August 17 - 20, 2015, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Welcome to District 6 USW 2015 Conference page.Please click on the conference website link below to register.  The conference will be held from August 17 - 20, 2015 at the Comfort Inn and Suites and Quattro Conference Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Please review all of the information on this page.  The original call letter and District 6 Conference Information sheet is accessible below.

Register online here

 

District 6 2015 Full Conference Package

District 6 2015 Conference Call Letter

Conference Registration Form

Please complete one form for each delegate.  Registering for the conference does not book you hotel stay or travel arrangements. Please see Hotel/Travel information below.

The conference registration fee is $300.00, This payment must be post marked no later than June 1, 2015. Please make cheques payable to United Steelworkers District 6.

Hotel and Travel information

Outstanding Service Awards - Unsung Heroes

Every local union has individuals, within its rank and file membership, who make significant contributions to our union and labour movement without fanfare or comment. These brothers and sisters lead by example in many areas: leadership, organizing, volunteerism, political action, service to our membership, and/or community service among others.

These rank and file heroes go largely unnoticed and, too often, do not get thanks or any formal recognition for the important role they play in the growth and health of our union, and the labour movement as a whole.  District 6 does acknowledge these "unsung heroes" with our Outstanding Service Awards. We are seeking nominations of activists within your local union who have shown that special dedication and commitment and should be honoured by our Union.

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Steelworkers Celebrate International Women's Day https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-celebrate-international-womens-day Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-celebrate-international-womens-day Statement by Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director

TORONTO – Unions need women and women need unions. The United Steelworkers celebrates International Women's Day by honouring women's achievements and continuing our fight for change.

"In honour of International Women's Day, I'm proud to recognize women's achievements in the struggle for equality in Canada," said Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada).

Unions are already a big equalizer for women in the workplace. Unions help negotiate better wages and working conditions and narrow the wage gap that still persists between women and men. Women in unions make 84% of their male counterparts, compared to only 70.6% in non-union workplaces.

"We know we have a lot more to do to achieve fairness and equality for women and to end violence against women," said Warren.

"We're proud of Women of Steel, an initiative in our union that empowers women, brings women together, builds leadership and tackles women's issues in our workplaces and in our union," said Warren. "Through Women of Steel, the USW is working to end violence against women."

Steelworkers are active on a number of women's issues and campaigns including:

  • Joining the call for an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls
  • Participating in the first-ever academic survey researching workers' experiences of domestic violence in the workplace
  • Organizing for our USW National Women of Steel Conference in Vancouver in November
  • Participating in the Rethink Child Care campaign
  • Taking part in #notokay, a campaign to stand up and call out actions in our culture, online and in our workplaces that belittle, sexualize or attack women

Each year, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. The first International Women's Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. The United Steelworkers is proud to mark International Women's Day at events and mobilizations across the country.

USW District 6 Women of Steel

www.usw.ca/womenofsteel 

www.usw.ca/womenofsteel-facebook

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For more information:
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director (Ontario & Atlantic Canada), 416-243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Beer Can Workers Picket Indifferent Liberal MPPs’ Offices https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/beer-can-workers-picket-indifferent-liberal-mpps-offices Mon, 23 Feb 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/beer-can-workers-picket-indifferent-liberal-mpps-offices TORONTO - Beer can workers forced into an 18-month labour dispute are picketing members of Ontario's Liberal government who have completely ignored their appeals for support.

On Tuesday striking employees of Crown Metal Packaging will be picketing and leafleting outside the constituency office of York West MPP Mario Sergio.

Sergio represents the riding where the Crown Metal Packaging factory is located and where many of the strikers live. The strikers met with Sergio several months ago, but never heard from him again. Over the last 18 months he has never visited the picket line or offered any support to the workers and their families.

In coming days the strikers will be picketing and leafleting at several Liberal MPPs' offices and surrounding areas. They will be raising public awareness of the Liberals' failure to help settle the labour dispute provoked by an American multinational corporation.

Community, political and labour leaders have strongly criticized Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal government for ignoring the plight of the 120 working families under attack by Crown.

U.S.-based Crown, one of the world's largest beer can manufacturers, provoked the strike at its Toronto plant in September 2013 by demanding massive concessions from workers. Crown had previously recognized the same workers for operating the top factory in the company's North American empire.

Crown has since refused to negotiate a fair settlement, hiring replacement workers while making new demands that would prevent many long-serving employees from returning to their jobs once the dispute is resolved.

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

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For further information:

Lawrence Hay, USW Staff Representative, 416-807-8792, lhay@usw.ca
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Share Heartache of Finding Elijah Marsh https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-share-heartache-of-finding-elijah-marsh Sat, 21 Feb 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-share-heartache-of-finding-elijah-marsh By Rosie DiManno and Marco Chown Oved

They called and called: ELIJAH!

Hundreds of them, searching high and low, scanning homes and playgrounds, seeking especially those spots where a toddler may have been drawn: yards with swing sets out back, friendly refuges to a youngster's eyes, the not-scary places.

They looked for tiny bootprints in the snow. But those were everywhere.

And Elijah Marsh was beyond hearing his rescuers by then.

That is the only mercy in a story with no happy ending - oblivion had descended. Elijah wasn't cold any more or frightened.

It was David Elines who found the 3-year-old. On the ground behind a small wooden veranda, next to a garbage can and a parked car.

"He was there and he just looked peaceful," Elines told the Star Friday. "I put my coat on him and yelled."

Three hundred metres, in a straight line, from where the child had set out around 4:20 a.m. Thursday after pushing open the door of the foyer at his grandmother's apartment building. Clad only in a diaper, a thin T-shirt and snow boots, outside in the dark and deep-freeze weather.

But Elijah hadn't gone in a straight line.

The final images of the boy, captured by surveillance cameras, show him moving westward along a bendy section of Neptune Dr. He would have looped back, at some point, to wind up behind the house on Baycrest Ave. where his body, vital signs absent, was found at 10 a.m. Nearly six hours exposed to the bitter elements on one of the coldest nights in Toronto, with the wind chill plunging to -33 C.

Elines thought he knew cold. But this he can scarcely imagine.

For 17 months, Elines has been slogging the picket line at the suburban Crown can factory with 120 other workers who walked off the job over salary and pension freezes and what they claim were threats by management to bring on new hires paid almost half the current wages.

Early Thursday, the morning strike crew had gathered to "chirp," as usual, at the scab replacement workers doing their jobs, says Steve McHugh, the Steelworkers' Union leader on the line outside the factory near Highway 400 and Finch Ave. A sparse line, only seven strikers, but well bundled against the bitter wind.

"We've been at this a long time. We know how to dress for the weather," said McHugh.

In the warm-up shed, after an hour of sidewalk-trudging, they heard on the radio about the missing Elijah. As they were only a few kilometres away, they called police at 32 Division and offered to help.

Complete article in Toronto Star

'He looked just peaceful in the snow.' - CP24.com

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Cambridge Steelworkers Ratify Deal with Tenneco Automotive https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/cambridge-steelworkers-ratify-deal-with-tenneco-automotive Thu, 19 Feb 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2015/cambridge-steelworkers-ratify-deal-with-tenneco-automotive CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - United Steelworkers (USW) members employed at the Tenneco Automotive manufacturing plant in Cambridge have ratified a three-year collective agreement with the company.

The new contract, which runs until February 2018, was ratified Wednesday by members of USW Local 2894. The USW represents approximately 430 employees at the Tenneco plant who manufacture vehicle exhaust systems and emission control products.

"It was a difficult round of negotiations, but we were able to negotiate an agreement that provides wage and pension increases in each year of the contract, as well as improvements in benefits and contract language," said USW Local 2894 President Tony Koski.

"We can also be proud that we succeeded in defending and improving our defined-benefit pension plan," Koski added.

The union rebuffed the employer's proposal to create a two-tier pension system that would have excluded a new generation of workers from the security of a defined benefit pension, he said.

"I congratulate the leadership and members of Steelworkers Local 2894 for their commitment to defend jobs with decent wages and benefits and their determination to reach a fair and reasonable collective agreement," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"This is a significant achievement given today's labour relations environment in which workers must constantly struggle against attacks on their wages, pensions and benefits," Warren said.

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For further information:

Tony Koski, USW Local 2894 President, 519-621-3360, ext. 335
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792

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Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action - Media Coverage https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-day-of-action-media-coverage Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-day-of-action-media-coverage Collected media coverage of the Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action, The Sequel – supporting USW Local 9176 fighting for the middle class.

Ontario beer drinkers are being urged to join a growing boycott of beer cans produced by a union-busting American corporation.

The beer-can boycott, endorsed by the Ontario Federation of Labour, expanded with radio ads and Beer Store demonstrations in communities across the province on Saturday.

Media Coverage

Photo galleries

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

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Bottles, Not Cans on CP24 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-on-cp24 Sat, 24 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-on-cp24 CP24 interviews a USW member outside a Beer Store during Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action - The Sequel.

CP24 Newscast

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

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Beer Can Boycott Expands Across Ontario https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/beer-can-boycott-expands-across-ontario Thu, 22 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/beer-can-boycott-expands-across-ontario TORONTO - Ontario beer drinkers are being urged to join a growing boycott of beer cans produced by a union-busting American corporation.

The beer can boycott, endorsed by the Ontario Federation of Labour, is expanding this week with radio ads and Beer Store demonstrations in communities across the province on Saturday.

The boycott supports Toronto factory workers forced on strike in 2013 by American multinational Crown Holdings, one of the world's largest beer can manufacturers. After provoking the strike, Crown hired replacement workers to operate the Toronto plant and prolong the dispute, which is now into its 17th month.

Crown forced the dispute by demanding huge concessions from its Toronto workers, despite increased profits and recognizing the Toronto factory as its top plant in North America. Crown's demands included wage cuts of up to 42 per cent for young workers to create a two-tier workplace eradicating decent jobs for future generations.

"This is a brutal example of a profitable, giant corporation attacking decent working and living standards that built our middle class," said Marty Warren, Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers, which represents the striking employees.

"Despite 17 months on the picket line, these men and women continue to fight for a middle-class future for their families and for the next generation of workers," Warren said.

"That's why we're encouraging consumers to send a message to this company. By buying bottled beer rather than cans, they can help working families get a fair deal to end this dispute."

Supporters of the striking Crown employees will be leafleting at Beer Store and LCBO outlets in communities across Ontario on Saturday to promote the beer can boycott. Similar demonstrations in December met with overwhelming support from consumers.

Radio ads currently running in major Ontario markets feature a second-generation worker from Crown's Toronto plant, telling a personal story of the attack on his working and living standards.

