• 900 Devine St.Sarnia, Ontario N7T-1X5

As workplaces across Canada scramble to create rules to deal with legalized cannabis, labour experts are predicting there will be plenty of push back, including legal challenges.

Canada will become the second country to legalize recreation cannabis on Wednesday, prompting public- and private sector companies to modify existing substance-use policies or draft new ones.

In response, the country’s largest private-sector union, which represents thousands of workers in Southwestern Ontario, already has filed several grievances and is gearing up to take employers to court.

“We’re seeing zero-tolerance policies, but it’s not just zero-tolerance for impairment, it’s zero-tolerance for use,” said Niki Lundquist, a lawyer for Unifor, a union representing 315,000 workers across Canada.

“It’s as though an employer suddenly thinks it has the right to police off-duty conduct.”

A leading labour lawyer says the rules governing what employees can do during work hours are straight forward, but the issue gets trickier when it comes to mandating what workers do in their own time.

“It’s going to be really difficult to regulate what you do off duty.” said Mario Torres, an Ottawa-based labour-employment lawyer.

Rather than craft new policies to deal with cannabis, most employers are relying on established legal principals already in place that can apply to cannabis. Just how strict the marijuana-use rules are will depend on nature of the work, Torres said, noting riskier jobs will come with tightened rules.

“The culture of the workplace should determine whether you’ll have an issue as to the time period before your employee arrives to work before consuming cannabis,” he said.

Southwestern Ontario is home to employers like the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station in Kincardine and energy companies in Sarnia’s chemical valley which are likely to clamp down on employee pot use outside of work hours.

Though most companies are keeping their pot policies under wraps, police forces, airlines and the army have revealed their new rules.

Calgary police have banned officers from using cannabis entirely, while Toronto police say cops can’t use the drug within 28 days of duty, a decision the Toronto Police Association called “ill-contrived.”

Air Canada, meanwhile, is banning all employees in flight operations and aircraft maintenance from using marijuana at all times.

Some employers are adding clauses that give them the right to administer mandatory drug and alcohol testing, Lundquist said.

“Absent some link to damage to the employer’s operation or reputation, they don’t have that right,” she said, adding Unifor is preparing to take employers to court.

“Employers have fought really hard to subject workers to alcohol and drug testing, and workers have fought back because of the intrusion on . . . privacy rights.”

Unifor isn’t against drug testing, but says the presence of cannabis doesn’t necessarily imply a person is impaired,

“It’s why there’s been such a fight against random testing. The whole rational is to keep people out of the workplace in an impaired state, but there’s nothing in a random drug testing that confirms impairment,” she said.

Torres highlighted another thorny issue when it comes to workplace substance-use policies: medicinal marijuana.

Workers discriminated against for their use of medicinal marijuana will launch human-rights challenges, he said.

There were 296,000 prescription pot users registered with Health Canada as of May, up from 174,000 less than one year earlier, according to government statistics.

Another challenge that will arise is dealing with employees with cannabis dependencies, which is a protected right under the human rights code, he said.

“The employer has the obligation, the duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship. And it’s the same thing with alcohol,” he said.

TORONTOOct. 11, 2018 /CNW/ – Unifor is supporting Oxfam and Save the Children’s disaster relief efforts in Indonesiawith a combined $70,000 donation.

“The scale of the damage from the earthquake and tsunami is massive,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Save the Children Canada and Oxfam Canada are working with their Indonesian partners to provide vital aid, alleviate suffering and prevent further loss of life from spread of disease.”

On September 28, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s Sulawesi region, triggering a powerful tsunami. More than 2,000 have been killed, with the death toll expected to climb, as an estimated 5,000 people remain missing, feared buried or swept away.

While the Indonesian government has blocked access to some foreign aid, both Oxfam and Save the Children have deployed relief staff to the hardest hit areas. The Unifor Social Justice Fund has donated $35,000 each to Oxfam Canada and Save the Children Canada to provide medical care, shelter, food and clean water to the tens of thousands displaced by the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

“Oxfam and our local partners are aiming to reach 500,000 people with emergency aid supplies, such as mobile water treatment, hygiene kits, and essential household items, including clothing,” reports Ancilla Bere, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Manager in Indonesia.

Save the Children, operating through its local partner Yayasan Sayangi Tunas Cilik (YSTC), is also focusing on efforts to reunite lost children and provided care to orphans.

“I’m particularly worried about children who’ve been separated from their families or are now orphans because their parents have lost their lives in this tragedy,” said Zubedy Koteng, Child Protection Adviser for Save the Children Indonesia. “Many of these children are sleeping on the streets because they simply have nowhere to go. It’s hard to imagine a more frightening situation for a child.”

To donate visit www.oxfam.ca and www.savethechildren.ca.

SOURCE Unifor

For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at kathleen.okeefe@unifor.org or 416-896-3303 (cell).

Related Links

http://www.unifor.org

Started by a group of people centred in St. John’s Anglican Church in 1981, in Sarnia’s south end, The Inn of the Good Shepherd has become the centre for providing services to those who are in need of food, shelter and other essentials.

Community involvement is something that Local 848 is committed to, and during the holidays there is nothing more important than giving back to the community that the Local is a part of.

Every Thanksgiving, The Inn provides paper bags to be inserted into the Sarnia Journal to help collect donations for their food bank, and this year Unifor 848 donated $10,000 towards the printing of over 30,000 paper bags for donations.

Canada and the U.S. have announced a tentative new trilateral trade deal with Mexico that includes some key concessions on issues of import to both countries — and also a reworked name: the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“​USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a joint statement released late Sunday.

Read full article >


Shown here is some of the leadership of Unifor that had a major impact on the NAFTA deal.

Folks its done, and in no small part due to the efforts of this Unifor team. The deal went down right to the wire, not unlike many agreements we bargain. We are negotiators and that is why the Canadian Trade team wanted our leaders there. They wanted our expertise in bargaining to help out in those labour related items. Items that were very contentious have been dealt with in a manner that benefits all Canadians. Auto, media, softwood, and manufacturing as a whole have been dealt with in a manner that is advantageous to us. Investor State disputes….gone. No longer can the U.S. cry foul if we as Canadians decide we want to buy Canadian!

Folks, this is a huge win for us as Unifor, as the Labour movement – this is a huge win for us as Canadians! To be able to be a significant part in in the rewriting of this 45 year deal is absolutely huge.

This is what we do.

We are a Union that hits above its weight. We are a Union for not just our members, but for Labour everywhere. This is the Union you are apart of. This is Unifor!

Mark Mathewson
President
Unifor, local 848
Shell, Sarnia, Ontario
(519)466-1987
mark@mathewson.co

  • windsorstar.com
  • Thu May 17 2018
  • Byline: Dalson Chen, Windsor Star

A second tentative agreement has been reached between Caesars Windsor management and the union representing the casino resort’s striking workers.

Unifor Local 444 announced shortly after 1:30 a.m. that its bargaining team had struck a new deal with the company after negotiations resumed Tuesday.

The approximately 2,300 members represented by the union have been asked to continue their picket line duties until a ratification vote – the date and location of which has yet to be set.

Thursday marks Day 42 of the strike. Wages have been a major point of contention in the dispute.

Caesars Windsor employees – from dealers to maintenance crew to hotel staff – have been on strike since April 6.

At the time, the membership rejected a tentative agreement by a majority of 59 per cent.

On April 18, Local 444’s bargaining team brought a new deal to the company, only for the company to break off talks.

After weeks of no communication, the two sides returned to the table on Tuesday, with the assistance of a provincial conciliator.

