United Steelworkers Canada News Feed http://www.uswca.org/news/media-centre/articles/rss United Steelworkers Canada News Feed Wed, 23 Dec 2015 12:00:00 -0500 AMPS en hourly 1 COVID-19 Resources for Workers https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/covid-19-resources-for-workers Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:33:44 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/covid-19-resources-for-workers As the global pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, the new normal is changing every day.

The United Steelworkers union is reaching out to share information and resources.

Many provinces are already asking people to stay home if they can and practise “social distancing” or “physical distancing” to limit the spread of the disease.

The reason for this is both to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to conserve much-needed capacity in our health care systems, in anticipation of a surge in demand for health services that we want to be able to accommodate. It's an act of social solidarity for those who are able to do it. 

While we do what we can, such as working from home and limiting social contact, let’s bear in mind that many workers, including members of the United Steelworkers union, don’t have that option.

The USW is calling for further urgent measures to protect and support workers. Check below for the latest news and updates. You can also sign up for USW COVID-19 updates, sent right to your inbox, every week. 

The USW extends its thanks and appreciation to all public health-care workers and everyone who is working to keep our communities going – people on the front lines helping those who are ill and putting themselves at increased risk of infection due to the very nature of their jobs. These are the everyday heroes who are helping Canadians navigate this public health crisis. 

Resources

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Crisis Comes at Worst Time for Struggling Canadian Workers and Families https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/crisis-comes-at-worst-time-for-struggling-canadian-workers-and-families Sat, 28 Mar 2020 12:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/crisis-comes-at-worst-time-for-struggling-canadian-workers-and-families Opinion column by Ken Neumann

If you were walking around the streets of most Canadian cities over the last few days, you could not escape the sound of silence – little traffic, shuttered stores and empty office buildings. That silence was, however, punctured by the ongoing sound of construction workers continuing to do their jobs at work sites across the country.

As Canadians get used to the new normal caused by the COVID-19 crisis, many of us are being urged to work from home, in the hope that we can flatten the curve and avoid a public health disaster. But for the many Canadians who shower after work rather than before, working from home is not an option. Most Canadian workers have to show up for their jobs at retail stores, hotels, warehouses, construction sites, auto plants or steel mills, or they don’t get paid.

Governments, economists and business are already projecting that this crisis will lead to catastrophic job losses. Incredibly, last week alone, the federal government received nearly 1 million applications for employment insurance (EI), an incredible and unprecedented number.

It is clear that initially the service sector will be hardest-hit – retail trade, recreational and travel services, accommodation and food services. This sector is characterized by a prevalence of low-wage jobs and self-employed workers who have no cushion for economic hardship.

Soon enough, however, all sectors of the economy will be profoundly affected. As demand dries up and supply chains are broken, our goods-producing sectors will also see massive layoffs.

This crisis could not come at a worse time for Canadian workers, and so far, the government’s response has been woefully inadequate. Unfortunately, the reality for most Canadian workers is that their wages have been stagnant for decades, while corporations have seen robust profits. As a result, Canadian household debt, at about 100 per cent of GDP, is among the highest in the developed world. This means that massive numbers of Canadian families have no savings to survive the gathering economic storm that is about to strike.

Moreover, for decades now, successive Canadian federal governments have allowed our social programs to atrophy. In 2018, barely one-third of unemployed workers even received EI benefits – a number that has been steadily declining over the last 25 years. Therefore, while it is a good thing that the government package announced last week will provide emergency EI benefits to many workers who would not have been previously eligible, it is not nearly enough to support workers through this crisis.

The federal government must do more to help workers who are facing unemployment. To start, we should increase EI benefits for all Canadians to a replacement rate of at least 60% of wages (up to maximum of $625 a week) while lowering the eligibility threshold to 325 hours and increasing the benefit floor to $300 a week.

More importantly, the government must provide much stronger economic incentives for employers to keep workers on the payroll. The initial plan for a 10% wage subsidy for small businesses was grossly inadequate , as it would not have kept businesses afloat.

The USW and others argued the federal government should look to the examples of European nations, such as the U.K., where the government will pay grants covering up to 80% of workers’ salaries if companies keep them on their payroll, rather than lay them off as the economy crashes. These extraordinary payments will be worth up to $4,200 per month, just above the median income in the U.K.

The Canadian government has since heeded our call and announced an increased wage subsidy of 75% of workers’ wages. However, serious concerns remain regarding eligibility for the increased subsidy, with indications that not all businesses will qualify.

It is imperative that Canada follow the lead of European countries that are making their wage subsidies available to as many companies as need the help.

The subsidy must be broadly applied in Canada as well, in order to provide desperately needed support to hundreds of thousands of companies and help protect the jobs of millions of Canadians. Restricting the subsidy will result in massive job losses across the country and will exacerbate this crisis.

In order to keep our economy from total collapse, governments must focus on two priorities: keeping workers employed and supporting those who are laid off or unable to work because they are sick or caretaking. This means that in the short term we need to get as much government support into the hands of as many affected workers as possible. In the longer term, this crisis, like the 2008 financial crash, will affect our economy for years to come. We have to be concerned that many businesses that are forced to close in the next six months will never re-open.

Governments must do more to keep workers employed and they need to be thinking about how we build an economy where workers are not so vulnerable when the next economic crisis hits our country.

View the column at rabble.ca

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Joint USW Local Union Statement on Teck Temporary Slowdown March 23, 2020 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/joint-usw-local-union-statement-on-teck-temporary-slow-down-march-23-2020 Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:00:50 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/joint-usw-local-union-statement-on-teck-temporary-slow-down-march-23-2020 United Steelworker (USW) local unions representing Teck employees at three mines and the smelter operations in British Columbia support the latest measures by Teck Resources to ensure health and safety of employees and communities and to combat COVID-19.

Teck Resources Limited announced a two-week reduction of its crews to 50% regular levels, at six operations, including Elkview, Coal Mountain (USW 9346), Fording River (USW 7884) and Highland Valley Copper (USW 7619). Importantly, members who are available for work will be paid as usual.