Listen to the Bottles Not Cans radio ad

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

Marty Warren in the Huffington Post: I'm Boycotting Beer Sold in Cans and Here's Why You Should Too

Sign Up for the Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action - The Sequel

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-570-9984, aeshelman@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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I'm Boycotting Beer Sold in Cans and Here's Why You Should Too https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/im-boycotting-beer-sold-in-cans-and-heres-why-you-should-too Wed, 21 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/im-boycotting-beer-sold-in-cans-and-heres-why-you-should-too By Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, Huffington Post

With all the publicity focused on the Beer Store in recent weeks, there is another beer story with profound implications that has received little media coverage.

Crown Metal Packaging employees in Toronto, who make cans for all the major beer companies and many craft brewers, have entered the 17th month of a forced strike.

These 120 workers have endured a level of hardship and malice from their employer that they could not have anticipated nearly two years ago as they prepared to negotiate a new collective agreement.

U.S.-based Crown had just given its Toronto employees a corporate award for operating the most productive and safest plant in its North American manufacturing empire. Crown almost doubled its profits in 2012, results for which the corporation's CEO enjoyed a $12-million annual compensation package -- getting paid more for two days' work than his highly productive Toronto employees were earning over an entire year.

There was every reason for the Toronto employees to expect contract negotiations would go smoothly when the parties headed to the bargaining table in 2013. Instead, Crown demanded massive, take-it-or-leave-it concessions, including up to 42-per-cent wage cuts for a new generation of workers.

Crown forced its award-winning employees, including many long-serving and second- and third-generation workers, onto the horns of a dilemma. They could continue working and accept Crown's draconian demands, including a two-tier, low-wage workplace that would eradicate decent jobs for young people. Or, at great personal sacrifice, they could take to the picket line and stand up for the next generation.

The strike began in September 2013. More than 16 months later, the workers and their families are mired in a dispute that could impact the future of labour relations in Ontario for years to come.

Crown has attempted to break the strike by recruiting replacement workers to operate the Toronto plant. It has also made new, objectionable proposals to the striking employees, most notably replacing many of them even if a settlement is negotiated.

In other words, many of the workers would have to agree to give away their jobs as a condition to settle the labour dispute.

Aside from the Toronto families directly affected by this dispute, the outcome may have a profound impact throughout Ontario.

The Toronto workers would argue the provincial government, by virtually ignoring their plight, is tacitly condoning, if not encouraging employers to provoke strikes, recruit replacement workers to prolong the disputes and ultimately replace longstanding employees as a condition of settlement.

This approach has been used often by powerful corporations against workers in the United States. If U.S.-based Crown, one of the world's largest can manufacturers, is bringing this agenda to Ontario, it appears not to faze Premier Kathleen Wynne. The Crown workers and more than 1,200 of their supporters sent letters to Wynne, looking for some kind of support, but the premier did not respond.

Political support and progressive policies from our elected leaders are needed to defend working families from U.S.-style attacks on decent jobs.

Meanwhile, the striking Toronto workers are receiving widespread public support in communities throughout Ontario and across Canada.

Thousands of consumers have joined a growing boycott of beer sold in cans that Crown continues to produce for the major brewers. The boycott received a tremendous response when it was launched in December with leafleting of beer and liquor stores across Ontario. Similar actions are planned in coming days and weeks, including on Jan. 24.

The Bottles Not Cans boycott, supported by the Ontario Federation of Labour, asks consumers to buy their beer in bottles, not in cans produced by Crown. The message is simple -- to urge a profitable U.S. corporation to deal fairly with Toronto workers who contributed to that success.

Huffington Post

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

Sign up for the Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action - The Sequel

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Steelworkers Push Ahead with Criminal Code Enforcement Campaign https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-push-ahead-with-criminal-code-enforcement-campaign Fri, 16 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/steelworkers-push-ahead-with-criminal-code-enforcement-campaign TORONTO - Short jail terms for two corporate directors implicated in a workplace death are a step in the right direction but do not address the crying need to enforce the Criminal Code when workers are killed on the job, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

"There is an average of 1,000 workplace deaths in Canada every year," says USW National Director Ken Neumann. "But we rarely see enforcement of Criminal Code provisions that are specifically intended to hold employers responsible for workers' deaths and injuries."

This week an Ontario judge sentenced two corporate directors of New Mex Canada Inc. to 25-day jail sentences - to be served on weekends - for Occupational Health and Safety Act violations that led to a worker's death in 2013.

However, the directors did not have to face criminal prosecution or potential criminal penalties, despite Criminal Code provisions commonly known as the Westray Law that have been in effect since 2004.

"While we applaud the Ontario Ministry of Labour for seeking jail sentences in this case, we are disappointed that the Crown did not proceed with criminal charges," says USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

The Westray provisions of the Criminal Code give Crown prosecutors the ability to hold corporations and their officers criminally responsible when their disregard for health and safety results in a worker's death or injury.

"Not only have we seen an average of 1,000 workers die annually since the Westray Law was passed, but workplace deaths have been increasing. It's clear that we need greater enforcement of the law to protect working people," Warren said.

The near-absence of enforcement of the Criminal Code is the impetus for a national campaign launched by the Steelworkers - Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law.

"Steelworkers were a driving force during a decade of lobbying that ultimately led to passage of the Westray Law, named in memory of the 26 workers killed in the Westray Mine explosion in 1992," says Neumann.

"We are determined to work with governments, Crown prosecutors, health and safety regulators and police across the country to ensure the law is enforced to the full extent whenever a worker is killed or injured," he said.

The Stop the Killing campaign has been well-received by elected officials and various enforcement agencies across the country.

Steelworkers leaders have met with federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, attorneys general and labour ministers from all provinces, as well as the RCMP and other police agencies. Dozens of municipalities across the country have officially endorsed the campaign and called for greater enforcement of the Criminal Code.

www.stopthekilling.ca

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For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416,243-8792
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Bottles Not Cans Day of Action The Sequel https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-day-of-action-the-sequel Wed, 14 Jan 2015 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2015/bottles-not-cans-day-of-action-the-sequel Crown Holdings has forced our members of USW Local 9176 out on strike for over 17 months.

Please participate in our Bottles, Not Cans Day of Action - the sequel - on January 24 to leaflet as many beer and liquor stores in our district as possible. We need to send this company a strong message by getting people to Buy Bottles, Not Cans.

Contact Mike Miscio to find out what LCBO and Beer Stores are being leafleted in your area.

Email Mike Miscio

Facebook Event Signup

Event flyer (pdf)

www.bottlesnotcans.ca

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New Contracts for 900 Steelworkers at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/new-contracts-for-900-steelworkers-at-canadian-nuclear-laboratories Mon, 15 Dec 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/new-contracts-for-900-steelworkers-at-canadian-nuclear-laboratories CHALK RIVER, Ont. – Nearly 900 United Steelworkers (USW) members have overwhelmingly ratified new collective agreements with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Limited, formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).

The agreements cover 884 members of Steelworkers Locals 4096 and 1568. Local 4096 members ratified two-year agreements that will expire in 2016, while Local 1568 members ratified a three-year contract that will run until 2017.

“These agreements reflect the respectful approach that the union and the employer brought to the bargaining table,” Local 1568 President Vickie Hulley and Local 4096 President Paulette Benoit said in a joint statement.

“Both sides wanted to reach a fair deal without a labour dispute and demonstrated a genuine willingness to resolve key issues,” Benoit and Hulley said. Numerous longstanding grievances also were resolved during the bargaining process, they noted.

The collective agreements include 1.5% annual wage increases, extended income supplements for parental leave, a new process to address contracting out issues and an expedited arbitration system to deal with grievances. Other gains include restoration of seniority rights for Local 1568 members and paid leave for the Local 4096 president.

The workers, formerly members of the Chalk River Technicians and Technologists union, voted in November 2013 to join the United Steelworkers.

“Given the challenging nature of these negotiations, it is a tremendous achievement by these new Steelworkers to have reached good collective agreements,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"I congratulate these hard-working employees for the solidarity that allowed them to address important issues and to negotiate improvements to the terms and conditions of their jobs,” Warren said.

For more information:
Vickie Hulley, USW Local 1568 President, 613-639-0933
Paulette Benoit, USW Local 4096 President, 613-585-0552
Richard Leblanc, USW Staff Representative, Richard Leblanc, 613-551-5000, rjleblanc@usw.ca

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Northumberland Labour Council Lobby for Health Care https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/northumberland-labour-council-lobby-for-health-care Wed, 03 Dec 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/northumberland-labour-council-lobby-for-health-care In December, the Northumberland Labour Council gathered in Cobourg to lobby for health care.

Speakers included Chris Leavitt, Political Action Chairperson, Russ Christianson, NDP Candidate for Northumberland-Peterborough South. Peggy Smith and Kelly Walker spoke on where our health care is today. Natalie Mehra, Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition was the keynote speaker.

Closing remarks were delivered by Northumberland Labour Council Executive.

Thanks to all who participated. Remember that your voice and your vote counts!

We will continue to fight to protect and preserve our public health care system to make Canada a better place to live for all.

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Let's Put Breast Cancer Out Of Work! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/lets-put-breast-cancer-out-of-work Wed, 03 Dec 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/lets-put-breast-cancer-out-of-work District 6 Strike Appeal Fund https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/district-6-strike-appeal-fund Thu, 30 Oct 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/district-6-strike-appeal-fund To All District 6 Local Union Presidents and Recording Secretaries
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Several employers are continuing to take advantage of working people. Employers know that they have the full support of federal and provincial governments in advancing their corporate agenda of driving down our standard of living in exchange for profit. The elected politicians that currently hold the reins of power sit idle on the sidelines while multinational companies continue to dismantle the Canadian dream and our children’s future. The once achievable dream of having a decent job, owning a home, raising a family and retiring in dignity continues to slip away from many Canadians.
In the face of all of this, I am proud of our members who are fighting back.  As of the writing of this letter, our Brothers and Sisters at Commonwealth Veneer, Max Aicher and at Crown Metal Packaging have continued on for yet another year holding the line. They do this not only for themselves but for each and every one of us. They are amazing and strong people who have withstood many months of attacks from their greedy, profit driven employers. These employers, like many others put profits before people. They tend to forget the skills and abilities of all those who have made those businesses what they are. With the stroke of a pen, these employers attempt to wipe out all that has been achieved over many years of collective bargaining.
 I want to assure you that our members are strong, courageous and determined to see this fight to the end. In light of that sacrifice, I am calling on every Local in our District to step up in support of these families.  I am calling on your Local and your Area Council to assist our members and their families this holiday season.
A donation to our District 6 Strike Appeal Fund will help support our members and their children through the holiday season. The holiday season is an especially difficult time for our striking members and we want to keep our tradition of giving each striking member and their family a grocery gift card to help them through these tough times.
Please make your cheque payable to:  “United Steelworkers – District 6” and  mark Strike Appeal Fund on the memo line.  Please send to:  United Steelworkers – District 6, Strike Appeal Fund, 300 – 200 Ronson Drive, Etobicoke, ON M9W 5Z9 .
In closing, I want to thank you in advance for your solidarity in support of our striking families.
Yours in solidarity,
 
Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

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Steelworkers Overwhelmingly Ratify Three-Year Contract with Goldcorp https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-overwhelmingly-ratify-three-year-contract-with-goldcorp Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-overwhelmingly-ratify-three-year-contract-with-goldcorp TIMMINS - United Steelworkers (USW) members employed by gold miner Goldcorp in Timmins have overwhelmingly ratified a new, three-year collective agreement.