Following a short session Tuesday, a marathon session that lasted more than 15 hours took place on Wednesday.

  • thespec.com
  • Thu May 17 2018
  • Section: News

WASHINGTON – There will be no deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement by the Thursday deadline imposed by a U.S. legislative leader, a Canadian government source said on Wednesday in an assessment that echoed the views of other people connected to the talks.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has repeatedly said that a NAFTA deal would have to be announced by Thursday in order for this Congress, which is controlled by Republicans, to hold a vote by the end of the year.

The Canadian source said there will be no deal of any kind by Thursday, even a partial “agreement in principle” that would cover a small number of topics.

There is not even a last-minute scramble to make a deal, the source said. Top officials from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are all in their respective home countries, there are no important meetings occurring, and several important issues remain unresolved.

Mexico’s economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, said Tuesday that “we do not think we will have it by Thursday.” Flavio Volpe, president of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said Wednesday that a deal by Thursday is not “realistic.” Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, a union representing Canadian auto workers, mocked the very idea of an immediate deal.

“There’s a better chance of me beating Usain Bolt in a sprint than this thing being done tomorrow,” Dias said Wednesday. “The Canadian negotiators aren’t even in Washington. Are we going to teleport each other there to get this thing done? It’s just ridiculous. And this whole argument of announcing an ‘agreement in principle,’ with nothing resolved, is probably about one of the most foolish things I’ve ever heard. Because it doesn’t fool anybody.”

The apparent failure to reach a deal by Thursday does not mean the negotiations have failed for good: talks can continue further into the year and beyond. But it is possible that there will soon be a prolonged delay because of the Mexican presidential election in July and the U.S. congressional midterm elections in November.

The apparent failure to hit Ryan’s deadline does not have come as a surprise to trade analysts, who have long thought a rapid agreement was unlikely given how far apart the three countries are on key proposals from the Trump administration.

Recent negotiations between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her counterparts have overwhelmingly focused on the complicated trade rules governing auto manufacturing. Those talks have stalled, it appears over major differences between the U.S. and Mexico.

Even if the auto issues were to be resolved, the negotiators then have to address a variety of other things on which there are big disagreements: government procurement, U.S. access to Canada’s dairy market, the system for resolving trade disputes, and the U.S. proposal for a “sunset clause” that would automatically terminate NAFTA in five years absent a new endorsement from all three countries.

The ministers for the three countries agreed to leave these other issues “untouched” while they attempted to figure out the auto file, the Canadian source said Wednesday.

Ryan’s deadline is not his own invention: it is based on various mandatory review and delay periods under U.S. trade laws. But it is not clear whether Thursday is actually the precise final date for getting a vote this year.

Daniel Ikenson, director of trade policy studies at the Cato Institute think-tank, said Wednesday that there will still be time to get a vote this year if the Trump administration notifies Congress by the end of this month of its intention to sign a deal. Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s deputy ambassador to the U.S., said at an event in Washington on Wednesday that there are “different views” on how much time there is left to secure a 2018 vote.

Regardless, the Canadian government has not appeared to be in any hurry to meet Ryan’s deadline. Though the Bank of Canada has said that trade uncertainty is already hurting investment in Canada, government officials and trade experts have argued that a bad deal would cause more long-term harm than a prolonged holdout for a better deal.

“All along we have said that it is important to reach a deal quickly. It’s important to provide that stability and predictability to industry and workers in all three countries. We recognize that need. However, we are not going to be rushed into a deal that we’re not happy with just based on that,” the Canadian source said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that a deal is “very close.” He meant, the Canadian source said, that a deal could be had if the U.S. was willing to compromise on key issues.

It is not yet clear how a delay until 2019 would affect the negotiations.

It is possible that the Republicans, whose legislators are generally pro-trade, will still be in control of both chambers of Congress when the new members take office in January; in that case, little or nothing would change.

It is also possible that Democrats, whose legislators are generally more skeptical of trade, will take control of either or both of the House and Senate. In that case, U.S. negotiators may have to alter some of their positions in order to win an agreement that could win approval from Democrats. There could also be a prolonged delay in holding a vote: Democrats could be reluctant to give Trump a perceived political victory, and they have held up votes on previous trade deals over substantive disagreements with presidential administrations.

  • Windsor Star
  • Thu May 17 2018
  • Byline: Trevor Wilhelm

An explosion at a Michigan autoparts supplier continues to cause problems in Essex County, with changing production schedules at Windsor Assembly Plant and periodic shutdowns at Ford’s Windsor and Essex engine plants.

Unifor Local 200 president John D’Agnolo said the May 2 fire at Meridian Magnesium caused a parts shortage that has rippled across the continent. With Ford’s Windsor and Essex engine plants unable to produce at full capacity, the facilities they feed are also affected.

“Right now it’s a struggle,” said D’Agnolo. “That means Kansas City truck is down because of the components that went to the F-150. Then we have Super Duty that Windsor Engine supplies to Kentucky truck, and they’re down right now.”

Two people were injured in a massive explosion and fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America in Eaton Rapids, Mich. The explosion forced the plant’s closure, stopping the flow of parts and halting production of the F-150 pickup.

“Right now Meridian is taking the tooling and shipping it to their other site and are trying to get as much together as possible so they can start building the components for the trucks,” said D’Agnolo.

He said Wednesday that Windsor Engine Plant would be shut down for a week.

Essex Engine plant was shut down last Thursday and Friday, he said. The plant was operating Monday but shut down again Tuesday. On Wednesday, the day and afternoon shifts were working, but the midnight shift was off. The midnight shift was scheduled to work Thursday, and the day and afternoon shifts were scheduled to be off.

Fiat Chrysler said the fire also affected production of the Pacifica at Windsor Assembly Plant. The company said last week it had to adjust schedules to minimize plant downtime but would make up any lost production.

Spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin said production of the Dodge Grand Caravan was not affected.

“The company continues to balance production of the Chrysler Pacifica and the Dodge Grand Caravan at the Windsor Assembly Plant,” she said Wednesday in an email.

D’Agnolo said there was no word Wednesday about when the problem with Meridian would be alleviated. “I have not been told anything yet,” he said. “I was at a meeting this morning and they were still working on that

ICI Radio-Canada – Windsor (site web)
17 mai 2018

Le syndicat qui représente les employés du casino et la direction de l’établissement ont conclu une entente de principe qui pourrait mettre fin à près de six semaines de grève à Windsor.

C’est ce qu’a d’abord indiqué la section locale 444 d’Unifor sur les médias sociaux tôt jeudi matin.

Les quelque 2300 employés sont en grève depuis le 6 avril après avoir rejeté une première entente de principe. Les principaux points de litige touchent les salaires et la sécurité d’emploi.

À lire aussi :Les effets de la grève au casino Caesars ressentis dans la région

Selon le président de la section locale 444 d’Unifor, les négociations n’ont pas été faciles puisqu’il s’agit du deuxième accord entre les parties.

David Cassidy est toutefois confiant que les membres vont aimer cette entente, sans en dévoiler les détails.Après 42 jours de grève, nous sommes contents de les avoir de retour au travail. Nous voulons vraiment mettre ça derrière nous.David Cassidy, président de la section locale 444 d’Unifor

Le syndicat est désormais à la recherche d’un endroit suffisamment grand pour permettre aux salariés de tenir le vote de ratification qui devrait avoir lieu vendredi, explique le syndicaliste.