While there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in these mines, USW views the latest steps by Teck as critical to maintaining preventative measures such as disinfecting, eliminating group gatherings, reducing bus occupancy, screening contractors and visitors and keeping social distancing in effect.

Operations continue at the Trail Smelter operations (USW 480 and USW 9705) under the same preventative measures. USW locals are aware of the need to ensure ongoing site safety of the mines and smelter and will work to ensure that it is protected.

This morning, all USW Teck locals met by conference call to share best practices and ideas on how to implement these temporary reductions best. As USW locals work with Teck to achieve these safety imperatives, there will undoubtedly be hiccups. We will protect members’ rights but work co-operatively to preserve the health and safety of our members and communities.

As Steelworkers, we believe health and safety is the most paramount issue every day on the job. In a global pandemic, that extends to our family and neighbours. If we think Teck or any employer needs to step up prevention and social distancing measures, we will continue to take up each situation case by case, site by site, local by local and as United Steelworkers, to protect the health and safety of our members and communities.

While we are working with Teck to avoid layoffs, all of us and our families are experiencing the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. We all have a role to play in flattening the curve and stopping the spread of this pandemic. Let’s spread solidarity instead!

Stay Safe. Be Kind. Wash Your Hands

Stephen Hunt
Director

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USW COVID-19 Demands to Federal and Provincial Governments https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-covid-19-demands-to-federal-and-provincial-governments Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-covid-19-demands-to-federal-and-provincial-governments The United Steelworkers union calls on the federal and provincial governments to immediately enact the following reforms to support workers and retirees during these uncertain times.

Federal Government

An appropriate wage subsidy level similar to that enacted by Germany, Denmark and the U.K. is necessary. The U.K.’s Conservative government passed an 80% rate with a maximum of $4,200 per month (£2,500), just above the median income in the U.K. Our Liberal government should enact a similar amount here in Canada.

Necessary changes to Employment Insurance (EI) that will make it more accessible and provide a higher income for those who need it most.

  • Lower eligibility threshold to 325 hours for regular and special benefits.
  • Introduce a benefit floor of $300/week for low-income claimants.
  • Re-impose the replacement rate of 60% (max $625/week).
  • Waive the one-week waiting period for regular benefits
  • Suspend the job search requirement for EI claimants and the expiry of benefits until June 1.

Legislate 14 paid emergency-leave days, with job-protected leave for the entire pandemic period for all workers in federally regulated sectors and call on all provinces and territories to do the same.

Regulatory changes to permanently waive sick-note requirements at work for all workers in federally regulated sectors.

Banks, landlords, credit card companies and financial institutions must be instructed to extend and relax mortgage, rent and bill payment requirements, student loans, loan servicing obligations and other responsibilities facing consumers and households.

Increase the child-care benefit for low and middle-income families.

Amend the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) to:

  • Bring any pension plan fund to 100% before paying other creditors, including secured creditors, amounts owed to them.
  • Prevent a company from stopping payment of any health and welfare benefits to retirees during any proceeding under the CCAA or BIA.
  • Ensure that amounts required to indemnify beneficiaries of employer-provided health and welfare plans, termination pay, and severance pay are preferred claims under the BIA and CCAA.

 

All Provincial and Territorial Governments:

Legislate 14 paid emergency-leave days, with job-protected leave for the entire pandemic period for all workers in provincially-regulated sectors.

Regulatory changes to permanently waive the requirement for medical certificates in event of any sickness.

Instruct landlords to immediately relax rent payments.

Create an emergency fund for health-care workers who get sick because of contracting COVID-19 at work or are quarantined as a result of their work.

Mandate extra ‘hazard pay’ for health-care and other front-line workers whose work puts them at an increased risk during the pandemic period.

Provide subsidized child care for all essential-service workers.

Require businesses and organizations that are still running to implement a plan to limit the risk of transmission in the workplace.

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CORONAVIRUS: A Guide for USW Canadian Members https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/coronavirus-a-guide-for-usw-canadian-members Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:50:46 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/coronavirus-a-guide-for-usw-canadian-members As of March 19, 2020


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COVID-19, the disease caused by the new, or “novel” coronavirus, is spreading in Canada as of March 19, 2020. Not everyone exposed gets sick, and most of those who get sick make a full recovery. But the virus is more dangerous than other respiratory diseases, like the flu. The chance of a serious infection goes up with the amount of exposure, age, and other health problems, especially heart and lung problems, and diabetes. 

Stay informed and rely on trusted government and local public health authorities: www.canada.ca/coronavirus

Here are some simple precautions that will reduce the likelihood of contracting the virus.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Hands should be scrubbed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If possible, they should be dried with paper towels, not blowers, which can spread droplets. It’s especially important to wash after touching objects or surfaces that many others have touched, like doorknobs, elevator buttons, computers or cash registers. It’s also important to wash as soon as you get home after being in a public place.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol kills germs and viruses, if it touches them. But it does a poor job of removing dirt, where pathogens can hide. Don’t use vodka or other spirits. Anything under 120 proof won’t do a proper job.
  • Disinfect surfaces that might be touched by the public. Proper disinfectants are based on alcohol or chlorine, and are labeled as killing 99.9% of germs and viruses. It’s not necessary to frequently clean surfaces that only you touch or objects at home so long as no potentially infected person has touched or coughed on them.
  • Try not to touch your face with potentially contaminated hands. Some infections come from airborne droplets, but most people become infected when they touch their face after touching a contaminated surface. Under the right conditions the virus can live for up to four days on a surface. Indoor surfaces are worse than outdoor surfaces, since the UV-radiation in sunlight is a disinfectant. It’s hard not to touch your face. Frequent washing helps. A good strategy is to keep a box of tissues or wipes handy and put one over your fingers if you need to touch surfaces or your face.
  • Practice social distancing. Avoid crowds! Avoid public places as much as possible. Don’t shake hands. In public, try to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. The symptoms of COVID-19 are a dry cough of unknown origin, fever and sometimes shortness of breath. If you know the reason for the cough, for example asthma or an allergy, and you have no other symptoms, it’s unlikely to be COVID-19. But any other cough or symptom should trigger a call to your physician and, in the case of a cough plus a fever, a call to a public health department for a COVID-19 test. If the symptoms become severe you may need to go to the hospital, but call first, so the hospital is prepared.
  • If you’ve been around a person known to be infected, stay home for 14 days. Many employers are establishing policies requiring or allowing this, and are paying people for the time off. You may have legal protections too. If your employer retaliates against you or threatens to, let the union know right away.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel. If you absolutely have to travel, it’s safer by car than by air, since airports involve large crowds from many different regions.
  • Get a flu shot, if you haven’t already. The flu vaccine does not protect you from coronavirus. But having the flu along with coronavirus is especially dangerous. This would also be a good time to review all your vaccinations with your physician, and make sure they’re up to date.
  • Stay up to date. You can check reliable websites, like the ones below, and news organizations, like the major networks and the CBC. A few other links are below. And check the USW website for updated information.
  • And finally, keep our brave health-care workers and first responders in your thoughts. Many are union members. All of them are fighting hard to protect us, often at risk of their own health. They are the heroes of this pandemic.