USW Local 7580 members voted by a 93-per-cent margin Thursday to ratify a tentative agreement negotiated by their bargaining committee and Goldcorp earlier this week. USW Local 7580 represents about 275 Goldcorp employees in Timmins.

The deal includes six-per-cent wage increases over the contract's three-year term, a $1,500 signing bonus and significant improvements in pensions, benefits and contract language, said Local 7580 President Mike Huard.

"These were challenging negotiations but our members stuck together and we were able to make major gains," Huard said. "It's a fair agreement that benefits all parties and provides stability for the employer, for our members, our families and our community."

"I congratulate Local 7580 members on their achievement and for demonstrating why the United Steelworkers is the mining union," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"Through solidarity and good-faith bargaining with employers, Steelworkers are negotiating improved working and living standards in the mining industry in Ontario and across Canada," Warren said.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Marc Ayotte, USW Staff Representative, 705-918-1719, mayotte@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steelworkers Reach Tentative Deal with Victoria University https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-reach-tentative-deal-with-victoria-university Thu, 09 Oct 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-reach-tentative-deal-with-victoria-university TORONTO - The United Steelworkers (USW) and Victoria University have reached a tentative agreement on a new, three-year contract for administrative, technical, housekeeping, food services and maintenance employees.

This tentative deal includes several improvements to the existing collective agreement and a new, innovative approach to ensure long-term sustainability of our members' pension plan," said John Ankenman, USW Local 1998 bargaining unit chair. The union represents 145 employees at Victoria University, a college of the University of Toronto.

Details of the deal will not be released until union members review the agreement and hold a ratification vote on Thursday, Ankenman said.

In the last month the USW has negotiated agreements on pension plan reform for several thousands employees at Victoria University, the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph.

"Retirement security is a genuine concern for our members. We are negotiating agreements that address this issue and establish a process to strengthen and protect our members' pension plans," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

For further information:

John Ankenman, USW Local 1998 bargaining unit chair, 416-506-9090, ext. 227, 416-578-5424, john.ankenman@usw1998.ca

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792

Ron Wyatt, USW District Co-ordinator, 416-243-8792, 905-979-5079, rwyatt@usw.ca

Alex D. McKinnon, USW Research Director, 416-544-5981, 519-651-9755, amckinnon@usw.ca

 

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For Some at Queen's, No Pay Equity Since 1991 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/for-some-at-queens-no-pay-equity-since-1991 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/for-some-at-queens-no-pay-equity-since-1991 KINGSTON - Denied pay equity for more than two decades, a frustrated group of Queen's University employees is demanding an end to the blatant unfairness.

The employees and their union, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 2010, will hold a noon-hour rally Thursday to launch a campaign demanding that Queen's abide by Ontario's labour regulations in good faith.

         WHO: Queen's office and administrative staff, members of USW Local 2010

         WHAT: Rally to demand Queen's University abide by pay equity legislation

         WHERE: Richardson Hall, University Avenue, Queen's University

         WHEN: Thursday, October 2, 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

"Our members are upset and frustrated by the unwillingness of Queen's to abide by Ontario's Pay Equity Act," says USW Local 2010 President Kelly Orser.

"There has been no documented pay equity compliance since 1991, despite successive agreements to comply and a 2012 ‘Letter of Understanding on Job Evaluation' signed by Queen's," Orser says.

USW Local 2010 represents 1,100 office and administrative employees, about 75% of whom are women.

"A fair, consistent job evaluation system is critical to implementing, applying and maintaining the requirements of the Pay Equity Act," Orser says.

"Queen's officials promised on two occasions over the past decade to address this issue, but have not fulfilled those promises. Workers' real wage levels are stagnating and we can't afford to await another unfulfilled promise," she says.

Thursday's rally will launch a campaign to educate employees and remind the university's administration that pay equity is the law in Ontario.

In 2012, Queen's and USW Local 2010 agreed to establish a committee to discuss the development of a job evaluation system to abide by the Pay Equity Act. The committee met five times in over two years, but Queen's broke off meetings, citing contrived obstacles and showing no signs of resuming the process.

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For further Information:

Kelly J. Orser, President, USW Local 2010, 613-539-8210 (cell), president@usw2010.ca

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Steelworkers at University of Guelph Ratify New Contract https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-at-university-of-guelph-ratify-new-contract Fri, 26 Sep 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-at-university-of-guelph-ratify-new-contract GUELPH - University of Guelph administrative and technical employees, members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 4120, have ratified a three-year collective agreement with the university.

The new contract, covering 900 administrative and technical staff, was ratified by union members in voting Wednesday and Thursday.

"This agreement improves wages, job security and working conditions and establishes a groundbreaking process aimed at ensuring long-term pension sustainability and retirement security for our members," said USW Local 4120 President Wendy Morley.

The pension agreement between USW Local 4120 and the University of Guelph follows a similar deal reached earlier this month between the University of Toronto and its technical and administrative staff, also represented by the USW.

"USW and University of Guelph officials will work over the next three years to examine pension sustainability issues and recommend options for reform," said Steelworkers Area Coordinator Sean Logan.

Options will include the creation of a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP) - a defined benefit plan in which employers and members share responsibility for plan governance and funding, Logan said. Any reforms to the pension plan will have to be negotiated and approved by affected members.

"Our union and our members are committed to proactive and innovative approaches to ensure retirement security for workers who have negotiated and paid for their pensions over decades," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Wendy Morley, President, USW Local 4120, 519-766-4120, wendy@uswa4120.ca
Sean Logan, USW Area Coordinator, 905-629-4991 ext. 225, slogan@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Alexandria Moulding Employees Join Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/alexandria-moulding-employees-join-steelworkers Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/alexandria-moulding-employees-join-steelworkers ALEXANDRIA, Ont. - Employees of Canada's largest wood moulding manufacturer have joined the United Steelworkers (USW).

An overwhelming majority of the 250 employees of Alexandria Moulding, in the eastern Ontario community of Alexandria, voted Tuesday to join the USW.

Alexandria Moulding employees manufacture and distribute wood mouldings, stair parts and other high-quality products for the new home construction and residential renovation markets.

The employees were members of the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) but were dissatisfied with that union. They voted by a majority of over 80% in favour of leaving CLAC and joining the USW, which represents thousands of workers in wood products and related sectors.

"We welcome these hard-working people to the United Steelworkers," said USW National Director Ken Neumann. "Each year close to 4,000 people across Canada join our union to build a better future for themselves and their families."

"These employees reached out to our union for help and support and that's what we will deliver," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren. "We look forward to the coming round of collective bargaining with this successful company and to ensure the employees benefit from their significant contributions to that success."

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Brad James, USW Organizing, 416-524-5118, bjames@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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LABOUR DAY - workers stand tall, it's your day https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/labour-day-workers-stand-tall-its-your-day Sun, 31 Aug 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/labour-day-workers-stand-tall-its-your-day

LABOUR DAY - workers stand tall, it’s your day 

Labour Day is a creation of the Labour Movement; this is our day to reflect on our proud past and the gains we have made.  It is a day to recommit ourselves to continue the fight for the rights of workers and their families. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contribution workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their communities and our Country.  As Steelworkers, it is a day when we should reflect on our achievements, be proud of our rich history and recommit ourselves to continue the fight for equality and social justice for all.  

This Labour Day we must, more than ever before, recommit our solidarity, loyalty and activism to our party; the New Democratic Party as well as to our Union.  Being part of a Union…… our Union, is not a spectator sport. It is something that wells up from deep down inside of all of us. To those who continue to come out and continue to fight I am thankful. To those who may have begun to doubt, or have simply given up. I implore you to get engaged, get mobilized, to get involved. This is a great Country and it is our Country. We must stand up and speak out against an agenda that clearly is not for us or our families.

 Corporate profits are booming, yet the majority of Canadians are getting less of our nation’s wealth. This will only change when we elect politicians that share and understand working people’s values instead of electing the ones that talk like the left but govern like the right.

 We are the majority struggling to survive while the corporate elite work hard to strip us of our pensions, job security, standard of living and of our future. The conservative agenda is theirs and the conservative party is their vehicle. They clearly see us as the last line of defense for working families in this Country. 

This Labour Day and going forward, we must continue to fight repressive legislation that either, hinders or stops the rights of all workers to organize, to withhold our labour when absolutely necessary in order to secure what our forefathers fought for without the fear of scabs taking our jobs, continue the fight to maintain our standard of living and ensure that our children have a bright and promising future. This Labour Day, continue to hold in our thoughts all of those currently on strike fighting for their rights and reflect on the sacrifices that they are making not only on their behalves but on all of our behalves.

 Our strength is our members and our power is our diversity, together we can accomplish anything. 

Solidarity is a powerful word and an even more powerful tool.

Have a safe and enjoyable Labour Day,

 In solidarity

Marty Warren

Director, United Steelworkers, District 6

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Steelworkers, U of T Faculty Work to Stabilize Pension Plan https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-u-of-t-faculty-work-to-stabilize-pension-plan Fri, 29 Aug 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-u-of-t-faculty-work-to-stabilize-pension-plan

TORONTO - Today, United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1998 and the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA) entered into a historic Cooperation Agreement to assess options for the reform of the University of Toronto Pension Plan aimed at ensuring its long-term sustainability. 

USW Local 1998, representing administrative and technical staff, and the faculty association acknowledge the pension plan has solvency funding requirements and an ongoing deficit which, under current government regulations, represent a significant concern with regard to the financial stability of the plan. Today's agreement proposes a Joint Working Committee involving the University administration, USW and UTFA to work collectively to assess pension reform options and potential solutions, including the possibility of a Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan.

In a spirit of cooperation and goodwill, the USW and UTFA have proposed to work together with the university administration to develop a comprehensive reform proposal that will ensure the plan, or a successor of the plan, is a viable and long-term sustainable vehicle for the provision of retirement benefits.

"We are encouraged by the goodwill on both sides to deal with this very important problem for our members," said Paul Tsang, President of USW Local 1998.