Il souligne par ailleurs que des rencontres vont avoir lieu jeudi avec la direction du casino pour discuter des conditions logistiques de la réouverture des installations.

Au début du mois, le casino a annulé les spectacles et les réservations d’hôtels jusqu’au 31 mai.

En attendant de ratifier l’entente, les salariés continuent à faire du piquetage, a indiqué Unifor.

The 2018 Family Education Program applications AND the Scholarships for Students & Members entering into post-secondary education September 2018, are now available on our website. Click on the links above to access the information.

thestar.com
Wed Mar 28 2018
Byline: Daniel Dale
WASHINGTON – In his most optimistic words to date about the status of North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade chief said a deal in principle is possible “in the next little bit.”
“I guess at this point I’d say I’m hopeful. I think we are making progress. I think all three parties want to move forward. We have a short window because of elections and things beyond our control. But if there’s a real effort made to try to close out and to compromise and do some of the things we all know we should do, I’m optimistic we can get something done in principle in the next little bit,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on CNBC on Wednesday.

While Trump has continued to vaguely threaten to terminate NAFTA, the public tone from the rest of his administration has brightened markedly in March. Trump officials appear to be seeking a NAFTA deal before the Mexican presidential election on July 1, in which the front-runner is a left-wing NAFTA skeptic.

Canadian officials have spoken more cautiously. Asked by reporters on Wednesday if a deal was close, chief Canadian negotiator Steve Verheul said, “No, we’ve got quite a bit of work do yet,” Reuters report. It “would be a bit of a challenge” to complete a deal in April, Verheul said.

Lighthizer was on CNBC to discuss the successful completion of U.S. trade negotiations with South Korea. That agreement could offer a model for NAFTA: modest changes that are being touted by the administration as a major victory.

Lighthizer’s optimism on NAFTA was matched this week by Peter Navarro, the Trump aide who is perhaps most skeptical of the 24-year-old North American pact.

“It looks like we might get a really good deal on NAFTA,” Navarro said on CNBC on Monday.

Lighthizer had been publicly critical of the bargaining postures taken by Canada and Mexico – Canada in particular – until this month. He said last week that the three countries were “starting to converge” on the automotive manufacturing issue that has been a primary source of tension.

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., David MacNaughton, said last week that talks this month had been “more positive than I’ve seen them before.” He also touted an apparent breakthrough on the automotive file.

The U.S. had previously made an automotive proposal Canada and Mexico said they could never accept: a new requirement that 50 per cent of a car be made in the U.S. in order to qualify for tariff-free treatment, plus an increase to 85 per cent, from the current 62.5 per cent, in the amount of a car that would have to be made in North America.

Read more:

In this depressed Pennsylvania steel town, Trump’s tariffs meet deep skepticism – and almost no one wants to hit Canada.

Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on Chinese imports could help Canadian retailers.

U.S. sets May 1 expiry date on tariff exemptions for all countries, including Canada and Mexico.

The publication Inside U.S. Trade reported Tuesday that the U.S. now says it is willing to drop the U.S. content proposal if Canada and Mexico agree to count wages toward the North American content requirement.

In other words, car companies could help themselves avoid tariffs by paying their Mexican workers more. The qualifying wage level in the proposal is believed to be somewhere around $15 (U.S.) per hour, more than three times higher than the current Mexican average.

Low Mexican wages have been a top complaint of NAFTA critics, including unions like Canada’s Unifor, who say they are partly responsible for the loss of manufacturing jobs in Canada and the U.S.

The next round of negotiations is expected to take place in Washington in April. Inside U.S. Trade reported that Lighthizer wants a new agreement by May 1.

The Sault Star
Wed Mar 28 2018
Byline: Jeffrey Ougler
Three of Canada’s largest unions are banking that power in numbers will prompt Ontario hospitals to return to bargaining tables.
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (OCHU/CUPE), SEIU Healthcare and Unifor, have joined forces to seek a negotiated agreement on behalf of 75,000 nurses, personal support workers, porters, administrative staff and dietary, cleaning and trades staff at 160 public hospitals in Ontario.

“We just have to look at what our demands are, our proposals, and make sure that we’ve picked the right ones and get back to the table and negotiate,” Unifor Local 1359 president Laurie Lessard-Brown told The Sault Star from Toronto, where union leaders were meeting Tuesday. “We’ve got 75,000 kickass health-care workers. We just want to get a fair, respectful deal for all of these workers.”

Unifor Local 1359, which represents more than 1,000 members in some 17 bargaining units from Wawa to the north and Elliot Lake to the east, will see about a dozen contracts up by summer and is currently negotiating deals for hospital sector locals as well as 54 EMS employees.

A wage gap issue between unionized paramedics and the City of Sault Ste. Marie continues to prevent a negotiating team from inking a deal that would establish a new collective agreement.

The union says it’s continuing to face an uphill battle with the city as negotiations for a “fair” wage made little progress in talks last Tuesday.

Neither the union nor the city would say what the wage offer was.

The city says it will maintain its position that negotiations should be addressed at the table, not in the media. The city did say that while wages are an of the outstanding issue, in order to address that matter, the city will have to make other changes to proposals that were previously accepted by Unifor.

A joint statement Tuesday from the unions says organized hospital staff will “work together to mobilize” against the hospitals’ “demands for concessions” to secure collective agreements under the campaign banner, Together for Respect. Collective actions include a province wide “solidarity day” April 11 and workplace rallies April 18, along with television and social media advertising, starting April 9.

Lessard-Brown said it’s premature to say if she, or other union leaders, would be joined at the table by other representatives from any of the three unions.

“Obviously, a lot of our proposals are the same, so there could be a chance that we’re negotiating for a lot of the same things,” Lessard-Brown said.

“Increasing” workplace violence, along with what unions brand as overcrowding and “chronic” understaffing, join money as common issues of contention. Lessard-Brown said unions are seeking “good language” regarding workplace violence, also pointing out the province’s recent announcement of an additional $822 million for Ontario hospitals in 2018-19, an increase of 4.6 per cent. The province says this “major increase” in hospital funding will provide better access to care, reduce wait times, address capacity issues and better meet the needs of Ontario’s growing and aging population.

This is the first time the three groups have joined as a bargaining alliance, a rare move as these unions normally negotiate independently with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA), the hospital employers’ umbrella group.

“This is an anomaly,” Lessard-Brown said. “It was very strange to be in a room with people who are not part of your union, and they have different philosophies in life. But, (it’s) solidarity in numbers and we’re on the same page. We all believe our health-care workers deserve respect, they deserve collective agreements that are fair and respectful.”

Medicine Hat News
Wed Mar 28 2018
The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON

Mexican workers’ wages are at the heart of a major proposal from the United States aimed at breaking through an impasse on automobiles and securing a new North American Free Trade Agreement.

The latest U.S. idea incorporates worker salaries into the formula for calculating which cars can avoid tariffs under the auto rules of origin, several sources in different countries said Tuesday.

Sources familiar with the negotiations said it would create incentives for car companies to pay wages far higher than the current average salary in Mexico, which, according to some estimates, is about US$2.04 per hour.

The U.S. has identified Mexican wages as a key priority, for two reasons: creating more middle-class Mexican buyers of imported goods, and reducing the incentive to shift car plants from high-wage countries.

The revelation adds context to enthusiastic comments last week from the Canadian government. Canadian officials said the Americans had proposed creative solutions for achieving their main overarching goal, which is more production in the U.S.

“There’s no question it’s a step forward,” Canadian union leader Jerry Dias said in an interview Tuesday.