Other links for more information:

For more information and resources for workers, see our USW page on COVID-19: www.usw.ca/covid19.

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Information for USW Members in Canada: Workplace Issues During COVID-19 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/information-for-usw-members-in-canada-workplace-issues-during-covid-19 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:41:18 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/information-for-usw-members-in-canada-workplace-issues-during-covid-19 As of March 19, 2020


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Actions for Employers to Protect Workers

There are a number of steps that employers can take to improve the health and safety of workers during this time. These include:

  • Ensure there is current information on COVID-19 through communications with the entire workforce. An increased awareness of COVID-19 is essential.
  • Evaluate work areas where people have frequent contact with each other and shared objects.
  • Increase the distance between desks and workstations as well as employees and customers, preferably two metres, or six feet.
  • Promote frequent hand-washing hygiene, sneeze and cough etiquette, and most importantly, have workers stay home when they are ill. This includes providing access to handwashing areas and placing hand-sanitizer dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace.
  • If a worker develops COVID-19 symptoms, they should be immediately separated from others and sent home without using public transit.
  • Ensure frequent cleaning with particular attention to high-touch areas such as phones, computers, desks, kitchens and elevators and accessibility buttons.

Actions for Employers During This Time

We ask employers to adjust work schedules and other policies to reduce social contact. This could include:

  • Flexible hours.
  • Staggering start times.
  • Arranging for some people to work from home.
  • Instituting or increasing the use of teleconferencing.
  • Relaxing sick-leave policies to support workers who are self-isolating, including the suspension of the need for medical notes. This is also important to reduce the burden on an already stressed health-care system.
  • Prepare and have a plan in place for a likely increase in absenteeism due to illness among employees and their families. With the likelihood of all schools being shut, as well as child-care services, an increased burden will fall on those workers with children.

The Right to Refuse Unsafe Work

While we are facing rather extraordinary circumstances during this pandemic, health and safety protections remain in place. This includes the right to refuse what you believe is unsafe work. If you find yourself it such a situation, you need to immediately inform your supervisor of your concerns and let your union representative know as well. They can help you through the process.

Any employee who believes that a condition in the workplace is likely to endanger their health or safety can refuse to work under applicable occupational health and safety legislation. If an employee refuses to work, employers should handle the situation appropriately and the income of the employee should not be jeopardized.

Paid Sick Leave and Leave of Absence

Employees may be entitled to paid sick leave, if provided for in their collective agreement or in a workplace policy. Employees who have symptoms of COVID-19 should be treated the same as any other sick employee. If paid sick leave is not provided for in an employment contract or policy, the employer is not obligated to provide paid sick leave. The employee may, however, be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI) sick leave benefits while on their unpaid leave of absence.

An employee who has a family member who falls ill may be entitled to an unpaid job-protected leave of absence under Employment Standards legislation, such as family responsibility leave or compassionate care leave. In addition, new measures announced by the federal government will be available for those without employer coverage: the EI Sickness Benefit and the Emergency Care Benefit.

If an employee is not symptomatic but is subject to quarantine, employers should not terminate the employee as a result of their absence.

The federal government has announced new measures to support workers during
COVID-19. These include EI Sickness Benefits for those who have contracted COVID-19 or who have been ordered into self-isolation, or for those who are caring for those in self-isolation.

An Emergency Care Benefit (through the Canada Revenue Agency) is available for those who have not been laid off, but whose income has been disrupted and are without access to employer sick leave. This will also apply for those caring for sick family or children that require supervision due to school closures. This benefit applies to anyone who is ill, who is self-isolating or needs to take time off because of school closure. The application will be available in April.

Discrimination and Harassment

Under human rights law throughout Canada, employees are protected from discrimination based on the prohibited grounds. Employers should take steps to guarantee that no employee is subject to discrimination as a result of a misconception that they are the carrier of a communicable disease. Any employee who has been wrongly singled out in this manner of stereotyping may have a claim for prohibited discrimination in employment.

For more information and resources for workers, see our USW page on COVID-19: www.usw.ca/covid19.

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Information for USW Members in Canada: Health and Safety During COVID-19 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/information-for-usw-members-in-canada-health-and-safety-during-covid-19 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:27:42 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/information-for-usw-members-in-canada-health-and-safety-during-covid-19 As of March 31, 2020

 

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Everyone Doing Their Part

We are facing an unprecedented time with the COVID-19 pandemic. Extreme measures are being implemented in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Public health agencies are monitoring the outbreak and are regularly updating guidance as to how individuals should respond.

USW encourages members to stay current with the latest information from your local health authority and follow their most current guidelines. Our primary concern is for the health and safety of our members, their families and our communities.

We need to approach the pandemic by using all the tools we normally use to address health and safety concerns. We apply the “precautionary principle,” where we evaluate risks and hazards.

Preparing Ourselves

The best advice to follow is that coming from the Government of Canada through the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC): www.canada.ca/public-health.