"The Faculty Association is pleased to have arrived at an agreement to begin the process of stabilizing the pension plan for the long term," emphasized Scott Prudham, President of UTFA. "We look forward to cooperation from the University administration."

The University of Toronto Pension Plan currently provides pension benefits to over 17,000 members including 5,000 retirees.

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Contacts:

Stuart Deans, USW Staff Representative, 647-226-8792
Paul Tsang, USW Local 1998 President, 416-879-0896
Alex D. McKinnon, USW Research Director, 416-544-5981
Scott Prudham, UTFA President, 416-978-4613
Paul Downes, UTFA Vice-President - Salary, Benefits & Pensions, 416-978-2168

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Mine death reinforces importance of review https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/mine-death-reinforces-importance-of-review Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/mine-death-reinforces-importance-of-review By Carol Mulligan, Sudbury Star

A 38-year-old man who was using a loading machine to haul rocks died after being pinned under a rock about 2,700 feet below surface at North American Palladium's Lac des Iles Mine north of Thunder Bay.

Myles Sullivan, area coordinator of United Steelworkers, said the man was a USW member and he expressed the union's sorrow at his death, which is being investigated by the Ministry of Labour.

Sullivan said he remains convinced the mining review, started at the beginning of this year, will result in recommendations that will make mining safer for those who work in the industry, particularly if it moves into a second phase and examines safety at surface plants.

The review was established after strong lobby efforts from United Steelworkers and a citizens' group called MINES (Mining Inquiring Needs Everyone's Support), struck after the deaths of three workers at Vale mines in Sudbury.

Both the union and MINES wanted a full-blown inquiry, similar to the one into the collapse of Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake that killed two people.

They wanted the inquiry to examine the June 8, 2011 deaths of Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram at Stobie Mine, the Jan. 29, 2012 death of Stephen Perry at Coleman Mine and to overhaul mine safety.

Then Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi opted for a review led by Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis, a one-year process examining underground mine operations.

This year alone there have been three deaths at mine surface plants in Ontario.

Sudbury millwright Paul Rochette, 36, was killed April 6 when the pin on a crusher he was working on at Vale's Copper Cliff Smelter Complex flew off and struck him.

June 25, a 26-year-old Rouyn, Quebec man died of injuries after an accident at Holt Mine near Matheson when he was on his way out of the mine on a bulldozer and a tree fell on the machine.

That same day, a second man was pronounced dead at Carmeuse Lime Quarry in Flamborough near Hamilton, although it wasn't clear if it was due to medical or traumatic causes.

"We can't keep accepting that mining's a dangerous job, it's a dangerous environment, fatalities happen and that's part of doing business," said Sullivan.

The mining review advisory committee held 12 public consultations from March to June, including three in Sudbury, at which more than 150 people participated, and more than 60 people have submitted written submissions.

The committee, which has both a labour and an industry co-chair, has established working groups to explore topics such as health and safety hazards, training, skills and labour supply issues, and emergency preparedness and mine rescue.

Significant focus is being placed on the internal responsibility system, a system Sullivan says workplaces need to emphasize until recommendations from the mining review are made and implemented.

The IRS gives everyone in an organization direct responsibility for health and safety as an essential part of their jobs. The Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates the system in workplaces.

Sullivan describes the IRS as a system that educates and empowers workers about the hazards and safety conditions and their rights on the job, and their ability to raise concerns without feeling it could jeopardize their jobs or interrupt production.

While their concerns might not be dealt with that day, companies , their employees and their unions if they have them must work together to correct problems.

Sullivan calls a good IRS in a workplace a "fast fix" until the recommendations from the review can be implemented.

In a statement, Gritziotis said the review advisory committee is considering the information it received at consultation sessions and in written submissions, and sharing it with working groups, who will make recommendations to him.

The committee is drafting an interim report that will be presented to the new Labour minister, Kevin Flynn, who will make those recommendations public.

Gritziotis has said the review can act more quickly than an inquiry because recommendations can be implemented almost as soon as they are made to make workplaces safer immediately.

Sullivan said while it may be frustrating, and "as terrible as the safety record continues to be in mines," the review is being done thoroughly.

"It would be easy to get something done and do a half-assed job and stick it out in three months, and say, 'There you are, we just put a little icing on the cake and we did nothing.' "

carol.mulligan@sunmedia.ca

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Pascal Goulet's death shows need for mining safety review: union https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/pascal-goulets-death-shows-need-for-mining-safety-review-union Tue, 15 Jul 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/pascal-goulets-death-shows-need-for-mining-safety-review-union CBC News Posted: Jul 15, 2014 9:17 AM

The union representing workers at the Lac des Iles mine north of Thunder Bay says the death of a worker last week highlights the importance of a provincial safety review.

Pascal Goulet, 38, died on the job last Thursday. His employer, North American Palladium, said he was outside the loader he had been operating underground and was struck by a piece of ore.

Myles Sullivan, a former miner and a spokesperson for the United Steelworkers, told CBC News there have been at least six mining deaths in Ontario this year. .

"It's happening too often," he said. "I mean if there was fatalities like this within the fire services or police force there'd be parades of thousands in memorial of the deceased every time."

Sullivan said the United Steelworkers and a group of concerned citizens and family members spent a long time pushing the province to hold an inquiry into mining deaths.

Last winter, the Ministry of Labour launched the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review — an initiative Sullivan believes will help prevent future deaths.

Company responsibility for mining safety must be a key element of the review, he said.

"It has to be a culture where workers are empowered, they're educated and they have that culture of bringing up safety issues or hazards ... without fear of reprisal or without worrying about stopping production."

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Ontario's Minister of Labour said public consultations are underway for the review and it is expected to be completed in early 2015.

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Steelworkers at OLG Casino Thunder Bay Ratify First Contract https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-at-olg-casino-thunder-bay-ratify-first-contract Fri, 11 Jul 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-at-olg-casino-thunder-bay-ratify-first-contract THUNDER BAY - United Steelworkers (USW) members employed at OLG Casino Thunder Bay have ratified their first collective agreement.

The casino employees, who joined the Steelworkers last November, voted by an 85-per-cent margin Thursday in favour of a three-year contract with the casino.

"I congratulate these new Steelworkers on their success in achieving a good collective agreement under very difficult circumstances," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"These hard-working employees joined our union because many of their concerns were not being addressed by their employer," Warren said. "Their new collective agreement is a legally binding contract that protects the terms and conditions of their jobs. They now have a real voice in their workplace and a process to enforce the agreement to ensure they are treated fairly."

The casino employees joined the Steelworkers last fall after months of uncertainty over the Ontario Liberal government's rumoured plans to privatize the facility. The OLG also had denied wage increases to employees for five years and had announced an extension of the wage freeze.

The new contract ratified Thursday is a three-year agreement taking effect retroactively in November 2013. It provides employees with an immediate $800 signing bonus and a 1.75-per-cent wage increase in the contract's third year. It also includes improvements to benefits and working conditions.

The OLG also agrees that in the event of a privatization of the casino, the facility's new operator will be considered the successor employer under provincial labour law and will be bound by the collective agreement.

Approximately 180 employees, working in most areas of the Thunder Bay casino, are covered by the new collective agreement. Negotiations are expected to begin soon on a first collective agreement for a second group of Thunder Bay casino workers - the office, clerical and administrative employees - who also joined the Steelworkers last fall. 

The USW represents employees at four OLG gaming facilities in Ontario. A collective agreement was reached recently with security staff at OLG Slots at Sudbury Downs, while first collective agreements are expected to be negotiated soon by USW members at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Bruce Frost, USW Local 1-2010 Business Representative, 807-345-9041, brucesteelworkers@gmail.com
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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One Sault job affected by Ontera deal, says union https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/one-sault-job-affected-by-ontera-deal-says-union Wed, 09 Jul 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/one-sault-job-affected-by-ontera-deal-says-union Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A bombshell at Ontera today.

Workers were told that 40 jobs will be cut over the next two years from the telecommunications division of Ontario Northland, according to USW Local 1976.

The cuts will come following completion of the sale to Bell Aliant in early August.

That number doesn't include managerial and clerical staff that will be affected by a smaller unionized workforce.

Here's the job loss breakdown by city:

  • North Bay 18
  • Timmins 7
  • Cochrane 6
  • New Liskeard 7
  • Sudbury 1
  • Sault. Ste, Marie 1

Ron Marleau, District 6 VP of the Steelworkers and an Ontera technician, said “This is devastating news for our membership as well as the region we serve. The reduction of almost 50% of our unionized workforce will impact every community where our employees live throughout North-eastern Ontario.”

Marleau added,” The negative economic effects of 40 high-tech, well-paying jobs leaving the North was totally preventable. The Ministry should have given serious consideration to the joint business plan put forward by the union and management of Ontera, as part of the ONTC’s Labour/Management business plan requested by Premier Wynne back in February.”

“It is clear to us that Minister Gravelle was never interested in real solutions, and that the bureaucrats at MNDM (Ministry of Northern Development and Mines) had pre-determined the outcome for Ontera from the start”, said Marleau.

“At the April 4th meeting in North Bay where Minister Gravelle announced the sale of Ontera to Bell Aliant, even after being advised by the unions that his decision would create a telecommunications monopoly in North-eastern Ontario and result in considerable job losses affecting the entire region, Gravelle told us it was his decision to make and it had been made.”

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli told Village Media, "I'm at a loss to understand why the government is proceeding with this fire sale, when they know it will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars."

"It's our understanding the cost to sell Ontera is between 50 and 70 million."

Village Media is seeking additional reaction to the announcement and will update this story ASAP.

 

By: Jeff Turl

SOOTODAY

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NL Conservatives, Liberals Weaken Workers' Rights, Promote Inequality https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/nl-conservatives-liberals-weaken-workers-rights-promote-inequality Fri, 04 Jul 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/nl-conservatives-liberals-weaken-workers-rights-promote-inequality The provincial Conservatives and Liberals have taken a page out of Stephen Harper's ideological playbook to weaken workers' rights and increase inequality in Newfoundland and Labrador, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.
 
"In the next provincial election, Newfoundland and Labrador families will remember how their interests have been betrayed by a Conservative-Liberal coalition that is willingly doing the bidding of corporations," said Marty Warren, the USW's Director for Atlantic Canada.
 
"The Conservatives and Liberals teamed up to push through a new labour law with the sole purpose of making it more difficult for working people to exercise their fundamental right to join a union," Warren said of the passage of Bill 22.
 
"We know that, where right-wing governments have weakened workers' rights in other jurisdictions, corporations benefit but the middle class suffers and economic and social inequality increases," he said.
 
"Only the provincial New Democratic Party defended the rights of working people by opposing Bill 22," Warren noted. "The New Democrats stood up for working families while the Conservatives and Liberals gave in to the unjustified demands of the business lobby."
 