“At least people are starting to understand that we have to fix the main problem which is wages in Mexico,” said Dias, president of Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union. “The Mexicans will obviously push back … but Mexico knows there’s not going to be a deal without higher wages.”

The negotiations have accelerated, as the U.S. pushes for a new NAFTA within weeks.

Sources say the U.S. has introduced wages as a substitute for dropping its controversial demand that cars have 50 per cent American content, deemed a non-starter by both Canada and Mexico.

The U.S. continues to demand a big increase in the percentage of car parts that must come from North America, from the current 62.5 per cent to around 85 per cent, but higher-wage labour would count as a credit toward the total.

Different sources described different salary levels as the cut-off rate.

Inside U.S. Trade, which first reported on the development, pegged the rate at US$15 per hour. One American briefed on the proposal understood it to include a range from $13 to $17. Dias said he has been briefed and heard it’s $15.

U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer hinted at the idea in a public appearance last week.

He told a congressional committee that there are several proposals being discussed that would help achieve his goal of driving up wages in Mexico another involves guaranteeing that workers can vote on collective agreements by secret ballot.

“There’s a whole series of processes that we’re involved with in negotiating that (labour) element,” Lighthizer told a House of Representatives committee last week.

“That’s a hugely important issue. And the objective is to try to get wages up in Mexico which makes the United States more competitive, but also creates customers for the United States.”

The proposal was first floated several days ago, and appears to have kick-started the negotiations. Canada says it’s pleased by some of the latest developments, and the U.S. says all three countries are finally converging on a common vision.

One American source, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly about the idea, said some details remain unclear. One example is whether car-makers would get credits toward an overall formula when they use higher-cost labour, or whether every car would have to have a certain percentage of high-paid labour.

“The thing that’s clever ingenious, actually is it creates an incentive to raise worker salaries,” said that American, who is familiar with parts of the proposal.

“You’d be creating this incentive to improve wage levels.”

One trade insider said there’s strong desire in Washington to drive up Mexican salaries. It may be key to winning Democrats’ votes, in particular, in ratifying an eventual deal.

The Democrats are especially vocal in bemoaning stagnant wages in Mexico as a drag on workers across the continent.

“If there is no wage increase (in NAFTA), there is going to have to be very strong provisions in the NAFTA getting rid of what some call white unions, or yellow unions basically company-sponsored unions,” said Dan Ujczo of the law firm Dickinson Wright.

CBC.CA News
Wed Mar 21 2018, 6:56am ET
Byline: CBC News
A number of school buses in Durham Region will not be operated on Tuesday, after the union that represents some drivers went on strike.

First Student Canada, one of Ontario’s largest transportation providers, have cancelled a number of routes throughout Durham today.

As of 12:01 a.m., First Student Canada and Unifor Local 4268 bargaining on behalf of drivers had failed to reach a deal that would school buses through the busy morning. For months Unifor has conducted negotiations with First Student with the aim to eliminate the use of unpaid work hours and to improve wages.

There will be no service school bus routes serviced by First Student Bowmanville will run in Northumberland County, or in the Municipality of Clarington.

The strike took effect Wednesday morning.

The strike affects routes in the Durham, Durham Catholic, Kawartha Pine Ridge and the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Boards. Community members should visit the site for Student Transportation Services for Central Ontario or Durham Student Transportation Services for school listings and cancellation notices.

Brome County News
Tue Mar 20 2018
Byline: Joan Bryden
Source: The Canadian Press
American trade officials are showing newfound interest in a Canadian proposal for revamping NAFTA’s automotive provisions as the U.S. seeks to swiftly conclude renegotiations of the continental free trade pact.

And that’s being taken in some quarters as a sign that the U.S. may realize it will have to settle for making only modest progress on a handful of American demands if there’s to be any hope of concluding a deal within the next few weeks.

At the conclusion of the last round of negotiations in Mexico earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said “time is running very short” to get a deal before “political headwinds” – Mexico’s presidential election in July, American midterms in November and provincial elections in Ontario and Quebec – start to complicate matters.

For the first time, Lighthizer made public his hope of completing a NAFTA deal – including the legally required six-month congressional consultation period and ratification vote – before a new Congress gets sworn in next January.

That would mean reaching a deal with Canada and Mexico during or very soon after the next round of talks, which have not yet been officially scheduled but are expected to start on April 8 in Washington and last at least 10 days.

Canadian government officials are privately skeptical that a deal can be concluded at such a breakneck pace, particularly since Mexico’s presidential campaign officially kicks off at the end of this month and no candidate can afford to be perceived as conceding anything to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is political kryptonite in that country.

They believe the only way it can happen is if the U.S. drops many of its controversial demands and accepts modest changes in just a few key areas – in particular on automobiles, which Canadian officials have believed from the outset would be the key to a successful renegotiation.

Lighthizer himself listed autos earlier this month as one of three priorities for the U.S.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, concurs with the Canadian assessment.

“I would agree with all of that,” he said in an interview.

And the fact that USTR officials finally agreed to meet with him two weeks ago leads Volpe to suspect that they may have come to the same conclusion.

“That was a good meeting. It gave me hope,” he said, noting that U.S. trade officials had not accepted an invitation to meet accepted an invitation to meet with him during the first six months of the negotiations.

“If you look at the fact USTR was willing to receive me in Washington for a real meeting, it is the best signal to me that we could be in a phase where we get over the hump.”

In the meeting, Volpe said the Americans reiterated their opening demand – that vehicles must have 85 per cent North American content and 50 per cent American content to be eligible for dutyfree movement across the three countries, up from the current NAFTA requirement of 62.5 per cent North American content – which has been rejected as a non-starter by Canada, Mexico and the industry.

But he said they were also “intellectually curious” about Canada’s counterproposal.

Canada has proposed that NAFTA’s list of traceable components that go into cars and trucks be updated to include not just things like steel, aluminum and plastics but also intellectual property – like the software behind the computerized parts that are now integral to most vehicles and destined to become even more so as the industry embarks on an era of self-driving automobiles.

That would favour the U.S., Volpe said, because of the concentration of high-tech electronics clusters in that country.

When Canada first put its proposal on the NAFTA table back in late January, Lighthizer rejected it, predicting it would lead to more Asian content in vehicles – precisely the opposite of what the U.S. was trying to achieve.

But Jerry Dias, president of Unifor, the union that represents Canadian auto workers, said his read is that the proposal “wasn’t offensive to anybody” and that all three countries could live with it.

Nevertheless, he doubted that it provides sufficient basis to strike even a scaled-down deal by next month, unless Canada and Mexico both “capitulate” on other unpalatable U.S. demands. And that, he predicted, is “not going to happen,” particularly not with Mexico embarking on its presidential campaign in two weeks.

“My guess is this thing isn’t going anywhere,” Dias said.

The U.S. has proposed a number of so-called poison pills that Canada and Mexico have flatly rejected, including: elimination of NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanisms; a sunset clause that would automatically terminate NAFTA unless it was renewed by all three countries every five years; and Buy American provisions to limit the number of American public contracts that could be awarded to Canadian and Mexican companies.

The U.S. has also demanded an end to Canada’s supply management system, which limits imports on milk, cheese and poultry, and sets minimum prices. Some trade experts suspect the Trudeau government may be willing to accept a small increase in U.S. dairy imports, similar to what was agreed to in the original Trans-Pacific Partnership, before Trump withdrew the U.S. from that trade deal.

The Globe and Mail
Tue Mar 20 2018
Byline: BRENT JANG
Higher U.S. newsprint prices are on their way after fresh duties imposed against most Canadian producers, a new group fighting the tariffs warns.

