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.

Support Ontario teachers — Defy illegitimate laws [UPDATED]

[UPDATE] After a ruling by the Ontario Labour Relations Board at 4:00am on Friday morning, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) cancelled plans for a one-day walkout. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) subsequently followed suit, cancelling plans for a walkout next week. We do not know what internal debates took place within the ETFO executive, but the reality of the situation is that some sector of the working class is going to need to make a stand — even if it means breaking the law — or these attacks are only going to continue to get worse. Teachers are on the front line in defending the democratic rights of workers to free collective bargaining and it is vitally important that everything be done to support their actions and spread the struggle.

Toronto transit workers face threat of privatization

The latest front in the battle against capitalist austerity was drawn recently with various proposals to privatize key sections of the Toronto Transit Commission’s present, and future, maintenance operations. This is hardly the first salvo aimed at Toronto transit workers, but one that underscores the bosses’ determination of passing the austerity bill onto the shoulders of workers.

Video from Ontario teachers' "Funeral for Collective Bargaining Rights"

Today, we publish a video of Toronto teacher Janet Csontos, responding to Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty's attack on Ontario teachers' rights. Janet is a teacher at the Student School in Toronto, a member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), and a supporter of Fightback magazine. Janet is speaking against McGuinty's "Putting Students First" Act, at the Funeral for Collective Bargaining at Queen's Park, organized by rank-and-file Ontario teachers.

The New Union Project: Fightback speaks with CEP president Dave Coles

On 20 August 2012, Dave Coles, sat down for a short interview with Fightback’s Mike Palecek to talk about the New Union Project, a proposed merger between the Communication, Energy, and Paperworkers union (CEP) and the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW).  Dave Coles is the president of the CEP;  Mike Palecek is a national union rep with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The CAW and CEP's "New Union Project": Fightback's opinion

Organized labour stands at an impasse. Union density in Canada has dropped from just under 40%, to the current level of about 30%. It is even worse in the private sector, where the manufacturing crisis has reduced the private-sector unionization rate to 17%. The capitalist crisis has unleashed a wave of attacks by the bosses. Lockouts, privatization, back-to-work legislation, legislated contracts, contracting out, and off-shoring have been used to beat down unionized workers. In response, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers (CEP) have proposed uniting their forces, in a New Union with over 300,000 workers. Fightback considers this fusion to be a positive step forward. However, size alone will not solve the problems of the union movement; to really build the movement, militant and democratic methods, linked to the formation of a socialist society, are necessary.

Conservative government imposes back-to-work order on striking CP Rail workers

The fundamental rights of Canadian workers have yet again been unfairly targeted by the federal Conservative government. Since the Tories won a majority last May, they have now brought in back-to-work legislation five times. On Monday, the Tories introduced legislation to stop 4,800 conductors and locomotive engineers from the Canadian Pacific Railway (represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference) from striking. This is a clear attack on the constitutional right of workers to exercise their power of collective bargaining.

Fighting the attack on university labour: CUPE 3902 and the struggle for education workers' rights

Public education has not been immune to the cuts and austerity measures recently doled out by the likes of the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government or Rob Ford-led municipal government in Toronto. The bosses in the education sector have readily adopted this culture and developed their own hostility towards any kind of labour action on the campuses. The recent labour battle with CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto are a clear reflection of these attacks.

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