For years, labour laws in Newfoundland and Labrador were reviewed through the Strategic Partnership Council, which mandated an inclusive process with participation from business, labour and government representatives.
 
It was after four years of review - through the inclusive SPC process - that progressive labour legislation was passed in 2012, including ‘card-check certification' in which workers can join a union when at least 65 per cent of employees sign cards supporting the union.
 
However, the province's business lobby later abandoned the SPC and convinced the Conservatives and Liberals to weaken labour laws, without even consulting the public or labour groups.
 
The legislation passed by the Conservatives and Liberals will not allow workers to join a union even if a large majority of employees sign union cards. Instead, another step in the process will be added, requiring a secret-ballot vote by workers.
 
"Card-check certification favours democracy and freedom of choice for workers. It minimizes the potential and the opportunity for employer interference in workers' decisions on joining unions," Warren said.
 
"The secret-ballot process favours anti-union employers, at the expense of workers. It gives employers additional time to influence and undermine workers' decisions. Workers have to vote in the presence of their employer - with their boss right there in the room with them," he said.
 
"The Conservative government of Newfoundland and Labrador is using the same misleading language that Stephen Harper and right-wing American politicians have used for years to try to justify anti-union laws," Warren added.
 
"They talk about worker choice and democracy. In reality, they are weakening workers' rights, making it harder for them to organize and negotiate good working and living standards.
 
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For further information:
 
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca

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Standing Strong with Horwath - NDP Ran Solid Campaign https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/standing-strong-with-horwath-ndp-ran-solid-campaign Thu, 19 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/standing-strong-with-horwath-ndp-ran-solid-campaign TORONTO - "I want to congratulate Andrea Horwath and the NDP on the recent Ontario election. The Steelworkers stand strong with Andrea, and I'm proud of our members who worked so hard for NDP candidates across Ontario during the campaign," said Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director.

"While we didn't form government this time, the NDP did well. Our party took a third seat from anti-union Conservatives, adding to two re-elected NDP MPPs who defeated Tories in earlier by-elections. We also stood our ground in a tough fight against scandal-plagued Liberals," said Warren.

The NDP has momentum in the right direction with four more seats than in the last general election in 2011 and more women MPPs contributing to the record-breaking 38 women elected in Ontario. Since Andrea Horwath became NDP leader in 2009, the NDP has more than doubled its seats in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, from 10 to 21.

"I am saddened that we have lost three strong, progressive voices from Toronto in the recent election, and I want to thank Rosario Marchese, Michael Prue and Jonah Schein for all their great work at Queen's Park over the years," said Warren. "You will always have a friend in the Steelworkers."

"Steelworkers were active campaigners for NDP candidates across Ontario, particularly in our USW strongholds of Hamilton and Sudbury, and we worked hard to elect as many New Democrat MPPs as we could. I want to thank all the USW members who worked the phones, put up signs, canvassed door-to-door and got out the vote for our partner in politics, the NDP," said Warren.

"We welcome our three new NDP MPPs and look forward to working with you: Joe Cimino in Sudbury, Jennifer French in Oshawa and Lisa Gretzky in Windsor-West," said Warren.

"As Andrea says, ‘Every New Democrat MPP you send to Queen's Park will work hard for you. They are the most progressive choice for Ontario'."

"Now that the election is over, we must continue our work holding the Liberals to account. We will not let them off the hook for their scandals, free-spending and over-promising," said Warren.

Four NDP candidates in the recent campaign have direct connections to the Steelworkers: Paul Miller, MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and Michael Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin are both former Steelworkers. P.C. Choo, NDP candidate in Etobicoke-Lakeshore is a USW member of Local 1998 at the University of Toronto. Kathy Cornish, NDP candidate in Elgin-Middlesex-London is a former member of the USW.

"I am proud of the USW's hard work and generous contributions during this provincial campaign. I thank all USW members who got involved for being a part of that effort," said Warren.

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For more information:
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792
Tony DePaulo, USW District 6, 416-243-8792, tdepaulo@usw.ca

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Wind Tower Workers in Thorold Join United Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/wind-tower-workers-in-thorold-join-united-steelworkers Fri, 13 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/wind-tower-workers-in-thorold-join-united-steelworkers THOROLD - Employees who build wind turbine towers at TSP Canada Towers Inc. in Thorold have voted to join the United Steelworkers union (USW).

The employees voted Thursday by a 66-per-cent majority to join the Steelworkers. The vote was administered by the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

"We congratulate the TSP employees who have voted to join our union to obtain a real voice in their workplace. They want to build a better future for themselves, their families and their community," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"The employees are looking forward to negotiating a fair collective agreement with the company and to moving forward together in building the local wind power industry," Warren said.

TSP is a company based in China and started regular production at its Thorold plant in 2013.

"As a longtime supporter of building the green energy industry, the United Steelworkers is proud to welcome TSP employees to our union," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"Our members, including the employees at TSP, know that a sustainable economy must provide good jobs and protect the environment. That's what wind power can do."

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For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951

Brad James, USW Organizing, 416-544-6006, bjames@usw.ca

Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

 

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New Poll Shows Rising NDP in Statistical Tie, Horwath as Best Premier https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/new-poll-shows-rising-ndp-in-statistical-tie-horwath-as-best-premier Wed, 11 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/new-poll-shows-rising-ndp-in-statistical-tie-horwath-as-best-premier TORONTO - Momentum and voter support have shifted to Andrea Horwath's New Democrats who are now in a three-way race with their rivals, a province-wide poll on the eve of the Ontario election shows.

Horwath also is viewed as the leader who would make the best premier of the province, according to the poll by Ipsos Reid.

"This poll shows that in every community in Ontario, you vote New Democrat to stop Tim Hudak," Horwath said today. "(It) shows that New Democrats have momentum all over Ontario."

Ipsos Reid says its poll shows a "three-way race" among decided voters and notes the NDP has "gained momentum." The poll gives the New Democrats the support of 30 per cent of decided voters, compared to 31 per cent for the Progressive Conservatives and 33 per cent for the Liberals.

Steelworkers know that it's time for change in Ontario - time for Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats who will bring change that makes sense.

Ontarians are tired of Liberal scandals and corruption, tired of Liberals who over-promise and under-deliver.

The people of Ontario know that Tim Hudak is NOT the change we need. Hudak will kill 100,000 jobs, attack workers' rights and cut primary and secondary education.

We deserve better. Steelworkers support Andrea Horwath and the NDP because they will make life more affordable, reduce auto insurance and hydro rates and create jobs with tax credits.

"Andrea Horwath will work hard for jobs and affordability. She's a leader we can trust," says Steelworkers Ontario Director Marty Warren.

On June 12, vote for Change that Makes Sense. Vote Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

View the Ipsos Reid poll.

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Toronto Area Council's support of the Pride Parade https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/toronto-area-councils-support-of-the-pride-parade Tue, 10 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/toronto-area-councils-support-of-the-pride-parade Steelworkers Ask Again - Where Have You Been Kathleen Wynne? https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-ask-again-where-have-you-been-kathleen-wynne Mon, 09 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-ask-again-where-have-you-been-kathleen-wynne TORONTO - Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne must explain why she has ignored pleas for eight weeks to defend Ontario workers, particularly youth, from attacks by a U.S.-based multinational.

A campaign launched in April resulted in 1,200 letters being sent to Wynne, asking her to support Toronto workers forced on strike nine months ago by Crown Holdings, one of the world's largest manufacturers of food and beverage cans.

The striking factory workers and their union, the United Steelworkers (USW), are asking why Wynne has ignored the messages for the last eight weeks and what, if anything, she intends to do for the workers.

"This issue is all about the future for Ontario workers, especially our young people. We think it is unconscionable that Premier Wynne never picked up a phone, never replied in writing, or even acknowledged that she received these pleas," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"Why hasn't Kathleen Wynne responded? Why hasn't Kathleen Wynne acted?" Warren asked.

The letter-writing campaign to Wynne was launched in light of Crown Holdings' union-busting tactics at its Toronto plant, where 124 employees have been on the picket line since September 2013.
Crown Holdings has refused to negotiate with the USW after the company's last offer to end the strike was turned down

in March by a vote 117 to 1. The offer was rejected because the company gave few assurances that workers could return to their jobs even after ratifying a new agreement. The USW has made numerous efforts to restart negotiations which have been rebuffed by management.

"Instead of trying to settle the labour dispute, Crown Holdings forced our members to vote on an outrageous and unprecedented agreement in which they might not get their jobs back, and Kathleen Wynne has not lifted a finger to help," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"Ontario needs a premier who will stand on the side of Ontario workers and not on the side of multinational corporations," Neumann said. "We know it will not be Tim Hudak, and Kathleen Wynne has demonstrated she doesn't care either, which leaves only one alternative for working people."

Crown Holdings provoked the labour dispute with unwarranted demands for deep concessions, including a permanent two-tier wage scale for young workers who would be relegated to wage levels that were in place 28 years ago.

Crown Holdings demanded the concessions after doubling its profits and giving its Toronto workers an award as the company's top plant in North America. The U.S.-based corporation has recruited replacement workers to try to operate the Toronto plant and break the strike.

The 1,200 letters sent to Wynne this spring asked the premier to contact the Crown Holdings CEO and request that the company cease its attacks on workers and negotiate a fair settlement.

"If Crown is successful in creating its own version of a low-wage Ontario, what's to stop other profitable multinational employers from doing the same?" the letter asked Wynne.

"Our members are standing up for the next generation of workers in Ontario, but it seems they can't count on the support of the premier of this province, as long as that premier is Kathleen Wynne," Warren said.
The USW believes Crown Holdings has put its customer base at risk and is launching a second major escalation of its campaign, which can be found at www.takebacksnomore.ca

For further information:

Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792;
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951;
Joe Drexler, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-6009, 416-434-7907, jdrexler@usw.ca;
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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OHC - Annual Organic Locally-Grown Garlic Fundraiser https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/ohc-annual-organic-locally-grown-garlic-fundraiser Fri, 06 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/ohc-annual-organic-locally-grown-garlic-fundraiser Download order form here. ]]> Steelworkers support Andrea! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-support-andrea Thu, 05 Jun 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steelworkers-support-andrea Order Form ]]> Change that Makes Sense - Andrea Horwath and the NDP https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/change-that-makes-sense-andrea-horwath-and-the-ndp Tue, 27 May 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/change-that-makes-sense-andrea-horwath-and-the-ndp It's time for change in Ontario - time for Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats who will bring change that makes sense.

People are tired of Liberal scandals and corruption, tired of Liberals who over-promise and under-deliver.

The people of Ontario know that Tim Hudak is NOT the change we need. Hudak will kill 100,000 jobs, attack workers' rights and cut primary and secondary education.