Members of Stop Tariffs on Printers and Publishers (STOPP) are upset by last week’s decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to impose anti-dumping duties averaging 22.16 per cent against most Canadian producers of uncoated groundwood paper such as newsprint and bookgrade paper.

The anti-dumping tariffs, which took effect on Monday, come on top of countervailing duties averaging 6.53 per cent levied in mid-January against most Canadian producers shipping into the United States.

The preliminary duties totalling 28.69 per cent will hurt newspapers and book publishers already struggling to cope with recent increases in paper prices, STOPP said in a statement from Virginia.

Commercial printer Quad/ Graphics is among the members of the new group, which includes U.S. newspapers and major Canadian newsprint producers.

The punitive tariffs “will result in driving up the costs of print and force an even faster migration to digital options at a time when our industry is already being severely disrupted,” Quad/ Graphics chairman Joel Quadracci said. “This will result in the loss of U.S. jobs. In the case of rural residents with no broadband access, they will end up underserved with no newspaper either.”

Groundwood from Canada is subsidized and being dumped at less than fair value, according to complaints filed to the Commerce Department in August by U.S. producer North Pacific Paper Co., also known as Norpac. Norpac argues U.S. paper makers are being harmed by Canadian shipments of groundwood south of the border.

But Michael Makin, president of Printing Industries of America, said Monday that U.S. printers in the Midwest and Northeast in particular will “feel the havoc countervailing duties and antidumping tariffs will bring to the marketplace.”

Even before the anti-dumping tariffs, newsprint prices jumped 10 per cent from US$575 a tonne in September to US$635 a tonne in February, according to RBC Dominion Securities Inc.

“Publishers are already feeling the negative consequences of a tighter newsprint market and higher prices because of these preliminary newsprint duties,” said David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, which is a member of STOPP.

Canadian newsprint producers now paying 28.69 per cent in combined duties include Alberta Newsprint Co., New Brunswick based J.D. Irving Ltd. and Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc.‘s Canadian unit. The combined tariff rate is 28.25 per cent for Richmond, B.C.-based Catalyst Paper Corp. and 32.09 per cent for Montreal-based Kruger Inc.

Scott Doherty, a spokesman for Unifor, Canada’s largest private sector union, said Canadian newsprint mills have been placed in a difficult position. “They’re in a serious situation, especially Catalyst and Kruger,” Mr. Doherty said in an interview. Unifor represents workers at Catalyst and Kruger.

The Commerce Department hit Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products Inc. with a countervailing rate of 4.42 per cent in January, but did not impose an antidumping tariff.

RBC analyst Paul Quinn pointed out that Connecticut-based White Birch Paper Co., which has three Quebec paper mills through its Canadian unit, won’t have to pay duties on groundwood.

In contrast to Canadian softwood producers that have been able to pass on the cost of lumber duties to U.S. buyers, Mr. Quinn said he doesn’t expect newsprint prices will rise to match the equivalent amount in groundwood tariffs.

He said in an e-mail that he expects newsprint prices in Canada could also increase, though not as sharply as in the United States, due to some supplies that will remain within Canada instead of being exported.

Adrian Morrow, Lawrence Martin and Rachelle Younglai

7 March 2018

The Globe and Mail (Breaking News)

WASHINGTON and TORONTO —

Canada and Mexico will be spared from President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum while the three countries renegotiate NAFTA, with a permanent exemption if they agree to a deal that satisfies the President, the White House said on Wednesday.

The move allows Mr. Trump to avoid slamming the heavily integrated continental steel and aluminum industries while still using the threat of tariffs to crank up the pressure on his negotiating partners to agree to his protectionist demands at the bargaining table.

The President took to Twitter on Thursday morning to say he would hold a meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the White House over the planned tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, and that the United States must show flexibility toward its allies.

“Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military,” he said in the Twitter post.

Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Mr. Trump, told Fox Business Wednesday evening: “The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately on Canada and Mexico. It’s going to give us an opportunity…to negotiate a great deal for this country.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City earlier this week that he wants a deal in the next four to six weeks.

Despite the apparent reprieve, Ottawa is leaving nothing to chance, preparing a plan to hit the United States with retaliatory duties on strategic products just in case it doesn’t get an exemption for the looming global trade war.

Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told a White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon that other U.S. allies may also receive exemptions.

“There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well,” she said.

Mr. Trump surprised aides and industry alike last week when he announced the tariffs, citing the need to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industries for “national security” reasons. For days, Canadian officials could not get a clear answer from the White House on whether the levies would apply to Canada.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump upped the ante further by threatening to include Canada and Mexico in the tariffs until they agreed to a renegotiated NAFTA.

Canada’s retaliation for the tariffs would target swing states, said one senior official with knowledge of Ottawa’s planning. Squeezing states such as Florida and Ohio that decide U.S. presidential elections would put pressure on Mr. Trump by hurting the places he must hold to win a second term.

Other people with knowledge of Canada’s thinking said the government is reviewing a list of products it planned to target in a trade dispute over the labelling of meat in 2015, from wine to mattresses to pork.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that, in a telephone call with Mr. Trump two days earlier, he told the President applying the tariffs to Canada “would be entirely unacceptable.” He said he would not unveil Canada’s retaliation until Mr. Trump laid out his cards.

“We know from experience that we need to wait and see what this President is actually going to do,” he told reporters in Toronto.

Mark Warner, an international trade lawyer in Ontario and New York, said he expects the Trudeau government to hit back hard if Canada is not exempted, with retaliatory trade action and possibly lawsuits at the World Trade Organization and NAFTA tribunals.

But Mr. Warner said Ottawa will have a hard time finding the right way to retaliate. Targeting U.S. steel and aluminum would hurt the Canadian economy, and going after specific products in key congressional districts would have little effect: The Republican majority in the U.S. Congress is already on Canada’s side.

“It’s really hard for them to retaliate without hurting the economy,” he said. “They will be looking for something that isn’t going to result in a real cost to Canadians, but is going to hurt the U.S.” Mr. Warner pointed to former B.C. premier Christy Clark’s plan last year to tax U.S. thermal coal passing through her province’s ports as the sort of narrowly targeted measure Canada would probably adopt.

The head of Canada’s largest private-sector union said a harsh response is the only way to get Mr. Trump to relent.

“They perceive us as weak and soft,” Unifor president Jerry Dias told reporters in Ottawa after a meeting with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, including principal secretary Gerald Butts. “It’s like the schoolyard bully who will push you around every day until you fight back.”

Mr. Dias described the PMO officials as anxious.

“They are apprehensive, I think is fair to say. It’s difficult to bargain an agreement when you have Donald Trump as the President. Every round another grenade is thrown,” Mr. Dias said. “Since we started [renegotiating NAFTA] in August of 2017, they have come after softwood lumber, paper, aerospace, steel, aluminum. So that is who we are dealing with.”

Working in Canada’s favour are the forces of free trade in the United States. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and a host of business leaders have all called on the President to drop or scale back the tariffs.

But Mr. Trump also faces pressure from his nationalistic base to hold the line.

Dan DiMicco, a former steel executive and trade adviser to Mr. Trump, said on Wednesday that exempting Canada would provide a back door into the United States for Chinese steel products. This would defeat the purpose of the levies, which are largely aimed at Beijing.

“There are numerous parts that are made in China that get circumvented through Canada, as well as other products in the energy space,” Mr. DiMicco told reporters during a conference call set up by Alliance for American Manufacturing, a pro-tariff group established by the United Steelworkers union and some industry players.