Be aware of increased risks of more severe outcomes for Canadians such as:

  • People aged 65 and over.
  • Those with compromised immune systems.
  • Those with underlying medical conditions.

It is vital to avoid any crowds at all and any-size gatherings when feasible. It is important to maintain “physical distancing” (keeping a distance of two metres; or six feet) whenever possible. And of course, vigilant hand washing and other hygiene practices should be followed.

All non-essential travel out of the country is restricted.

If You Have Travelled Outside of Canada Recently

If you have returned to Canada from outside the country, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Whenever there has been even a slight chance of someone coming in contact with the virus, they must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. This can include returning from out of the country, being in direct contact with someone returning from out of the country or being in direct contact with someone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (even in the absence of a diagnosis).

Be aware that your employer will require you to self-isolate under these conditions even if you don’t feel ill yourself.

Be Aware of Your Mental Health

While we are focused on our physical health during the pandemic, it is equally important to keep a check on our mental well-being. Fear and anxiety are normal responses to the current situation. There is a lot of disruption and uncertainty. Accept that there are things that are beyond our control right now. Instead, focus on what you can control, which is really a lot. Any of the many national, provincial or local mental health organizations (e.g., CAMH, CMHA) have an abundance of useful information on their websites.

Mental health practitioners suggest a number of things to guide you through these times:

  • Limit the amount of time you consume media information on COVID-19. Stay informed but don’t fall into the trap of needing to be constantly absorbing the multitude of (repeated and sensationalized) media coverage.
  • Those with pre-existing mental health conditions are at risk of an exacerbation of symptoms due to increased stress. If you or someone you know is experiencing issues, most mental health providers will be able to assist remotely in non-crisis situations. Because people with addiction issues are at risk of recurrence, many organizations such as AA will institute online meetings.
  • While physical distancing (or even social isolation) will be required, this does not mean we need to cease social contact. With the many social media platforms available, there is no need to stop a lot of the activities we normally do; we just need to do them virtually. Start an online book club, gaming group or video watch party. The possibilities are endless.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. Continue to walk the dog, do family activities that are still possible, and most importantly, maintain any physical activities that can be done. There is a well-established link between physical and mental well-being. If you can’t do your normal exercise routine (such as going to the gym), try to find other things that can give you comparable results.
  • Get outside in nature. You can go for a walk and get some fresh air and sunshine, while maintaining your physical distancing.
  • Think about helping out some of the more vulnerable people in your community. If you are still able to go out and pick up groceries, consider asking a neighbour who can’t go out if they need anything. Exercising compassion can do wonders for everyone’s well-being.

SUMMARY

  • Follow the latest updates from your local health authority.
  • Practise good handwashing hygiene and etiquette around sneezing and coughing.
  • Maintain physical distancing (a distance of two metres; six feet).
  • Immediately initiate self-isolation if you start to display symptoms or come into contact with someone who has. If you have persistent symptoms, it is important that you maintain self-isolation and immediately contact your health-care professional or local health centre. They will be able to tell you what steps you need to take. 
  • Tend to your physical and mental health.

Should you have any concerns at your workplace, do not hesitate to bring them up to your employer and your union safety representative or other union official.

For more information and resources for workers, see our USW page on COVID-19: www.usw.ca/covid19.

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Federal Government Response to COVID-19: Announcement on March 18, 2020 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/federal-government-response-to-covid-19-announcement-on-march-18-2020 Fri, 20 Mar 2020 10:12:40 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/federal-government-response-to-covid-19-announcement-on-march-18-2020

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For Full Details:

On March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced additional measures to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • $27 billion in direct support to workers and businesses
  • $55 billion in tax deferrals to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and individuals
  • $82 billion combined, more than 3% of Canada’s GDP

Below is an overview of the programs.

1.    Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits

This program was announced on March 11 and in effect as of March 15. The one-week waiting period and the requirement for medical certificate are temporarily waived. This applies to individuals who have contracted COVID-19 or have been ordered into self-isolation, or must care for someone who has been ordered into self-isolation. The recipient must have worked 600 hours over the previous 52 weeks.

2.    Emergency Care Benefit

This is a new program to provide benefits like the EI sickness benefit for people who have not been laid off, but have had their incomes disrupted and do not have access to employer sick leave. It will also apply to workers who are caring for sick family or children that require supervision due to school closures.

This program will be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It is a flat payment of $450/week for up to 15 weeks (prior income does not matter). This is intended as a benefit for people who are not eligible for regular EI or sickness benefits. Workers must first apply for EI (regular or sickness) and if they are denied, they can receive the Emergency Care Benefit. This benefit applies to anyone who is ill, who is self-isolating or needs to take time off because of school closure. The application will be available in April. Legislation is still needed to bring this into force.

3.    Emergency Support Benefit

Few details were announced on March 18, however, the point of this benefit is that anyone who is unemployed and not eligible for EI should receive some sort of EI-like benefit. This benefit will also be administered through the CRA. It is likely that people will have to apply to EI first and if they are denied, they could be eligible for this. It is unclear if this will be a replacement rate (e.g., 55% of earnings) or a flat rate, like the 2003 response to SARS for health-care workers. This benefit also needs new legislation before it can be activated.

4.    Work Sharing Expansion

The potential length of the EI work-sharing program doubled to 76 weeks from a previous maximum of 38 weeks. The eligibility requirement and the application process will be eased (previously announced on March 11).

5.    GST Credit Boost

Every three months, low- and moderate-income Canadians receive a GST tax credit. In May, (probably) the credit will be boosted by a one-time payment at most of $300/adult and $150/child. Those are the normal amounts for the year so it’s actually a doubling of the GST credit for the year in one shot.

6.    Canada Child Benefit

This is a one-time boost to the Canada Child Benefit in May 2020, to at most $300 per child.

7.    10% Wage Supplement for Small Business

Quoting from the Department of Finance: “To support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent layoffs, the government is proposing to provide eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.”