We deserve better. Steelworkers support Andrea Horwath and the NDP because they will make life more affordable, reduce auto insurance and hydro rates and create jobs with tax credits.

"Andrea Horwath will work hard for jobs and affordability. She's a leader we can trust," says Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director.

On June 12, vote for Change that Makes Sense. Vote Andrea Horwath and the NDP.

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It’s Time to Care https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/its-time-to-care Mon, 26 May 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/its-time-to-care Download PDF here ]]> USW Supports Horwath's NDP: Time for a Change in Ontario https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/usw-supports-horwaths-ndp-time-for-a-change-in-ontario Fri, 02 May 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/usw-supports-horwaths-ndp-time-for-a-change-in-ontario TORONTO - "I'm behind Andrea Horwath and the NDP and their decision not to support the Ontario Liberal budget," said Marty Warren, United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario Director.

"As Andrea said, it's time for a change in Ontario. We're tired of Liberal scandals and corruption. We're tired of Liberals who over-promise and under-deliver," said Warren. "Unlike our current premier, workers in Ontario live in the real world. Workers know that Andrea speaks for them."

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and the NDP Caucus announced today that they will vote against the Ontario Liberal budget, likely resulting in an imminent provincial election call.

"NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is on a roll. She's been winning by-election after by-election, doubling the size of the NDP Caucus since she became leader in 2009," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

"We know Tim Hudak is no friend of working people. His anti-worker policies would harm our economy and cause unnecessary instability," said Warren.

"The people of Ontario will soon have a choice. For working people in Ontario, that choice is clear: Andrea Horwath and the NDP," said Warren.

"All the goodies in this budget are a tired Liberal ploy for votes. The people of Ontario deserve better. Andrea Horwath will work hard for jobs and affordability. She's a leader we can trust," said Warren.

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For more information:
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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ALL OUT FOR MAY FIRST! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/all-out-for-may-first Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/all-out-for-may-first DOWNLOAD PDF HERE ]]> JUSTICE for USW Rail Workers. https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/justice-for-usw-rail-workers Tue, 22 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/justice-for-usw-rail-workers DOWNLOAD PDF HERE. ]]> Historic Miners' Strike Led to Important Health and Safety Advances https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/historic-miners-strike-led-to-important-health-and-safety-advances Mon, 14 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/historic-miners-strike-led-to-important-health-and-safety-advances 40th Anniversary Forum commemorates Elliot Lake miners

SUDBURY, 14 April 2014 - "The most important thing to come out of the mines is the miner," wrote Dr. James Ham in his 1976 Royal Commission report on the Health and Safety of Workers in Mines.

The United Steelworkers (USW) shares that conviction, 40 years after Elliot Lake uranium miners went on a wildcat strike for better health and safety conditions.

"Today all workers have laws to protect them, thanks to the courage of the Elliot Lake miners 40 years ago. Miners were getting sick and dying from silicosis and lung cancer. They went on wildcat, got everyone's attention, and that led to the Occupational Health and Safety Act," said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

The Forum to Commemorate the Elliot Lake Miners' Strike takes place April 15-17 at the USW Local 6500 Steelworkers Hall and Conference Centre in Sudbury.

On Wednesday, April 16, participants will travel to Elliot Lake for a mock picket at the entrance to the former Denison Mine, a tour of the Elliot Lake Nuclear and Mining Museum and a re-dedication ceremony at the Miners' Memorial.

"The miners and their union - our union - the Steelworkers, were pushing for change, for better laws and for a role in their own health and safety at work," said Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director. "That continues today. We just lost another brother on April 6 at Vale - the fourth Sudbury Vale worker to be killed at work in three years. So we need to do more. We need to stop the killing."

Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law is a USW campaign aimed at better enforcement of the Criminal Code amendments that hold corporations, their directors and executives criminally accountable for workplace death. The campaign asks federal and provincial attorneys-general to take steps to enforce the Westray Law. City councils from British Columbia to Nova Scotia have passed motions endorsing the campaign.

Through videos, presentations and panel discussions, the Elliot Lake Forum will cover:

  • The history of the Elliot Lake miners' wildcat strike
  • The 1976 Royal Commission on the Health and Safety of Workers in Mines, known as the Ham Commission
  • A review of occupational disease
  • The USW campaign to Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law
  • A trip to Elliot Lake including a mock picket line at the entrance to the former Denison Mine
  • A re-dedication ceremony at the Miners' Memorial in Elliot Lake
  • An update on the current Ontario Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review

"The United Steelworkers is the health and safety union," said Neumann. "That reputation is thanks to our history with the Elliot Lake miners, fighting for their lives."

www.StopTheKilling.ca

Related Articles, Photos and Videos

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District 6 Steelworker Summer - Don't miss out! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2014/district-6-steelworker-summer-dont-miss-out Wed, 09 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/releases/2014/district-6-steelworker-summer-dont-miss-out DISTRICT 6 STEELWORKER SUMMER

I am sending a reminder about this fabulous program to ensure that we receive as many applicants as possible. Steelworker Summer provides an opportunity for your children to take part in the important work and life of the United Steelworkers, and earn $600.00 a week in the process. The deadline for applications is May 19th, but students should apply as soon as possible. Below you will find more detail about the program:
Steelworker Summer is an educational and training placement 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 of unions on the lives of working women and men.
Steelworker Summer is a program for young adults who want firsthand experience working for social justice. Ideally, participants 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.
Placements are open to young adults who are children of Steelworker members whose locals pay into the Family Education Fund. The students must be 17-25 years of age and currently enrolled in an education program.
If you know of students who might be interested, please pass this letter along to them. The application can be accessed and downloaded at usw.ca/districts/6/resources/education. If there are any issues downloading the application, or you have questions about the application or program, please contact the District 6 Education Coordinator, Marlene Gow, at
(416) 544-5976 or mgow@usw.ca.

In Solidarity,
 
Marty Warren
District 6 Director

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

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April 28, Day of Mourning - Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/april-28-day-of-mourning-stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law Tue, 08 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/april-28-day-of-mourning-stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law April 28, Day of Mourning - Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

This year we have launched our Westray II campaign: Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law.  This year is also the 22nd anniversary of the Westray disaster that instantly killed 26 people and made victims of many survivors. 

We made a pledge to the victims and survivors that there would be “NO MORE WESTRAYS".   We campaigned for over twelve years to deliver one of the key recommendations of the inquiry to amend the Criminal Code of Canada to hold those responsible for the deaths and serious injuries of workers through negligence, be held criminally accountable. We mourned for the dead and fought for the living!

Unfortunately governments, regulators, police and crown counsels have not seen fit to use the law and workers continue to be victims of negligence.  Each year about one thousand workers die because of their work, thousands more suffer serious injuries or suffer life threatening diseases.

Every year we mobilize on April 28th and gather to fight for the living and mourn for the dead.   Steelworkers have been fighting since the creation of our union and in that tradition we must continue. 

This year we will also remember the Elliot Lake tragedy, where we discovered that workers were deliberately exposed to radon.  Many workers became sick and many others died.   We mourned for the dead and fought for the living.  We took our fight to politicians and that resulted in the first health and safety strike in Canadian history.  It also led to the Ham Royal Commission.  We fought for and attained the right to refuse unsafe work, the right to know what hazards we are exposed to and the right to participate on health and safety committees.  We mourned for the dead and fought for the living!

In 2005 we saw the British Columbia forest industry lose 43 workers to on the job deaths.  We mobilized and demanded governments, regulators and employers take responsibility.   We put workplace death and injury in front of the public and demanded action to "Stop the Killing".   It worked because the government changed laws, the regulators added workplace inspectors and employers demanded changes on how dangerous work was performed.  The results were significant reductions in workplace injuries and death.  We mourned for the dead and fought for the living. 

So what can YOU do?  This year, please participate in the Day of Mourning ceremonies in your community.   Ask your local, area council and labour council to support our campaign.  Go to our website www.stopthekilling.ca and sign our petition, download and distribute our materials and tell your family and friends to do the same. 

Go to your municipal, provincial, territorial and federal politicians and demand that they take action to help stop the killing and enforce the law.

When you go to the Day of Mourning this year, remember the Elliot Lake miners from 40 years ago, the Westray miners from 22 years ago, the forestry workers from 9 years ago and remember the thousands of workers that are ill, injured and killed because of their work. 

The Day of Mourning is one day each year and it is time to remember those who lost their lives due to their workplaces, but it is also the time to recommit to fight back every day to Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law.

In solidarity,

Marty Warren
District 6 Director

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

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D6Connect/TUBE is up and running! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/d6connecttube-is-up-and-running Mon, 07 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/d6connecttube-is-up-and-running D6Connect/TUBE is up and running!

If you have received a text message from D6Connect it is because you signed up for D6Connect/TUBE and provided a cellular number.

You may also have indicated that you wish to keep in contact via text messaging. If you would like to receive text messages from D6Connect you must reply to the message to “opt in”. To “opt in” simply hit reply, type the word D6Connect and hit send. You will receive an autoreply to let you know you are connected. To opt out all you need to do is reply with the word D6Connectstop. This will take you off the list and stop all future messages from D6Connect and the TUBE.

By connecting to D6Connect you are agreeing to receive messages from USW District 6. Depending on your plan, standard messaging and data rates may apply.


Information is power and together we can get this done!
D6Connect team

DOWNLOAD PDF HERE

 

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Safety Review Draws Crowd https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/safety-review-draws-crowd Mon, 07 Apr 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/safety-review-draws-crowd By Carol Mulligan, Sudbury Star
 
If the overflow crowd jammed into a small, hot room Thursday in the basement of the main branch of Greater Sudbury Public Library was an indication, Sudburians are heavily invested improving mine safety.
 
But they haven't finished having their say about how they believe that should be accomplished. Not by a long shot.
 
About 40 people attended the last of three consultations held in the city by the advisory group for the Ontario Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review. It was a tight squeeze when you added six group members, chair George Gritziotis and four Ministry of Labour employees.
 
There was some question about whether the crowd was violating the fire code, which allows for a maximum 39 people in the meeting room.
 
Wednesday there was room to spare at two public consultations held in Georgian Room B at the Holiday Inn, which could have held 100 people easily. About two dozen attended the afternoon session and a dozen the 6 p.m. session.
 
Perhaps it was all that empty space that gave the consultations a somewhat clinical air as several representatives from United Steelworkers Local 6500 and a retired mining engineer presented to the committee.
 
But when Faye Campeau made an emotional presentation to start the evening session, the tone of the consultations changed. Talk about the internal responsibility system and joint health and safety gave way to Campeau's heart-wrenching recalling of the May 25, 2006 death of her husband, Ray, while he was operating a jumbo drill underground at Podolsky Mine near Capreol. Tears flowed and they weren't just Campeau's.
 
