Toronto library workers reach settlement after strike

Ending an 11-day strike, Toronto public library employees returned to work on Friday, March 30 after members of CUPE Local 4948 voted to accept a new contract. Workers had walked off the job after contract negotiations with the Library Board broke down. City representatives desired greater “flexibility” in denying job security to permanent library employees, by making it easier to lay off workers in the event of outsourcing or technological changes. By going on strike, Toronto library workers illustrated that the only way to fight austerity is by challenging the bosses and their government lackeys head-on.

Conservative government once again sides with Air Canada management with back-to-work legislation

For the fourth time in less than a year, the Conservative government used back-to-work legislation to take away the right to strike by Canadian workers.  The Tories prohibited  8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers, and ground crew (represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — IAMAW), as well as 3,000 pilots at Air Canada, from striking — a clear violation of the constitutional right of workers to exercise their power of collective bargaining. The struggle at Air Canada is more than just about wages — it is about workers’ very right to organize and to strike.  These are fundamental democratic rights that are at stake, and this affects all workers, not just those at Air Canada.

Wildcat strikers score victory over Air Canada

A series of concessions by labour leaders across the country has put a dampener on the mood of the labour movement recently.  Workers have been told that all they can hope for are reduced benefits, less job security, and they should be thankful to even have a job.  However, a wildcat strike by hundreds of Air Canada workers across the country have shown that in spite of a timid leadership, workers are prepared to mount a massive fight against the bosses’ austerity agenda and flex their collective muscle.  More importantly, this show of strength can actually work and result in victory for workers.

Break the lockouts! Solidarity action can beat bosses' offensive

At Rio Tinto Alcan in Saguenay and at Caterpillar’s Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, workers have been locked-out facing obscene concessions. Approximately 30,000 City of Toronto workers are facing a lockout in early February. This is just the start of a cross-Canada bosses’ offensive against workers in 2012. This is no longer the normal back-and-forward of union negotiations — it is the beginning of naked class war by management against labour. This offensive can be defeated, but only with concerted solidarity action by every sector of the working class.

Rio Tinto Alcan lockout is another blow to workers in Quebec

The past year has been particularly difficult for thousands of workers across Quebec and the rest of Canada.  Workers have had to deal with back-to-work legislation, the closing down of various factories, and defeats at the negotiating table. On New Year’s Eve, Rio Tinto Alcan managers met to discuss the rejection of the proposed collective agreement of the three union units at the plant in Alma, Quebec.  Overnight, the bosses sent security guards into the factory to remove the workers there — a lockout was declared.  The plant employs close to 800 workers and is one of the largest aluminum producers in North America.

465 CAW members locked-out at London Caterpillar plant as bosses demand 50% wage cut

465 members of the Canadian Auto Workers are currently locked-out at Caterpillar's Electro-Motive Diesel Plant in London.  Shamefully, the company is demanding a 50% pay cut from its employees.  This lockout cannot be seen in isolation; it is part of a broad assault by the ruling class, who are attacking workers and pushing down wages around the world.  This struggle could be precedent-setting and have wide implications for workers across Canada.  The entire labour movement must respond.

Support York Region transit workers: Fund public transit!

Over 600 transit workers in the York Region area have been on strike, affecting 85 bus routes. For nine weeks, these workers have been fighting with a host of private contractors operating the York Region Transit (YRT) services, to get better wages and working conditions. Throughout the labour dispute, these transit workers, organized in the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) locals 113 and 1587, have pointed to the fact that they are far underpaid compared to their counterparts in neighbouring jurisdictions.

Support striking workers at McGill University

It has been nearly a year since the McGill University Non-Academic Certified Association (MUNACA) began negotiations with the university administration for a new contract.  By November 2011, MUNACA workers will have been on strike for two months, and the only movement from McGill so far has been to increasingly restrict the freedoms of its own employees as they attempt to get their voices heard and negotiate a fair contract.  Most recently, MUNACA and McGill broke off talks as the union's key demands received no recognition from the university.  The situation is rapidly coming to a head.

Fightback supports #OccupyToronto: We say, "Nationalize the banks!"

Fightback, the Marxists in Canada, wholeheartedly support the #occupy movement, and will do whatever we can to promote and spread it. Our comrades in the United States, organized in the Workers International League, are already active participants in New York and other major cities where the movement has spread. In Canada, we are doing our part in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, and especially Toronto -- the heart of Canadian finance capital. The key step for this movement is to take it from the street to the wider working class and labour movement. Not a light shines, not a wheel turns, without the permission of the working class; if we can mobilize working people we will win the power to overcome the corporations.

Air Canada and the fight against "back-to-work" legislation

The recent labour dispute between flight attendants and Air Canada management, ending under threat of “back-to-work” legislation, highlights that the democratic right to strike is under serious threat. The right to withdraw one’s labour is an essential component of the right of freedom of association for workers; without this right, workers and their unions have little ability to negotiate decent working conditions. The use of back-to-work legislation effectively means that no workers have the right to strike without government approval. Especially with a Harper majority government, this tool can be pulled out haphazardly as the Conservatives fight to protect the interests of big business in Canada at the expense of workers.

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