8.    Support for Vulnerable Communities

New funds will be available for women’s shelters, homeless shelters and Indigenous communities.

9.    $55 Billion in Deferred Corporate Taxes and Income Tax

From the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Senior Economist David McDonald: “This is mostly a remittance holiday allowing employers to avoid sending in a portion of the source deduction they take off of each employee’s pay cheque. They’ll no doubt also defer their own corporate income taxes over that period, but it will be a smaller part of the $55 billion.

“I’m not generally in favour of massive corporate support, but in an era where speed trumps perfect policy design, this isn’t the worst measure to keep major businesses from going under. They’ll still have to pay their taxes and remit their employees’ source deductions, just six months from now. The danger is that six months from now, businesses will argue they shouldn’t have to pay them at all.”

For more information and resources for workers, see our USW page on COVID-19: www.usw.ca/covid19.

 

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Upcoming USW Event Postponements https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/upcoming-usw-event-postponements Wed, 18 Mar 2020 09:16:44 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/upcoming-usw-event-postponements The United Steelworkers union is passionate about member education and bringing people together to take on important issues. But the union is equally passionate about keeping USW members safe at work and at home. This is the reason that the union is cancelling or postponing a number of upcoming events in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The work of the union needs to still continue during this time, but it is with the utmost commitment to the safety and wellbeing of USW members, local union leaders and union staff.

A tremendous thanks to all of the people who have been involved in organizing these events. We look forward to rescheduling as soon as possible. 

National

All nationally organized educationals and conferences are postponed until mid-May.

The National Health, Safety and Environment Committee Meeting, scheduled for April 7-8, will be postponed until a later date (to be determined).

The National Indigenous Gathering, scheduled for April 15-16, will be postponed to March 24-25, 2021.

The Canadian Labour Congress Convention in Vancouver, scheduled for May 4-8, will be postponed until later this calendar year. 

Steelworker Summer at the Canadian National Office has been cancelled for 2020.

District 3

All educationals will be postponed until the beginning of May and other events will be re-evaluated at that time.

Steel, Pipe & Rolling Mill Meeting in Calgary, March 30-31 – postponed

Saskatchewan Election Meeting in Regina, April 1  postponed

Wood Council Executive Meeting in Burnaby, April 8  postponed 

The Health, Safety and Environment Conference in Saskatoon, May 11-13 – postponed to May 17-20, 2021

District 5

All educationals will be postponed until after April 14, in line with the Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec (FTQ). 

District 6

All educationals are postponed until after May 31.

Organizing course, March 30-April 3, 2020  postponed

Arbitration course, April 27-May 1, 2020  postponed

The Atlantic Conference, May 13-15  postponed

The Women of Steel Conference in Hamilton, June 8-10  postponed until 2021

Steelworker Summer in District 6 has been cancelled for 2020.

COVID-19 Resources for Workers

More information will be posted to the website as it becomes available. Thank you for your understanding.

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COVID-19 Recommendations: Postponing Local Union Meetings https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/covid-19-update-postponing-local-union-meetings Fri, 13 Mar 2020 11:33:57 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/covid-19-update-postponing-local-union-meetings With the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that the Corona Virus / COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, it is recommended that local unions postpone or cancel any meetings that are scheduled to occur in the near future. For monthly local union meetings, please employ the discretion found in the constitution allowing locals to meet less frequently.  

With the number of cases in Canada still relatively low, it is important to remain calm and not panic – but also take all necessary precautions to keep USW members and their families safe. The expectation is that the situation could escalate over the coming days and weeks, so it is crucial that we all take measures to best ensure our collective wellbeing.

The union is monitoring the situation closely as it continues to evolve and is following the advice of health authorities. Any additional information will be posted on the website and on the union’s social media.

There are several, common sense precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of becoming ill with COVID-19 or of spreading the virus to others, including:

  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The symptoms seem to begin 2 to 14 days after an exposure.
  • If you develop symptoms, call your health care provider for advice rather than stopping by their office where you may infect others.
  • If you have had a known exposure to someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19 or is quarantined, self-quarantine for two weeks.
  • Avoid crowded settings, to the best of your ability or reduce your time there.
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Women Labour Activists Demand Transformative Agenda in Geneva https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/women-labour-activists-demand-transformative-agenda-in-geneva Wed, 11 Mar 2020 16:19:56 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/women-labour-activists-demand-transformative-agenda-in-geneva More than 200 trade union women, including a delegation of Steelworkers, traveled from their 60 home countries to Geneva, Switzerland, last fall for IndustriALL Global Union’s World Women’s Conference.

Click here for a full report

Pictured: USW Director of State and Regulatory Policy Anna Fendley, District 11 Assistant to the Director Cathy Drummond, District 1 Assistant to the Director Teresa Hartley, and District 3 Education Coordinator Dayna Sykes.

During the conference, the participants took stock of the situation of gender equality in our unions and explored how to transform trade union structures, cultures and practices. 

Participants recognised that this transformation is necessary not only to fight against gender inequality, but much more fundamentally to ensure the survival of our organizations in a rapidly changing world of work. 

Recommendations that came out of the conference lay the foundations for a broader transformation of our unions towards more democracy, equality, inclusion and diversity.

“Ideally, we would have spaces in our unions where everyone’s opinion is valued and where there is a real willingness and openness to learn from each other,” said the USW’s Anna Fendley.

Attendees unanimously passed a resolution demanding radical changes to the way their unions operate to ensure women’s equal representation, participation and leadership.

Click here to read that resolution.

ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at Work

The conference participants also endorsed a resolution calling on the IndustriALL Executive Committee to support the joint global union campaign to promote the implementation and ratification of the new ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment at work.

Violence and harassment in the world of work can happen everywhere – online, in the physical workplace, during the commute, where workers rest, eat or attend to their health and sanitation needs, as well as at social gatherings.

Why is C190 important?

  • Violence and harassment in the world of work cannot be tolerated
  • This is the first international standard that aims to put an end to violence and harssment in the world of work
  • It recognizes that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment
  • The Convention will cover existing gaps in national legislation

C190 provides a momentum for trade unions and other stakeholders to fight violence and harassment in the world of work. Unions have an important role to play to make sure the Convention becomes part of national laws.