Earlier that day, Myles Sullivan, USW Northeast area, seemed to catch Gritziotis and some advisory group members by surprise when he chided them for not better publicizing the consultations.


Complete article in The Sudbury Star

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USW Next Generation/Legends Symposium Update - Here comes D6Connect! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/usw-next-generationlegends-symposium-update-here-comes-d6connect Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/usw-next-generationlegends-symposium-update-here-comes-d6connect Creativity and enthusiasm enveloped the Sheridan Conference Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, today as delegates from USW Next Generation/Legends Symposium came together to build solidarity and launch the new D6Connect communication network.

Participants worked together to develop strategies for member engagement and actively took part in workshops on the optimal use of social and traditional media. In one of these workshops, local union leaders under took the creation of ‘headlines’ to communicate with their members about the D6Connect network.  Some of the outstanding suggestions include:

• D6Connect – Because Knowing Is Half the Battle
• USW At Your Fingertips/L’union au bout des doigts
• Facebook, Twitter, YouTube: Get It! Got It! Good!
• Your Union At Your Fingertips

Day 1 photos

Day 2 photos

D6Connect is the ultimate way to connect with your union.

www.usw.ca/D6Connect

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Elliot Lake Wildcat Strike Led to Key Law https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/elliot-lake-wildcat-strike-led-to-key-law Wed, 26 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/elliot-lake-wildcat-strike-led-to-key-law United Steelworkers will mark a milestone in occupational health and safety next month with a forum to commemorate the 40th anniversary of a wildcat strike in Elliot Lake that led to safer workplaces throughout Ontario.

The forum will mark the start of the three-week strike by about 1,000 Steelworkers in 1974 at Elliot Lake's Denison uranium mine that resulted in the Government of Ontario appointing a royal commission headed by James Ham.

The Ham Commission on Mine Safety resulted in the creation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1979, the provincial law governing health and safety in the workplace, and the internal responsibility system.

The IRS is based on the principle that everyone in the workplace, workers and employers, are responsible for safety and for the safety of those around them

John Perquin, a USW staff representative who works in the union's head office in Pittsburgh, arrived in Elliot Lake about seven years after the strike that was a watershed moment in workers' safety.

Hundreds of Steelworkers, at both Denison and Rio Algom mines, were dying of respiratory diseases such as silicosis and lung cancers, and being injured by rock falls, cave-ins and ground burns.

They were mining uranium, and had concerns about the affects of radon and radiation on their health, but were being told by the provincial government it wasn't harmful to them, said Perquin.

But when USW members returned from a conference in Paris on uranium mining, at which provincial government officials spoke about the harmful effects of radiation based on studies on Elliot miners, workers were incensed.

"They reported it to the men and they went berserk," said Perquin.

They set up illegal pickets April 18, 1974, and with assistance from then Ontario New Democratic Party leader Stephen Lewis and former Nickel Belt MPP Elie Martel, convinced the province to strike the Ham Commission.

It produced 117 recommendations that enshrined workers' rights in law.

Complete article in The Sudbury Star

USW Forum to Commemmorate Elliot Lake, April 15-17

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Forum to Commemorate the Elliot Lake Miners' Strike https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/forum-to-commemorate-the-elliot-lake-miners-strike Fri, 21 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/forum-to-commemorate-the-elliot-lake-miners-strike Re: 40 Years Later! Forum to Commemorate the Elliot Lake Miners’ Strike

We invite you to join us for a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the historic strike by the Elliot Lake Steelworkers. In 1974 the miners went on strike for improved health and safety conditions. The strike’s impact went beyond the mine site and resulted in the Ontario provincial government forming a Royal Commission, referred to as the Ham Commission, to study the issues of health and safety in the mines. The commission made a number of recommendations, one of which was the inclusion of joint health and safety committees in legislation. This recommendation led to Bill 70, which established the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1978.

This was a great achievement for our union and workers in the province. This was also the beginning of a new era in worker health and safety with the rest of the country following suit and modernizing worker protection. Today, protection of our basic health and safety rights can be attributed in no small part to the committed activists of Elliot Lake.

At the conference, participants will have an opportunity to learn about a significant piece of the history of Elliot Lake from historical accounts by some of the miners who participated in the strike. The activities of our union and members leading up to and following the Ham Commission will be discussed. A trip on the second day will have participants travelling to Elliot Lake to view significant sites including the former mine site where the strike took place, the mining museum which has captured the history of the Elliot Lake mines and the memorial where the victims of work related deaths caused by working at the Elliot Lake mines are honoured.

Participants will also be involved in sessions in which we will look at ways in which we can further the work of health and safety activists. We will focus not only on how far we have come but what is needed to move forward. While discussing the struggles for safer and healthier workplaces that we waged in the 1960’s and 1970’s, we will focus on strategies to continually improve our workplaces. In particular we will look at the issue of enforcement and the problems that the Westray Bill is presenting to us.

This will be a conference of remembering and honouring those who led our struggles in the past as well as a call to action for a new generation of health and safety activists.

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann, USW National Director
Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director

Forum to Commemorate the Elliot Lake Miners’ Strike (includes agenda highlights and registration form) (pdf)

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Sign up for Text Messages from District 6! https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sign-up-for-text-messages-from-district-6 Wed, 19 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sign-up-for-text-messages-from-district-6 Get the most up-to-date news and information about your union on your phone!

Get started:

  1. Send a message to 437-800-2236.
  2. Type D6CONNECT in the message area.
  3. Hit send!

*Standard messaging and data rates may apply.

By submitting the above information, you agree to receive mobile alerts from USW District 6. At any time, you can stop receiving text messages by replying to a message with D6CONNECT STOP.  You can also email d6text@usw.ca to be opted out.

For help or more information, you can email d6text@usw.ca.

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United Steelworkers Mounts Campaign for Employer Responsibility in Workplace Deaths https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/united-steelworkers-mounts-campaign-for-employer-responsibility-in-workplace-deaths Tue, 04 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/united-steelworkers-mounts-campaign-for-employer-responsibility-in-workplace-deaths By Sueann Musick, The News (New Glasgow)
 

PICTOU – The United Steelworkers want more action taken in finding bosses criminally responsible in the event of the death of an employee.
 
Sylvia Boyce, health, safety and environment co-ordinator for the United Steelworkers, said a public meeting will be held March 10 in the council chambers of the Municipality of Pictou County to discuss the “Westray Project” and the need to enforce the Westray law amendment of 2004.
 
“What is happening is that we have a law in place for the past decade and there have been 9,000 workplace deaths since that time,” she said – that number referring to nation-wide deaths. “There are 1,000 workplace deaths each year and not one CEO has been found criminally liable.”
 
Twenty-six died during the Westray Mine explosion in Plymouth, Pictou County, in 1992. The mine was owned by Curragh Resources Inc., which was initially charged with 52 non-criminal counts of operating an unsafe mine. The company went bankrupt in 1993 and the charges were dropped after a Nova Scotia judge criticized the way in which they were laid. The case went back to trial, was dismissed again, then the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial.
 
Charges of criminal negligence and manslaughter had been laid against mine managers Gerald Phillips and Roger Parry, but the Crown eventually stayed proceeding, saying there was not enough evidence to ensure a conviction.
 
The Westray Act, a federal law enacted in 2004, provided new rules for attributing criminal liability to corporations and representatives when workers are injured or killed on the job.
 
She said since 2004, only 11 charges have been laid under the Criminal Code and in the end these charges were either withdrawn or ended with a plea bargain that resulted in a fine.
 
“We are asking for the enforcement of the Westray amendment through a criminal lens,” she said. “We are asking for the legislation for training and co-ordination for all of the parties involved.”

 
Complete article in The News
 

http://stopthekilling.ca/

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Give Unions Their Due https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/give-unions-their-due Mon, 03 Mar 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/give-unions-their-due It’s good to see the value of unions recognized in your editorial The Wrong Formula (Feb. 27), stating Tim Hudak was correct to drop his plan to attack unions by eliminating the Rand formula that ensures everyone who benefits from union agreements pays dues.

It’s worth noting the Supreme Court has affirmed the right of employees through their union to engage in political advocacy and play a role in our democratic system. The court recognizes the democratic nature of unions.

Workers are engaged in causes beyond collective bargaining because government legislation deeply affects our working lives. The positive societal impact of such advocacy is undeniable – stronger health and safety laws, minimum standards for wages and working conditions, parental leave etc. – all of which have benefited every Ontario worker, not just union members.

Marty Warren, United Steelworkers Ontario Director, Toronto

The Globe and Mail

 

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Sault Council Unanimously Supports Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law Campaign https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sault-council-unanimously-supports-stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law-campaign Tue, 04 Feb 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sault-council-unanimously-supports-stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law-campaign SAULT STE. MARIE, ON - Representatives of the United Steelworkers (USW) and Sault Ste. Marie residents received unanimous support from city council Monday for a national campaign aimed at better enforcement of a law to hold corporations, their directors and executives criminally accountable for workplace death.

The "Westray Law" was passed unanimously in Parliament a decade ago. It came in response to the horrific Westray coalmine explosion in Nova Scotia that killed 26 miners on May 9, 1992, and after a strong lobby campaign to demand "No More Westrays."

However, in the decade since, more than 9,000 Canadians have been killed on the job, yet not one corporate executive has faced a single day in jail.

In response, the United Steelworkers union has launched a national campaign asking provincial Attorneys-General to take steps to enforce the Westray Law. The motion to Sault Ste. Marie city council, submitted by Coun. Joe Krmpotich, was followed by a presentation highlighting the impact of lax enforcement on the community.

"Families are struggling with the fact that their loved ones went to work only to die there," said Krmpotich.

He cited examples, including Rocky Scullino, who was killed at Essar Algoma in 2008 when a 110-kilogram piece of iron fell on him. The company said his death "had no impact on operations." In 2009 James Vecchio was killed at the Sault landfill site when a mobile crane contracted by the city fell on him and crushed him. In 2012 Tyler Quarrell was killed at Eternal Monuments when a piece of granite fell on him.

"All of these workers and the thousands more who have been killed across Canada leave families to mourn them for all time," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

"Municipal councils are leaders in their respective communities. With so many fatalities across the country, enforcing the Westray Law is clearly an issue for municipal councils to endorse."

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Contacts:

Sylvia Boyce, USW Health and Safety Coordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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Stop The Killing, Enforce The Law https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law Tue, 04 Feb 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/stop-the-killing-enforce-the-law  United Steelworkers (USW) representatives in Hamilton are asking Hamilton City Council to support a motion to protect worker health and safety through better enforcement of the Westray Act.