Rather than exempting entire countries, the administration should exempt only specific products that are not made in the United States but are necessary for the manufacturing sector, Mr. DiMicco said.

USW president Leo Gerard favours a Canadian exemption, but said Ottawa should work with the United States to block cheap overseas steel. “When Canada gets exempted, Canada needs to take a very, very strong position against circumvention and transformation to protect jobs of our members in both countries,” he said.

With reports from Steven Chase in Ottawa and Greg Keenan in Toronto

Lawrence Martin is a freelance writer

The Canadian Press

7 March 2018

07:20 PM

TORONTO — Nearly 5,000 Unifor members at Bell Canada’s clerical division have ratified a new collective agreement that gives Unifor jurisdiction over more current employees and includes paid domestic violence leave.

The national private-sector union says the four-year agreement includes wage increases, protections against job erosion and outsourcing, and adds more than 600 jobs to its bargaining unit that were previously not unionized.

Unifor says that over the past 10 years, clerical employees at Bell experienced a concerted strategy to cut the workforce that eliminated more than half of the jobs in the bargaining unit.

The union says mental health at work was also a central issue raised throughout the negotiations with clerical division at Bell.

Enforceable under a memorandum agreement on mental health, members who experiences domestic violence will be allowed to take paid time off of work — in this case up to five days, often used to move.

The memorandum also provides that where there is verification from a recognized professional, an employee who is in an abusive or violent situation will not be subject to discipline if the absence can be linked to the situation.

“Paid domestic violence leave is a benefit that is being negotiated by Unifor members across the country, in addition to women’s advocates,” said Josephine Petcher, Unifor national representative, in a statement.

“A woman should not have to choose between her economic security or her personal safety.”

Anne Jarvis

The Windsor Star

8 March 2018

When Mario Pennesi was a kid, he played hockey for the Windsor Minor Hockey Association.

When he had kids, they played for Windsor Minor.

He was a coach and manager.

He was the association’s treasurer for 17 years.

He was named volunteer of the year. He won the Robert (Knobby) Knudsen Award for dedication twice. He was awarded a life membership, the organization’s highest honour, for “very distinctive service.”

Now he’s persona non grata, the second high-profile, longtime volunteer in less than a year turfed from the embattled nonprofit corporation after questioning its board of directors.

The board voted on Jan. 23 to revoke Pennesi’s life membership, citing its constitution and bylaws, which state a lifetime membership can be revoked if the member brings “disrepute” to the association.

The vote came less than two weeks after Pennesi emailed association lawyer David McNevin to express concern that players’parents can’t vote at the annual meeting and board members don’t have term limits.

On Feb. 25, Pennesi emailed the board proposed amendments to its constitution, including allowing parents to vote, instituting board term limits and ending free hockey registration for board members’ kids.

The next day, in what reads like a shunning, the board voted to inform him that “no further correspondence or means of communication will be accepted from you and that there will be no replies from any WMHA board member to any future correspondence or communication from you.”

The board notified Pennesi of the votes on Monday.

“It’s obvious what they’re doing,” he said. “They’re trying to silence me.

“How does a guy with all these awards bring disrepute to Windsor Minor?” he asked.

Pennesi sat on a special committee to address the controversy when president Dean Lapierre called Canadian women who marched in the Women’s March on Washington “dumb bitches” on social media last year. But he left the board in July.

“I just didn’t feel my voice was being heard anymore,” he said. “It was time to pack it in, if this was the way they wanted to run their organization.”

Yet he continued to push for change last fall.

He hasn’t been told what he did to bring disrepute to the organization. He hasn’t been given a chance to defend himself, either.

Lapierre refused to speak to the Windsor Star.

“No comment, thank you,” he said before hanging up.

“This removal of Mario says a lot about where they’re putting their efforts, and that’s just to squash any dissent,” said Trish McAuliffe, a retired national human rights investigator and trainer for Unifor recruited by former Local 444 president Dino Chiodo to work with Windsor Minor.

Mike Dugal, a board member for 30 years and a former president, had his position eliminated last March after criticizing Lapierre for his comments about women.

“It’s quite clear that person after person has been dismissed from the organization, (people) that seem to want to see change … attitudinal change,” said McAuliffe, speaking out of frustration despite her role as a mediator. “People feel, ‘Hey, I’m OK Jack,’when there is a larger group outside saying, ‘No, that’s not quite the fact here.’You need to have an open mind around adjusting some of those attitudes, and obviously that’s not going to happen.

“It’s at the point of no return,” she said. “They’re on their own path, and it pleases them.”

Lapierre apologized for his comments and participated in a program called Respect in Sport. But Local 444 wanted the board to do more. It said it would pay the association the $500 in sponsorship it had withdrawn after Lapierre’s comments if the board worked with McAuliffe to further identify and address problems. The union offered to pay for McAuliffe.

The board’s executive met with her once last summer. The board had attended a presentation on social media ethics, established a new program about it, and updated its code of conduct. Still, McAuliffe wrote in her report that “a common statement heard (in the community is that) ‘nothing changes’and ‘the association doesn’t take these matters seriously.’” She recommended addressing the way the association governs itself, its culture, the need for transparency and recourse for complaints. The board responded, McAuliffe noted in her report, that it “may be too busy.” It hasn’t met with her again.

Unifor and two sports groups, Club 240 and the Windsor Choristers Athletic Club, are still withholding a total of $4,500 in sponsorships.

“It certainly looks like perhaps some in the organization are somewhat satisfied they’ve weathered the storm,” said labour council president Brian Hogan. He will recommend that the council’s unions encourage their hockey parents to “ask tough questions.”

Local 444 president James Stewart said he’ll raise the issue at his next board meeting.

“This issue can’t be ignored or forgotten about,” he said. “Sweeping it under the rug is not an option.”

Pennesi last month convened a group of well-known community members, including cancer researcher and former Windsor Minor parent Lisa Porter, University of Windsor kinesiology professor Marge Holman, women’s march organizer Pat Papadeas, Hogan and Dugal, to review the association’s constitution and bylaws. Three parents whose kids play for Windsor Minor are also on the committee, but don’t want to be identified.

“Every parent I’ve talked to, they don’t want to make waves,” said one of the parents whose son plays on a travel team. “It’s a big issue. It really is. If you say something, you’re done.”

At least three travel team managers are reported to have forwarded the group’s proposed amendments to their players’ parents.

The association hasn’t responded.

The group wants parents to be able vote at the association’s annual meeting. A list of voters is compiled by March 1 every year and posted on the association website. Only board members, team officials whose names are submitted by conveners and “special and earned positions” determined by the board are eligible to be on the list.

“Parents are the sole stakeholders in the organization,” said Porter. “They deserve a say.”

The association’s president and vice-president, who serve two-year terms, should also be limited to two terms and other directors to three terms, the group says. It also wants more people eligible to run for top positions, including president. Currently, only the 11 executive members are eligible.

Although there are new board members to replace at least eight people who left after Lapierre’s comments, Lapierre, who has been president for 19 years, was acclaimed to the position again after being suspended for months.

Holman called the organization “a bit stale.”

“My apprehension is that it’s the same people, so you get the same type of response,” she said. “They become territorial and protective of their own space.”

Said Pennesi: “It’s about openness, transparency and accountability.”

Another proposed amendment would end free registration for board members. Those who have served on the board for two years are entitled to one free registration, worth about $500. If they don’t have kids who play hockey, they’re entitled to the money. It costs the association $5,000 to $10,000 a year, said Pennesi, who received at least seven years of free registrations for his kids.