To learn more about the campaign to #RATIFYC190, click here.

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Hard-Won First Contracts at Two Chartwell Retirement Facilities https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/hard-won-first-contracts-at-two-chartwell-retirement-facilities Tue, 10 Mar 2020 10:35:55 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/hard-won-first-contracts-at-two-chartwell-retirement-facilities After their employer, Chartwell, stalled negotiations in a failed attempt to weaken their resolve, workers at two retirement facilities in Alberta have officially become USW members with their first ratified collective bargaining agreements.

The two new units comprise approximately 200 members, who will join amalgamated Local 1-207, and include LPNs, activity aides, cooks, housekeepers, and more.

Members of the Chartwell bargaining teams, left to right: Misty Lafond, Ruby Sab-it, Maria Stantos, Shirley Clark. Not pictured are Zamantha Septimo and Lisa Boyce.

Workers at Chartwell Country Cottage Sherwood Park obtained multiple key advancements through their agreements, including wage increases, maternity and paternity leave and bereavement. The four-year contract at Chartwell’s St. Albert facility included, among other items, improved seniority and overtime language, wage increases and vacation time.

The negotiating committees spent more than a year working to get their employer to bargain a fair contract. Ray White, president of USW Local 1-207 and the lead bargainer at both tables, said frustration could have easily taken hold of the membership, but their will was stronger than their joint employer’s tactics. “These contracts would not have been possible without the dedication and perseverance of both bargaining committees and the patience and solidarity of the membership,” said White.

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Letter to the Prime Minister About Rail Blockades https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/letter-to-prime-minister-about-rail-blockades Fri, 14 Feb 2020 15:07:46 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/letter-to-prime-minister-about-rail-blockades USW National Director Ken Neumann expresses grave concerns to the prime minister about the rail blockades that are threatening jobs and asks that he take personal responsibility for this file and meet with all stakeholders to defuse the tensions in this conflict, find a resolution and demonstrate a genuine commitment to reconciliation.

Open Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:

I write to express our grave concerns regarding the growing numbers of rail blockades across Canada that threaten the Canadian economy and could result in the layoff of thousands of our members across Canada.

Our union’s members include thousands of Canadians who work in the rail sector, including members of Indigenous ancestry, who work hard every day to support their families, who support Indigenous rights and who now face uncertainty and potential job losses. We also have thousands of members whose jobs depend on commodity supply chains that rely on the Canadian railway transportation network.

Peaceful demonstration is fundamental to our democracy in Canada. It is a principle that is valued by the United Steelworkers (USW) and our members across the country. The USW also supports reconciliation and socio-economic justice that meets the standards and principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In our view, the root cause of this current crisis is that successive governments in Canada have repeatedly ignored their responsibilities on reconciliation with Indigenous nations and peoples. For years federal governments have paid lip service to dialogue and reconciliation, but have failed to take the profound and meaningful action that is required to achieve true reconciliation.

This abject failure is reflected in the current protests and rail blockades across Canada and as a result, we are writing to ask you to take personal responsibility for this file and meet with all stakeholders to defuse the tensions in this conflict, find a resolution and demonstrate a genuine commitment to reconciliation. The Canadian economy, and the livelihoods of many of our members, depends on the Canadian railway system and we urge you to intervene in this dispute.

Yours sincerely,

Ken Neumann
National Director

Download PDF

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USW Leaders Welcome Lily Chang to Team Unite CLC https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-leaders-welcome-lily-chang-to-team-unite-clc Thu, 13 Feb 2020 10:19:28 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-leaders-welcome-lily-chang-to-team-unite-clc Lily Chang, Bea Bruske, Siobhan Vipond, candidates for CLC leadershipThe USW Canadian Directors welcome Lily Chang to the Team Unite CLC slate and offer our endorsement of Lily’s candidacy for Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

“Lily is a strong leader and communicator who values advocacy and member mobilization. With her years of experience as treasurer at a large CUPE local, she’s a great addition to Team Unite CLC, running for CLC Secretary-Treasurer,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

On Feb. 7, the USW Canadian Directors endorsed Bea Bruske and Siobhan Vipond for President and Executive Vice-President at the upcoming CLC Convention in Vancouver (May 4-8).

“Our movement is strongest when we work together. I know that Bea, Lily and Siobhan are motivated to rebuild the unity of our movement through mobilizing and engaging our grassroots membership.”

The United Steelworkers union continues to believe in the viability and strength of the CLC despite challenges in recent years. The union knows the value a strong CLC can bring to all workers – not just those with the benefits of union membership. USW believes in the necessity of mobilizing together as a movement to make positive, progressive change for those who are marginalized and experiencing unfairness and injustice.

About Bea Bruske:

Bea is the Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 832 in Manitoba, a local union of 20,000 members strong. Bea is also Vice-President of the UFCW Canada National Council, which helps set the strategic direction for UFCW in Canada.

Over the past three decades, Bea has served workers and families as an activist, workers’ advocate, negotiator, community organizer and leader. Bea’s passion for the rights of working people was ignited in 1987, when she and her UFCW Local 832 co-workers held the line strong for 164 days to achieve a fair contract at the Westfair grocery chain in Manitoba. 

Bea also serves on a number of other UFCW committees, health and welfare trusts and the Manitoba Federation of Labour. Bea is a former NDP candidate and is an executive board member of the Manitoba NDP.

About Lily Chang:

Lily is a long-serving executive member of CUPE 79, CUPE’s largest local representing 20,000 municipal workers at the City of Toronto. Lily is a strong advocate for fairness and a strategic communicator with a proven track record when it comes to managing the books. Lily was Treasurer for Local 79 for 13 years and is currently an elected officer of the local focusing on member advocacy and grievance resolution.

Lily is on the Executive Board of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, chairs the Municipal Committee and is the Executive liaison to the Women’s Committee. Lily just completed a seven-year term as Labour Representative on the Board of Trustees for the United Way of Greater Toronto.

