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Ken Georgetti defeated; Canadian Labour Congress shifts to the left

An important shift has taken place in the Canadian labour movement.  For the first time in history, a sitting president of the Canadian Labour Congress, which represents 3.3-million workers, has lost an election.  A long-shot challenge from a militant, but well-connected, staffer for the Public Service Alliance of Canada shook the CLC leadership enough to expose their divisions. When the dust settled, the largest convention in the history of the CLC, with nearly 5,000 delegates, elected brother Hassan Yussuff as president of the CLC by a margin of just 40 votes.

Trouble in the oil patch: Oil workers sacked in favour of temporary foreign workers

In early February, 65 workers at the Kearl tar sands mine in Northern Alberta were laid off without warning or reason. The workers, highly-skilled tradespeople and members of the Ironworkers Union, contend that their sacking came about because the company operating the mine wanted to hire cheaper labour from Croatia.  This is the fate facing workers, even in the highly profitable oil sector, under capitalism today.

Support striking truck drivers at the Port of Metro Vancouver!

Over 400 truck drivers organized with Unifor-Vancouver Container Truckers' Association (Unifor-VCTA) have set up pickets at the Port of Metro Vancouver Authority.  They have gone on strike after rejecting a last minute deal that only contained minor concessions from the Metro Vancouver Port authority. They join the 1,000 truck drivers of the United Truck Drivers Association who have been on strike since Feb 26. It is estimated that over 90% of traffic through the port has now been stopped. Both unionized and non-unionized truck drivers are fighting for the right to make a fair living.

Toronto NDP youth organize town-hall to stop the attacks on Canada Post

On Fri. Jan. 27, the Toronto Young New Democrats (TYND) organized a town-hall meeting titled “Save Canada Post”. The meeting was well attended with over 60 in attendance representing NDP youth, both rank-and-file and elected representatives from CUPW, and other activists from around the city. Everyone there recognized the vital need to stop the attacks on Canada's public postal service.

Save Canada Post!

On December 11, the day after Parliament broke for Christmas holidays, Canada Post’s management announced that they plan to end home mail delivery.  The bombshell announcement came as a complete shock to many.  While Conservative MPs maintain that this decision was made solely by the Crown corporation without input from the government, this explanation is believed by no one.  Tory MPs were quick to fall back on the government line that these cuts were necessary to ensure the future viability of Canada Post. In fact, they are likely designed to do the precise opposite — to prepare for the break-up and privatization of the Crown corporation, and the destruction of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

Support striking workers at Renaud-Bray bookstores

Around 250 workers at Renaud-Bray bookstores in Quebec went on a 48-hour strike this past weekend after 10 months of fruitless negotiation where management has refused to fulfill not even one of the workers’ demands. The workers have been negotiating since November of last year. Earlier this month, the workers overwhelmingly voted for a strike mandate, with 81% supporting the need to go on strike if negotiations did not move forward.

Quebec: Construction workers on first industry-wide strike in 20 years

Five unions, which represent a total of 175,000 construction workers across Quebec, went on strike as of Sunday midnight when negotiation broke down. This is the first province-wide strike of construction workers in 20 years. Union leader Yves Ouellet said, “We have the right to strike and that’s what we are going to do.” Construction across the province has ground to a stop, hurting the bosses’ pocketbooks.

Alberta prison guards’ wildcat: a lesson for the entire labour movement

A wildcat strike by prison guards shook Alberta, paralyzing the prison system and quickly escalating. The government's response to safety complaints by workers in the prison system only provoked anger; what started as a wildcat strike at one remand centre quickly spread across the province, affecting every correctional facility in the province. The government has agreed to a safety review and the strike is over. There are lessons for the entire labour movement in this inspiring militant strike.

End the Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Good enough to work, good enough to stay!

One of the most disgraceful aspects of Canadian labour policy has come under the spotlight after Canadian banking giant RBC recently sacked 45 workers within their information technology (IT) division, outsourcing those jobs to lower-waged workers from India.  What was supposed to be a minor shuffling of jobs has, instead, become a raging scandal. Ostensibly meant to help fill labour shortages in Canada, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in reality, is an opening for the bosses to further push down wages for all workers, in addition to massively exploiting foreign workers who are not subject to the same labour laws as their Canadian counterparts.

Strike at Porter Airlines: Workers fight for decent wages and safety

Since the beginning of January, Porter Airlines aircraft fuelers at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto have been on strike over safer working conditions and a living wage. The 22 fuelers formed a union after they suffered years of continued understaffing, high turnover rates, and serious injuries on the job.  Over the last three months, Porter Airlines Inc., has put forward a relentless and stubborn attack on the unionized workers, refusing to pay them anything less than poverty wages and even neglecting health and safety concerns. This is a circumstance far too familiar for workers across this country today, as companies increasingly strategize to cut costs by all means necessary in order to maintain their profits.

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