McAuliffe and others at the meeting last summer told the association’s executive, “Your organization doesn’t run like an organization should run,” said Sexual Assault Crisis Centre director Lydia Fiorini, part of the group working with the association.

“We talk about Dean being guilty for his inappropriateness,” she said. “The board is just as guilty for not making changes. This board has been given ample time to make some significant differences and ample resources and have chosen not to.”

Said McAuliffe, “I see good governance as a responsibility to the community.”

If the association won’t change, “perhaps it needs something more heavy-handed,” she said.

She and others are calling for the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, the umbrella group for more than 200 minor hockey groups in Ontario, to intervene.

But the OMHA is refusing. “All checks on corporate governance as it relates to Windsor Minor Hockey Association’s board is with the association’s own members who have certain statutory powers under the Ontario Corporations Act to investigate and/or requisition membership meetings to challenge boards on their actions between annual meetings,” executive director Ian Taylor said in an emailed statement.

McAuliffe also suggested asking the Ontario Human Rights Commission to review what has happened, beginning with Lapierre’s comments.

Meanwhile, the group, which has started a Facebook page, Sport Matters, and a Twitter feed, is encouraging players’parents to attend the annual meeting on April 3.

“We’re hopeful that if parents go to the meeting, they’ll demand, as members and as the people who are paying for that organization’s existence, that they have the right to vote,” said Holman.

8 March 2018

01:16 AM

Reuters News

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada is sticking to its keep-calm strategy as U.S. President Donald Trump ramps up trade war rhetoric, convinced that no move is the best move for the country with the most to lose, but critics say it risks being a soft target if its strategy fails.

While the European Union immediately drew up a list of U.S. products from bourbon to blue jeans to hit if Trump follows through on a plan to impose global duties on aluminum and steel, Canada has gone with equivocation.

“We’re going to make sure that we’re doing everything we need to do to protect Canadian workers, and that means waiting to see what the president actually does,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday.

Minutes after Trudeau , White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Canada and Mexico, and possibly other countries, may be exempted from the planned tariffs on the basis of national security.

Well-placed sources said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and other senior Canadian figures have made many calls to U.S. policy makers over the last few days.

Freeland spoke on Wednesday to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, a prominent Republican critic of the tariffs proposal, said a Canadian government official. Trudeau himself called Trump on Tuesday.

CTV news said Canada’s ambassador to Washington would be having dinner on Wednesday with White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster. No one at the embassy was immediately available for comment.

From the outset, Trudeau has taken a decidedly sunny approach to the unpredictable president, launching an outreach campaign to save NAFTA one encounter at a time with as many U.S. lawmakers, governors and administration officials as possible.

The Liberal government’s approach is largely backed across the political and business spectrum but pressure is building to abandon the measured tone.

“Trump has already treated China and Russia with more kid

gloves than us. Why is that?” said John Weekes, Canada’s chief negotiator for the original NAFTA deal.

Weekes said Canada should draw up a long list of possible targets for retaliation, and publish it for public comment.

“I’d be the first to agree that retaliation is a mug’s game, but how do we help our allies in the United States make the case to change the course of policy?” he said.

Labor too, is demanding more action.

Jerry Dias, president of private-sector union Unifor, said the government’s keep-calm approach had been the right one up until Trump’s planned tariffs, but that Canada would look weak if it did not react.

“What are we supposed to do? They come after us on everything. So we can just continue to be perceived as nice Canadians – when we get hit we say ‘Thank you’ – or we can say ‘enough is enough’” Dias told reporters on Wednesday.

A source familiar with Canadian government thinking said retaliatory measures were “a live conversation going on at this moment” and would be deployed if the tariffs are implemented. Trump has linked the tariffs with ongoing NAFTA negotiations.

Beyond the divide-and-conquer strategy of the outreach tour in the United States, those close to the trade file say that dealing with Trump brings its own imperatives.

“We have to keep calm. It’s pointless talking in public about the ways you might retaliate until you have to act,” said a second source familiar with the issue who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“As for people who stomp around and say ‘We will strike back’ – why would you do that? It just irritates the president.”

(Additional reporting by Leah Schnurr and David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Nichola Saminather in Toronto; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Windsor Star

8 March 2018

Unifor Local 444 has reached tentative agreements with two area employers this week.

On Tuesday night, the union reached an agreement with workers at Sterling Fuels in Windsor.

On Wednesday, a deal was reached with workers employed at fish processor Etna Foods in Leamington.

Details about ratification meetings have yet to be released.

Lia Lévesque

La Presse canadienne

7 March 2018

06:27 PM

MONTRÉAL — Les 5000 employés de bureau de Bell Canada, au Québec et en Ontario, ont approuvé à 73 pour cent l’entente de principe qui était intervenue à la fin de janvier entre leur syndicat Unifor, affilié à la FTQ, et la direction de l’entreprise.

L’enjeu principal de ces négociations était la sauvegarde des emplois au Canada. Et le syndicat rapporte réussi à négocier des clauses à cet effet, a confié au cours d’une entrevue avec La Presse canadienne, mercredi, Renaud Gagné, directeur québécois d’Unifor.

«Ça a été le coeur des négociations. Effectivement, il y a eu des protections (qui ont été négociées). On a même ajouté 600 emplois de plus qu’on a récupérés: soit qu’on va cesser de faire de la sous-traitance, soit que des gens qui partent à la retraite vont être remplacés — des cadres qui effectuaient certains travaux», a résumé fièrement M. Gagné.

Signe des temps, à cause du transfert d’emplois vers l’étranger, Unifor estime qu’il avait perdu la moitié de son membership chez Bell, au cours des 10 dernières années. «Avoir mis des protections pour éviter une réduction additionnelle et réduire la sous-traitance pour maintenir le membership autour de 5000» est donc un gain majeur, a estimé le dirigeant du grand syndicat affilié à la FTQ.

Pour ce qui est des augmentations de salaire, les syndiqués ont obtenu des augmentations de 1,75, puis 1,75, puis 2 pour cent et 2 pour cent pour les quatre années du contrat de travail.

«On a eu le même règlement que les techniciens», qu’Unifor représente également.

Dans une déclaration transmise par courriel, une porte-parole de Bell Canada a dit que l’entreprise était «heureuse que les membres de notre équipe aient ratifié un accord qui nous permettra de continuer à offrir la meilleure expérience possible à nos clients».

Violence et santé mentale

Fait intéressant: le syndicat a même réussi à négocier un congé payé en cas de violence conjugale. Il importe de souligner que bon nombre des employés de bureau sont des femmes.

Et Unifor a aussi obtenu 10 postes d’intervenantes auprès des femmes — des intervenantes qui sont membres du syndicat et qui sont formées pour accompagner des femmes confrontées à des actes de violence de nature sexuelle.

«Ce sont des gains très importants. Et c’est un mandat qu’Unifor s’est donné et qu’on commence à entrer dans plusieurs conventions collectives et on veut l’étendre un peu partout. C’est important qu’il y ait des gens qui s’occupent de ces questions de violence-là, pour que ça cesse, ou accompagner les gens qui ont été victimes», a affirmé M. Gagné.

En matière de santé mentale, des clauses ont été négociées dans la convention collective pour reconnaître l’importance d’instaurer en milieu de travail une culture qui fait la promotion d’une bonne santé mentale pour tous les employés.

Cette entente est intervenue sans journée de grève.

