Support BC teachers and the right to collective bargaining!

As this article is being written, BC schools remain empty even though the first day of school was supposed to have arrived for thousands of students. The province’s 40,000 teachers remain on strike, locked out, or both, depending on whom you ask.  The provincially-appointed mediator, Vince Ready, walked out on negotiations over the weekend claiming that the sides were “too far apart”. With no end in sight to the dispute, it is clear that the BC government has no interest in negotiating and is looking to hammer teachers.

Unifor workers take a stand against Bombardier in Thunder Bay

Members of Unifor local 1075, consisting of 900 trades and assembly line workers at Bombardier's Thunder Bay plant, have been on strike since July 14 over the issue of pensions and benefits for newer hires. This follows a strike in 2011 over more or less the same issues, which once again has Bombardier demanding concessions of its workers at the same time that its business continues to boom.

The ABCs of the BC teachers' strike

On May 26, teachers across B.C. took to the picket lines in a series of rotating strikes, protesting the unwillingness of the B.C. government to bargain on key issues. The teachers, represented by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), have maintained that class size and composition are equally a part of contract negotiations as wages. The government is adamant that teachers should accept lesser wage increases and that class size and composition are not negotiable. This is only the latest dispute in a 12-year saga that has left a lasting mark on the labour movement of B.C.

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.

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