WHO: Sylvia Boyce, Steelworkers Health and Safety Rep for Ontario, and Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council members Mike Miscio, Mike Hnatjuk, Frank Micelli and Darren Green
WHAT: USW Presentation Seeking Hamilton City Council Support for Enforcement of the Westray Act
WHERE: Hamilton City Council Chambers
71 Main St. W., Hamilton
WHEN: Wednesday, February 5, 9:45 a.m.

“Workplace fatalities have to stop,” says Darren Green, Steelworkers Area Council President. “Hamilton City Council can help stop the killing and keep workers safe by adopting a motion to support enforcement of the Westray Act so those responsible for workplace deaths are held to account.”

The USW representatives will appear before Hamilton City Council on Wed., Feb. 5 at 9:45 a.m.
Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law is the USW’s campaign asking provincial Attorneys General to take steps to enforce the Westray Act. The motion before Hamilton City Council asks for support of this initiative.
Following the horrific Westray coal mine explosion that killed 26 miners on May 9, 1992, in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, the United Steelworkers (USW) spearheaded a decade-long campaign to demand “No More Westrays.”
The so-called Westray Act, amended the Criminal Code to hold corporations and directors criminally accountable for workplace deaths and injuries. The amendments were adopted unanimously by the House of Commons and became law in 2004. 
However, in the decade since, more than 9,000 Canadians have been killed on the job, yet not one corporate executive has faced a single day in jail.
Sudbury City Council unanimously adopted a motion following a USW presentation in January.

www.StopTheKilling.ca

For more information:
Sylvia Boyce, USW Health and Safety, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca
Darren Green, Hamilton Steelworkers Area Council, 905-719-4412, uswa5328@msn.com

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Statement - Black History Month https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/statement-black-history-month Sat, 01 Feb 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/statement-black-history-month February is Black History month which was first celebrated in the early 1950s. It was later recognized nation-wide in 1995. It is a time to reflect on the many important sacrifices and contributions that the black community has made to Canadian progress. There is no better time to recognize and celebrate the positive impact the community has had on the labour movement. We must remember the significance of the work of black Canadians like Herman Stewart, the first Person of Colour to be elected to the Ontario Federation of Labour; Bromley Armstrong, who received the Order of Canada for his fight against discrimination; and Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black Member of Parliament and former labour minister, who passed away in October 2012.

Viola Davis Desmond is particularly notable, fighting against both racial and gender discrimination to become known as Canada’s own Rosa Parks. In 1945, Viola was arrested in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia after she refused to sit in a theatre balcony designated exclusively for blacks. Instead, she took her seat on the ground floor which was restricted to whites.  She was charged and convicted of tax evasion for failing to pay the one-cent difference on the tax of either ticket. All efforts to overturn the conviction failed, and the courts refused to admit that race was at the root of the issue. In 2010, Viola was granted the first posthumous pardon in Canada and issued an apology by the provincial government. The pardon was the work of then Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann Francis, the first black woman to hold the position.

However, as Steelworkers we must continue in our commitment to fight discrimination and support equity by ensuring that we are all free to accomplish our goals and be recognized for our value, regardless of who we are and where we come from. By acknowledging the contributions of a hard working but historically marginalised community, we stand in solidarity.

Please join us in recognizing Black History Month and making a genuine commitment to also celebrate the diversity within our own union.

Yours in solidarity,

Marty Warren
USW District 6 Director

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Sudbury Council Backs Steelworkers Push https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sudbury-council-backs-steelworkers-push Fri, 31 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/sudbury-council-backs-steelworkers-push
By Carol Mulligan, Sudbury Star
 
A union mounting a campaign to get prosecutors and police to hold corporations responsible for workers' deaths on the job got a boost from a motion unanimously adopted by city council.
 
The motion presented Tuesday by Coun. Joe Cimino came from United Steelworkers, which is running a national drive called Stop the Killing, Enforce the Law.
 
The drive urges Canadians to sign petitions urging attorney generals and labour ministers to ensure Crown attorneys are educated, trained and directed to apply the Westray amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada.
 
It is more than two decades since 26 men were killed in a the Westray mining disaster and a decade since the criminal code was amended to hold corporations, their directors and executives criminally responsible for the health and safety of workers.
 
USW Local 6500 tried to get the Ontario attorney general to enforce the Westray provision of the Criminal Code two years ago after its year-long investigation into the June 8, 2011, deaths of two men at Vale's Stobie Mine.
 
Family members of at least one of those two men killed, Jordan Fram, attended the council meeting at which USW made a presentation to council.

Complete article in The Sudbury Star
 
www.StopTheKilling.ca

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Cuts at Seniors' Home Leave Residents, Staff Feeling Vulnerable https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/cuts-at-seniors-home-leave-residents-staff-feeling-vulnerable Tue, 28 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/cuts-at-seniors-home-leave-residents-staff-feeling-vulnerable HAWKESBURY, Ont. - Workers at a seniors' home where two residents died in a 2012 fire are concerned about the implications of staffing cuts at the facility, including the elimination of full-time positions.

Despite the deadly fire in May 2012 at Place Mont Roc Retirement Home in Hawkesbury, owner Frank Zambito cut already thin nighttime staffing from two workers to a single employee responsible for 67 residents.

Now Zambito says he will eliminate all full-time jobs as of Feb. 15, leaving only part-time positions, with no benefits.

The cuts are shocking in the wake of last week's fire at a seniors' residence in L'Isle-Verte, Que., where 14 deaths have been confirmed and another 18 residents are considered missing.

"We want the families of our residents to know what is happening at Place Mont Roc," said Darlene Jalbert, a representative of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents employees at the home.

"With the tragedy at L'Isle Verte, our residents are feeling a little vulnerable," Jalbert said.

"How does one worker evacuate 67 elderly residents during an emergency in the middle of the night? One person is simply not enough. To make matters worse the owner is now eliminating all full-time positions. It's crazy.

"We're worried with all these staffing cuts, this is another disaster waiting to happen."

The cuts will deal a blow to residents at the seniors' home who have close relationships with staff members, Jalbert said.

"Some of our workers have been at Place Mont Roc for over 20 years and for many residents, the staff are like family. The upheaval from these cuts will be difficult for elderly people who need the stability and sense of safety they get by having full-time staff take care of them every day."

The tragedy in L'Isle Verte has brought back painful memories for many staff and residents at Place Mont Roc. On the night of May 25, 2012, a fire broke out at the residence, killing an elderly couple. It was later confirmed that the facility did not have a sprinkler system, the same issue identified in last week's fire in L'Isle Verte.

Following the 2012 fire and financial difficulties experienced at Place Mont Roc, Zambito acquired the residence out of bankruptcy in August 2013.

Staff at the residence have been working under an expired collective agreement for more than 18 months, Jalbert said. Any possibility of reaching a new agreement, under the interest arbitration process for workers who don't have the right to strike, remains months away, she said.

The USW also is pursuing grievances and other legal mechanisms to fight the staffing cuts at the residence, Jalbert said.

For further information:

Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca
Alexandra Eshelman, USW Strategic Campaigns, 416-544-5966, 416-570-9984, aeshelman@usw.ca
Darlene Jalbert, USW Local 1-1000 Representative, 613-931-1729, 613-362-4414, dee.jalbert@sympatico.ca

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Georgian Downs Casino Employees Join United Steelworkers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/georgian-downs-casino-employees-join-united-steelworkers Thu, 23 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/georgian-downs-casino-employees-join-united-steelworkers INNISFIL, Ont. - Employees at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs, which may soon be privatized by the Ontario government, have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW).

In a vote Wednesday supervised by the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the casino employees voted by a two-thirds majority in favour of joining the USW. The USW now represents 204 employees at the gaming facility in Innisfil, south of Barrie.

"We congratulate these employees for the remarkable determination and character they have shown," said Marty Warren, the USW's Ontario Director.

"Their mettle was tested by a concerted effort by their employer to dissuade them from joining a union. In the days leading up to the vote, the employer held 11 meetings with employees to disseminate anti-union rhetoric," Warren noted.

"It is to their credit that these employees were not intimidated nor deterred from standing up for their rights. They voted for their right to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of their jobs. They voted to give themselves a real voice to seek fairness in their workplace, now and in the future."

Much like their colleagues at other gaming facilities in Ontario, employees at OLG Slots at Georgian Downs have serious concerns about the implications of the provincial government's privatization plans, Warren said.

"These hard-working employees are legitimately concerned that neither the government nor the OLG has adequately addressed the important questions and issues they have raised about their status in the event the casino is sold to a private operator," Warren said.

The USW expects the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation) to begin the process of negotiating a collective agreement as soon as possible, he added.

"The USW will have ‘successor rights' if the facility is privatized and the employees' rights and interests will be better protected as a result," Warren said.

"It's now incumbent on the OLG to recognize its obligation to negotiate a fair collective agreement with its employees."

In the last two months employees at OLG Casino Thunder Bay and OLG Casino Sault Ste. Marie also have voted to join the USW.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, 519-504-9099
Robin Saini, USW Staff Representative, 416-544-5975, rsaini@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221,bgallagher@usw.ca

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Steel Leader Back in Sudbury https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steel-leader-back-in-sudbury Sat, 11 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/steel-leader-back-in-sudbury By Carol Mulligan

Happy, engaged, active members of United Steelworkers are the best people to spread the word about the benefits of belonging to a union, says the area co-ordinator for USW for northeastern Ontario.

Myles Sullivan has returned to Sudbury in that role after 3 1/2 years working in the union's District 6 office in Toronto.

He's glad to be home.

Sullivan, 44, took over the post Jan. 1 from Wess Dowsett, who's retiring after 25 years with USW.

The time spent in Toronto was an opportunity to see the "reach and the work and the influence USW has on the labour movement, and how much good work our union really does," said Sullivan.

Of course, he's biased.

He began working in underground ventilation with the former Falconbridge Ltd. in 1995, becoming a union steward the day after his 45-day probation period was over. He worked his way through the union ranks, becoming a health and safety representative and local unit president.

He became a staff representative with USW in 2007.

Complete article in the Sudbury Star

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Book signing event with Napoleon Gomez https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/book-signing-event-with-napoleon-gomez Fri, 03 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/book-signing-event-with-napoleon-gomez Napoleon Gomez book signing

USW 2010 President, Kelly Orser Smith has invited you to attend a public lecture by renowned labour leader and human rights activist Napoleon Gomez.

 

The event will take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 7:00pm in the Ellis Hall Auditorium (Queens University Campus)

There wil be a reception and book signing to follow in the atrium of the Agnes Etherington Art Gallery.

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Opt-in to D6CONNECT https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/opt-in-to-d6connect Wed, 01 Jan 2014 01:00:00 -0600 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2014/opt-in-to-d6connect Click here to view. ]]>