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Air Canada workers forced to strike to defend pensions and wages

As of Tuesday morning, nearly 4,000 customer service workers at Air Canada went on strike.  Unionized under the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW), the Air Canada workers are one of four unions currently fighting for better wages and to defend their pension rights from the company.  Since 2004, workers at Air Canada have had their wages frozen (an effective 10% wage cut) while the airline and its executive collect massive profits.

Postal workers prepare for the picket lines

The election of a Conservative majority government in Canada is a turning point for the Canadian labour movement. Until now, Canada has mostly avoided the kind of austerity program being forced upon the rest of the world. This is certain to change now that Stephen Harper has gained a majority. The first attack will be against members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). The militant traditions of CUPW make us a prime target for Harper’s first battle.

Lock-out at Moosehead Breweries: Defend workers' pensions!

As this article is being written, workers at Moosehead Breweries in Saint John have been locked out since 20th February. The central issue in this dispute are the workers’ retirement, health, and dental benefits plan. Under the previous, expired collective agreement signed with Local 362 of the New Brunswick Union (NBU), the company paid 100% of the costs of the benefits programs. Moosehead workers fought hard for this gain and have enjoyed it for 30 years. Now, the company is demanding that workers pay 30 percent of these costs after retirement.

Canadian postal workers prepare for battle

Across the country, members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) are preparing to hit the picket line. Strike committees are being assembled; picket signs are being printed; picket captains are being recruited and trained; activists are holding shop-floor meetings; demonstrations are being held — and we haven’t even taken a strike-vote, yet! Canada Post has been preparing for this fight for years. They have presented the most regressive package of demands we have seen in a generation and they’re counting on Stephen Harper to ram them through.

Labour movement shows solidarity at The People vs. US Steel rally in Hamilton

On January 29, thousands of people gathered in solidarity with the 900 locked-out steelworkers and 9,000 pensioners from Hamilton’s US Steel plant. Trade unionists and supporters bussed into Hamilton from across the region, with some coming from as far away as Quebec. United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1005, which represents the US Steel workers and pensioners, had been organizing towards this event, called The People vs. US Steel, since they were locked out on 7th November of last year; since the lockout began, the local had built up support both in Hamilton and the wider labour movement by holding numerous public events leading up to the rally.

Quebec childcare workers mobilize to fight back

For years, Quebec home childcare workers have been fighting for collective rights and fair representation. The provincial government has been using bureaucracy and rhetoric to undermine their progress. This October, workers finally decided that it was time to fight back.

Journal de Montreal lock-out: 1 boss, 253 workers, 680 days, 10,000 protesters

This past Saturday (4th Dec.), thousands of workers, coming from as far as Gaspesie, braved the cold to march in solidarity with the locked out employees of Journal de Montréal. Pierre Karl Peladeau, a media baron who owns 99 newspapers and magazines, has locked out the Journal de Montréal workers for nearly two years. These 253 workers have become a symbol of resistance against the media monopoly of the big bourgeoisie.

Hamilton Steelworkers Fight US Steel Lockout

On November 7, US Steel locked out over 900 employees at its Hamilton plant. This followed failed attempts to bypass the union and directly force workers to vote on pension cuts dictated by corporate headquarters. United Steelworkers Local 1005 argued that the company was negotiating in bad faith, noting that it had activated two blast furnaces in US plants while shutting down production at the Hamilton mill, and refused to hold a vote. The struggle of the Hamilton steelworkers is an important one as workers everywhere are forced to fight back to defend their jobs, wages, and benefits in this age of capitalist austerity.

Trouble brewing at McGill University

McGill University, one of the top 25 universities in the world, stands high amongst prestigious Ivy League universities like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. It boasts of itself as the centre of excellence. However, McGill’s reputation is built on the hard work of its teachers and staff, some of the most poorly paid in Quebec. In 1993, the teaching assistants (TAs) at McGill formed a union to better their conditions, but for a significant period afterwards, no other unions were formed. The majority of McGill workers were left without protection. Things are changing, however, and McGill’s administration is now fighting several unionization drives in an attempt to continue exploiting its workforce.

Hotel workers across North America protest corporate attacks

In the days leading up to Labour Day, UNITE-HERE workers at Hyatt hotels across North America have organized one-day strikes to protest attacks that Hyatt has been carrying out against their workforce as of late. These attacks have included attempts to lock-in recession-related cutbacks in workers’ pay, even though company profits have been improving. Many of these protests have included non-unionized workers, an inter-union solidarity that is vital in creating a genuine working-class fightback against the bosses' austerity agenda.