BC’s Fight for $15 can’t wait | Toronto passes strict Airbnb rules aimed at preserving long-term rental supply | Alberta’s Bill 30 and the right to refuse | Stopping Sexual Abuse on the Job Begins With Empowering Workers | Suncor to appeal after random drug and alcohol testing blocked by injunction | Canadian Banks Accused Of ‘Gouging’ After Clocking $42 Billion In Profit | UPS overworking its workers | Arbitration panel awards Nova Scotia civil servants 7% wage hike over 6 years | Ottawa MPs inundated with pleas from Phoenix victims |
Confronting Zero Tolerance
RankandFile.ca, December 8
Bosses are in love with zero tolerance policies. One arbitrator calls them “the last refuge of weak managers.” Zero tolerance policies authorize employers to discharge workers who commit specified infractions without consideration of the surrounding circumstances, length of service, or the employee’s lack of prior discipline.
BC’s Fight for $15 can’t wait
RankandFile.ca, December 7
When the BCNDP wins government in B.C., the business class gets mobilized. Unfortunately the labour movement too often gets timid or co-opted, convinced that backroom conversations are more important than public pressure and mobilization. With the BCNDP under sustained pressure from the corporate class, this is a recipe for disappointment and defeat. The more public pressure that can be mobilized in the coming weeks and months, the more likely the BCNDP government will adopt a faster timeline and the less effective the business backlash will be. The workers of this province need this and we need it now. When it comes to raising the minimum wage to $15/hr, it’s time for a movement in B.C.
Alberta’s Bill 30 and the right to refuse
RankandFile.ca, December 6
Last week, Alberta’s government introduced Bill 30 (An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans). This legislation replaces the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as amended the Workers’ Compensation Act.
$15 and the B.C. Fair Wages Commission: An interview with Irene Lanzinger
RankandFile.ca, December 5
The Government of BC is currently hearing from individuals and businesses across the province regarding timelines for increasing the minimum wage to $15/h; what to do with the minimum wage rates for farm workers, liquor servers, live-in caregivers, resident caretakers, and live-in camp leaders, which are currently lower than the general minimum wage of $11.35; and how to square the minimum with the living wage for various parts of the province. Rankandfile.ca spoke with Irene Lanzinger, the president of the B.C. Federation of Labour.
In Other News
Suncor to appeal after random drug and alcohol testing blocked by injunction
Edmonton Journal, December 7
Suncor will not be able to start randomly testing employees at its oilsands site for drugs and alcohol after an Edmonton judge granted an injunction Thursday. The injunction blocks the energy company’s plan to start random testing for about 4,600 safety-sensitive and critical management positions at its mine site north of Fort McMurray while its five-year court battle over the program with its workers’ union continues.
Toronto passes strict Airbnb rules aimed at preserving long-term rental supply
Globe and Mail, December 7
Toronto City Council has passed new rules to crack down on short-term rental services such as Airbnb that will restrict listings to principal residences and ban homeowners from listing secondary suites such as basement apartments. The basement-apartment issue dominated what snowballed into a daylong debate at city hall. Banning them from short-term rentals was meant to preserve scarce affordable units for Toronto’s ultratight long-term rental market, which has a vacancy rate of less than 1 per cent.
Arbitration panel awards Nova Scotia civil servants 7% wage hike over 6 years
CBC News, December 7
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and the largest public sector union in the province both claimed victory Thursday after an arbitration panel awarded a seven per cent wage increase over six years for 7,000 civil servants. The panel upheld the government’s four-year wage package with a three per cent increase, but extended the deal for two more years with a four per cent increase. The contract runs from 2015 to 2021.
Canadian Banks Accused Of ‘Gouging’ After Clocking $42 Billion In Profit
Huffington Post, December 6
A prominent policy watchdog group is calling on Canada to toughen banking oversight, saying the banks’ record profits this year are a sign it’s time to stop “gouging and abuse.” The big six banks just finished reporting their fourth-quarter earnings, and according to calculations by Democracy Watch, they earned $42 billion in profit collectively in fiscal 2017. That’s a 13-per-cent increase over the previous year and double the profits the banks made as recently as 2010. Flush with cash, the banks set aside $14.3 billion for bonuses this year, an 11-per-cent increase from the year before, Bloomberg reports.
Superstore employees come forward after hate-filled video surfaces
Global News, December 4
Video of a racist tirade in a Calgary Superstore this weekend has prompted other employees to come forward with their own stories of abuse at the hands of customers. On Monday, Monique Maglalang told Global News she’s worked for Superstore for 20 years and can clearly remember the day when she was physically assaulted.
Stopping Sexual Abuse on the Job Begins With Empowering Workers
The Nation, December 7
Chicago hotel housekeepers will report to work with a new piece of gear in the coming months: not buckets and gloves, but a small electronic alarm, which they can sound if they encounter the occupational hazard that’s haunted them silently for years: a sexual attack. The “panic button” fits in a housekeeper’s palm, but it’s the product of a massive public campaign led by the hotel workers union, UNITE HERE, for a local law to provide the devices as part of standard safety gear. More than an emergency technology, it’s a symbol of solidarity and recognition amid a culture of fear and silence. But the button just marks a start of a global conversation on redressing and preventing gender-based violence at work.
Ottawa MPs inundated with pleas from Phoenix victims
CBC News, December 5
In Orléans, a suburb densely packed with federal public servants, MP Andrew Leslie said his office has staffers who are now dedicated to sorting out Phoenix calls. “It’s been a disaster. It’s been painful progress,” said Leslie. “We continue to raise pressure on us, the government, to do all it can to fix it.” That pressure from her caucus colleagues means Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada Carla Qualtrough is now getting it from all sides.
$100K fine recommended in workplace death of young Australian in Inuvik
CBC News, December 4
On Tuesday in Inuvik, lawyers agreed on a plea deal in the 2016 workplace death of David Vinnicombe, and recommended a $100,000 fine against the company involved. Allen Services & Contracting Ltd. and a company supervisor originally faced nine charges under the territory’s Safety Act, but pleaded guilty in October to one charge: “failing to ensure that all workers are sufficiently and competently supervised.”
Back to the 19th century at UPS
Socialist Worker, December 8
UPS is proving that it will go to any length to make profits this busy holiday shipping season–and the people who work for the multibillion-dollar logistics giant are paying the price. UPS has implemented a mandatory 70-hour workweek for Teamsters who drive the brown trucks called package cars.