About Siobhan Vipond:

Siobhan is currently serving her fourth elected term as Secretary-Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). Siobhan works tirelessly to defend the rights of workers in both the private and public sector, and is an advocate on occupational health and safety, women's equality and the importance of workers' voices at all levels of government and industry. Siobhan is the Treasurer of the Alberta NDP.

Siobhan has been a key part of the AFL’s “Join the Resistance” campaign, pushing back against the numerous cuts by Jason Kenney’s provincial government. Under Siobhan's leadership, the AFL launched the Fair Start Campaign for Universal Early Childhood Education and Care in Alberta and is also the driving force behind labour’s increased participation in Pride events. Prior to the AFL, Siobhan worked as a stage and film technician and is a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), where she served numerous roles at IATSE Local 210.

For more information or to sign up for campaign updates, please visit: www.teamuniteclc.ca.

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USW Continues Its Call to Stop the Killing and Enforce the Law https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-continues-its-call-to-stop-the-killing-and-enforce-the-law Mon, 10 Feb 2020 12:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-continues-its-call-to-stop-the-killing-and-enforce-the-law On the first anniversary of a mining disaster in Brazil which killed 250 workers, the United Steelworkers union continues its call to stop the killing and ensure proper enforcement of the law.

Every year, more than 1,000 people in Canada are killed at work and it has long been an issue that police and prosecutors are not using existing laws that hold corporations and their leaders criminally accountable for the health and safety of the workforce.

Steelworkers have witnessed that when leaders and decision-makers are not held accountable for their negligence, it often only results in endangering the lives of workers. Fighting for justice is a never-ending task and USW is motivated by the towns, cities and professional associations across the country that have continued to offer their solidarity and support to our Stop the Killing campaign.

A podcast interview with USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt on what Canada and other countries need to do to ensure the health and safety of their workers worldwide can be found here

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USW Endorses Team Unite for CLC Leadership Race https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-endorses-team-unite-for-clc-leadership-race Fri, 07 Feb 2020 13:33:55 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/usw-endorses-team-unite-for-clc-leadership-race USW leaders have thrown their support behind Bea Bruske and Siobhan Vipond for Canadian Labour Congress President and Executive Vice-President at the upcoming CLC Convention in Vancouver (May 4-8).

“These two strong and experienced union leaders are stepping up to run for top roles at the CLC at the right time and for the right reasons,” said Ken Neumann, USW National Director.

“Our movement is strongest when we work together. I know that Bea and Siobhan are motivated to rebuild the unity of our movement through mobilizing and engaging our grassroots membership.”

The United Steelworkers union continues to believe in the viability and strength of the CLC despite challenges in recent years. The union knows the value a strong CLC can bring to all workers – not just those with the benefits of union membership. USW believes in the necessity of mobilizing together as a movement to make positive, progressive change for those who are marginalized and experiencing unfairness and injustice.

About Bea Bruske:

Bea is the Secretary-Treasurer of UFCW Local 832 in Manitoba, a local union of 20,000 members strong. Bea is also Vice-President of the UFCW Canada National Council, which helps set the strategic direction for UFCW in Canada.

Over the past three decades, Bea has served workers and families as an activist, workers’ advocate, negotiator, community organizer and leader. Bea’s passion for the rights of working people was ignited in 1987, when she and her UFCW Local 832 co-workers held the line strong for 164 days to achieve a fair contract at the Westfair grocery chain in Manitoba. 

Bea also serves on a number of other UFCW committees, health and welfare trusts and the Manitoba Federation of Labour. Bea is a former NDP candidate and is an executive board member of the Manitoba NDP.

About Siobhan Vipond:

Siobhan is currently serving her fourth elected term as Secretary-Treasurer of the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL). Siobhan works tirelessly to defend the rights of workers in both the private and public sector, and is an advocate on occupational health and safety, women's equality and the importance of workers' voices at all levels of government and industry. Siobhan is the Treasurer of the Alberta NDP.

Siobhan has been a key part of the AFL’s “Join the Resistance” campaign, pushing back against the numerous cuts by Jason Kenney’s provincial government. Under Siobhan's leadership, the AFL launched the Fair Start Campaign for Universal Early Childhood Education and Care in Alberta and is also the driving force behind labour’s increased participation in Pride events. Prior to the AFL, Siobhan worked as a stage and film technician and is a proud member of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), where she served numerous roles at IATSE Local 210.

For more information or to sign up for campaign updates, please visit: www.teamuniteclc.ca.

 

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Personal support worker shortage still plaguing Ontario nursing homes https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/psw-shortage-still-plaguing-on-nursing-homes Tue, 21 Jan 2020 11:14:36 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/psw-shortage-still-plaguing-on-nursing-homes A new report released in December showed that Ontario’s personal support workers are suffering from a chronically underfunded long-term care system. The report was based on roundtable discussions held in 2019, which included long-term care home directors, owners, administrators, PSWs, union reps, and other advocates.

Short staffing in the industry has long been a problem in Canada, and elsewhere, which undermines patient care and safety. A survey of 1,200 PSWs released in March 2019 showed alarming levels of violence in long-term care due to persistent understaffing.

Steelworkers in Ontario have been working with different agencies on these issues for quite some time, including Richard Leblanc, who sits on the USW Health Care Workers Council representing District 6. Last fall, Leblanc was able to organize a meeting of local labor unions, health care providers, workers, and members of the Ministry by partnering with Employment Services Centre (ESCPR), a local employment agency in Ontario that works with the government. There they were able to discuss concerns and set goals for improving the industry.

“One of our goals is to make the trade more accessible financially and to promote it better,” Leblanc said. “This will be good for everyone because we need bodies, we need workers.”

The report highlights that PSWs are leaving the industry due to demanding working conditions, poor compensation, high rates of injury and abuse, and lack of full-time work. These problems are not new and not confined to Canada. In the United States, violence in the health care industry has increased 30 percent since 2012.

To watch a video of a long-term home resident speaking on how the worker shortage affects patients and why things must change, click here.

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Health Care Workers Council talks organizing, technology at annual meeting https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/hcwc-talks-organizing-technology Mon, 13 Jan 2020 13:23:46 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2020/hcwc-talks-organizing-technology The union’s Health Care Workers Council strategized for the future of the union and the evolving industry in Pittsburgh last December, leaving the city with several action plans moving forward.

Over the group’s two-day session, the activists reported on their districts’ work, including pushing legislators to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act. The bill passed the House late last year, thanks in large part to the council’s work with the Rapid Response program collecting more than 80,000 postcards in support of the legislation, which now faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate.

hcwcdec2019

The diverse council of heath care members also talked about the coming of automation and the impact it is already having on the industry. District 12 Health Care Council Coordinator Alma Garzon spoke on her experience attending Unite the Union’s health care conference last fall that focused on automation and technology.

“Technology absolutely is a great tool to use,” said Garzon, “but it should not replace bodies and real workers.”

Another challenge facing the health care industry the members touched on was short-staffing. But activists like Kim Smith, a health care staff representative in District 9, believe there is more opportunity than opposition when it comes to fixing this and many other problems.

“The health care sector right now is primed for organizing,” said Smith.

USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the council, addressed the group and also agreed that there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future. He said the work of the council is indicative of the recent changes in the union toward expanding its organizing efforts and diversifying an already diverse membership.

“This is a growth sector,” said Redmond. “And how we grow this council and get engaged is going to be crucial in strengthening our ability to represent health care workers. Our union is on the move.”

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Wishing you a happy end of 2019 and thank you https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2019/happy-end-of-2019-and-thank-you Mon, 23 Dec 2019 10:22:58 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2019/happy-end-of-2019-and-thank-you Greetings,

I’m writing to wish you a happy end of the year. With a little over a week left of 2019, I am reaching out to thank you for your efforts in building our union this year.

From local union barbeques and anniversary events to rallies and picket lines, tens of thousands of USW members have worked tirelessly to make our union stronger. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish together. We fought for an end to unfair steel and aluminum tariffs, we took on corporate giants like ABI, Glencore and Western Forest Products with determination and grit and we pushed the federal government on NAFTA/USMCA.

We also brought together more than 600 local union leaders, staff and rank and file activists for our National Policy Conference in Vancouver in April, which was a great success. There was the federal election, where hundreds of USW members engaged in local campaigns and Steelworkers Vote schools.

As a union, we supported members who were out on strike or locked out by bullish employers. To be sure, we lost members due to layoffs and workplace closures, which is painful and a terrible tragedy for our union and communities. But we have also gained thousands of new members, who made the courageous choice to stand up for the rights and join USW. This is a great source of optimism and renewal.

At the international level, our union underwent important leadership changes with the retirement of our mentors and friends Leo W. Gerard and Carol Landry and a number of others. Thank to you everyone who attended the very special tribute event in October. Our International President Tom Conway is off to an exciting start and I am looking forward to continuing to work together. 

It has been a busy year, but a gratifying one. Next year promises more excitement, with a steel sector conference and lobby in Ottawa, the Canadian Labour Congress Convention in Vancouver (both in May), the USW International Convention in Las Vegas in August and our Justice Conference (Health, Safety, Environment and Human Rights) in Montreal and much more. We’ll have many opportunities to meet, exchange ideas and build our union now and for the future.

Over the next week, I hope that you’ll have the opportunity for time off with loved ones. On behalf of USW members across the country and with the Directors of District 3, 5 and 6, I wish you a happy end of the year and a great beginning of 2020. I’m looking forward to this upcoming year.

In solidarity,

Ken Neumann
National Director

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USW Cares: 2019 Jefferson Award Winners Announced https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2019/usw-cares-2019-jefferson-award-winners-announced Mon, 16 Dec 2019 09:00:00 -0500 https://www.usw.ca/news/media-centre/articles/2019/usw-cares-2019-jefferson-award-winners-announced Since 2015, the USW has partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, recently renamed Multiplying Good, to celebrate Steelworkers who do amazing works of community service, and to show the world that Steelworkers have big hearts.

The USW is proud to have generous and compassionate members who foster a culture of giving back in our union. Don’t forget to nominate members who are active in their communities for the USW Jefferson Awards and encourage your brothers and sisters to do the same!

The Canadian winners follow:

District 3 – Brian Arnold, retired from Local 7619: Over the nearly 30 years he worked in a mine and over the course of his lifetime, even after he retired, Brian has devoted his life on a daily basis to the sincerest service and care of everyone around him. He visits hospitals to check on friends and co-workers, he volunteers as a pastor to those who are sick or otherwise afflicted, and he has participated in countless community events and fundraisers for worthy causes.

District 5 – Gilles Bordeleau, retired from Local 6887: Although retired, Gilles is still active in his local as a member of its Retirement Committee. He meets with workers and their families to explain the defined benefit pension plan and other benefits.

Bordeleau is founder of the breakfast program “Petits déjeuners CCR” for the children of St-Octave school of Montréal-East. He organizes the collection of Christmas baskets for distribution to the most disadvantaged people of the Montréal-East and Pointe-aux-Trembles area, and he created a soccer league for people with trisomy, a genetic disorder.

District 6 – Alex Patterson, Local 6500: Alex is on the Health Sciences North Foundation Board in Sudbury, Ontario. He dedicates much of his spare time and energy to the board, which funds a variety of projects for the hospital ranging from raising money for equipment to donating to other causes that help better serve hospital patients. Most recently, the board has been raising funds to purchase two badly needed MRI machines for the hospital.

SOAR – Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, District 3: Eleanor organizes the annual Terry Fox Run, fundraises for Relay for Life, is heavily involved with her church’s service and philanthropy, volunteers for Silver City Days, cooks and serves food for junior hockey teams and fans at Cominco Arena, provides service and support to struggling community members at Trail Association for Community Living, is serving her fourth consecutive term as a city councilor, and does so much more. She is truly devoted to building her community. Friends say her impact is priceless.

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