The Canadian Press

RICHARD PRATTE (LECTEUR) :

– La Maison-Blanche indique que le Canada et le Mexique pourraient être exemptés des tarifs douaniers que les États-Unis souhaitent imposer sur l’acier et l’aluminium. –

Bonsoir à tous, ici Richard Pratte. D’abord, une question : le Canada pourrait-il échapper aux sanctions américaines sur les importations d’acier et d’aluminium qui seront annoncées d’ici la fin de la semaine par l’administration Trump? C’est en tout cas une possibilité, s’il faut en croire la porte-parole de la Maison-Blanche. J’en parle avec Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair, à Ottawa. Raphaël, c’est Sarah Huckabee Sanders qui a ouvert la porte lors de son point de presse quotidien à Washington.

RAPHAÀL BOUVIER-AUCLAIR (CORRESPONDANT PARLEMENTAIRE, OTTAWA) :

Oui, voilà. La porte-parole de la Maison-Blanche a évoqué de possibles exceptions en parlant de questions de sécurité nationale. Alors l’administration va prendre des décisions pays par pays, a-t-on dit. Alors ici, évidemment, à Ottawa, on se croise les doigts; parce que contrairement à l’Union européenne, il faut le dire, le gouvernement Trudeau est resté prudent, n’a pas formulé directement de menace de représailles, tout ça dans l’espoir que cette approche n’envenime pas les choses. On saura sous peu si la stratégie a porté fruit. Aujourd’hui, le premier ministre Trudeau a rappelé ce qu’il a dit au président Donald Trump dans leur conversation téléphonique plus tôt cette semaine.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU (PREMIER MINISTRE DU CANADA) :

J’ai été très, très clair avec le président, que ce serait absolument inacceptable d’imposer des tarifs sur l’importation d’acier et d’aluminium provenant du Canada. Nos économies sont tellement bien intégrées par rapport à ces métaux-là que ça aurait un impact et sur les dizaines de milliers de travailleurs au Canada dans ces deux industries, mais aussi aux emplois de chaque côté de la frontière…

RICHARD PRATTE (LECTEUR) :

Et puisqu’il est question de relations commerciales, l’Accord sur le Partenariat transpacifique global et progressiste sera signé, lui, demain.

RAPHAÀL BOUVIER-AUCLAIR (CORRESPONDANT PARLEMENTAIRE, OTTAWA) :

Voilà. C’est cette nouvelle mouture du Partenariat transpacifique, sans les États-Unis qui ont décidé de s’en retirer. Des représentants de 11 pays vont signer cette entente demain à Santiago, au Chili. On compte évidemment le Canada, mais aussi le Japon et le Vietnam, par exemple. Au pays, il y a des syndicats qui craignent que ce nouvel accord vienne compliquer les choses en pleine renégociation de l’ALENA. On écoute là-dessus Jerry Dias, le président du syndicat Unifor.

JERRY DIAS (PRÉSIDENT, SYNDICAT UNIFOR) :

“You know is there an opportunity to extend ratification of the TPP until at least we get NAFTA done?”

RAPHAÀL BOUVIER-AUCLAIR (CORRESPONDANT PARLEMENTAIRE, OTTAWA) :

Monsieur Dias a demandé à tout le moins à ce qu’Ottawa retarde l’entrée en vigueur de ce nouvel accord, d’attendre que la renégociation de l’ALENA soit terminée. Mais il a dit aujourd’hui qu’il n’a pas senti une grande ouverture sur cette question de la part du bureau du premier ministre.

RICHARD PRATTE (LECTEUR) :

Merci, Raphaël.

RAPHAÀL BOUVIER-AUCLAIR (CORRESPONDANT PARLEMENTAIRE, OTTAWA) :

Merci. Au revoir.

AGENCE QMI

8 March 2018

Journal de Montréal

AGENCE QMI | Près de 200 ex-travailleurs de l’usine Kruger-Trois-Rivières qui ont été victimes d’une vague de mises à pied, en 2010, attendent toujours qu’on leur verse leurs primes de préavis de licenciement, huit ans plus tard.

La multiplication des contestations juridiques a eu pour eff et d’étirer les délais. Le syndicat Unifor estime qu’aucun préavis de licenciement n’avait été formellement transmis en 2010 et réclame le paiement des 12 semaines de salaire prévu en pareil cas, soit près de 14 000 $ pour chaque travailleur touché.

Le syndicat a remporté les quatre premières manches juridiques contre Kruger. La Cour d’appel, qui avait ultimement été saisie de l’aff aire, avait donné raison aux ex-travailleurs, mais ordonné un renvoi de la cause devant -à nouveau -un arbitre de grief. C’est à cette étape qu’on en est toujours. Les plaidoiries finales auront lieu à la fin du mois de mai.

Média QMI, Inc.

Daniel Dale and Alex Boutilier and Victoria Gibson

Toronto Star

9 March 2018

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump has exempted Canada and Mexico from his steel and aluminum tariffs, but he says he might change his mind later if two countries don’t agree to a fair North American Free Trade Agreement.

Resisting global pressure, Trump declined to grant immediate exemptions to any other countries. He said everyone else can negotiate with his trade chief.

His decision on Thursday to exempt Canada conditionally – but immediately – is a partial victory for Canadian steel producers and for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government after a frantic week of high-stakes diplomacy. Trump initially said he would give Canada no special treatment, then insisted he would lift a tariff on Canada only when the NAFTA impasse was resolved.

Still, his decision fell far short of the full, final tariff exemption sought by Trudeau and numerous senior members of Trump’s own party. It ensures that a tariff cloud will hover indefinitely over the rocky NAFTA talks.

“We’re negotiating right now NAFTA. And we’re going to hold off the tariff on those two countries to see whether or not we’re able to make the deal on NAFTA. National security, very important aspect of that deal,” Trump said at the White House, flanked by Vice-President Mike Pence and steelworkers. “And, if we’re making the deal on NAFTA, this will figure into the deal, and we won’t have the tariffs on Canada or Mexico.

“If we don’t make the deal on NAFTA, and if we terminate NAFTA because they’re unable to make a deal that’s fair for our workers and fair for our farmers … .” He did not finish the sentence.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called the exemption “a step forward.” She said the government continues to view NAFTA and the tariff threat as “quite distinct issues,” and she said its approach to the NAFTA talks would not be altered by Trump’s attempt to link the two.

“Our approach has been consistent since the negotiations began last year. Today’s announcement does not change that. We know a fair deal – a win-win-win deal – is within reach,” she said in Toronto.

Freeland said it was “inconceivable” that Canada could pose a security threat to the U.S., and added that any tariffs imposed on that basis, which is Trump’s official basis for these tariffs, would be “unacceptable.”

Trump signed a proclamation imposing the tariffs in 15 days on countries outside North America. The tariffs will be 25 per cent on steel products, 10 per cent on aluminum products. They will likely produce significant changes in global markets for both, and the ripple effects may spread throughout the U.S. economy.

Countries around the world have threatened retaliation – the European Union has compiled a list of dozens of American products, from peanut butter to makeup, to target with tariffs – and top Republicans told Trump they were worried about a possible trade war. But Trump, noting that he has supported tariffs for decades, said the move was not a choice, but a “necessity,” given the “decimation” of American communities by “aggressive” steel and aluminum imports.

“Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place. Thriving communities turned into ghost towns. Not any longer,” he said.

The text of the proclamation was more positive toward Canada than Trump was in his remarks. “I conclude that Canada and Mexico present a special case,” it quoted him as saying.

The best solution, the proclamation said, “is to continue ongoing discussions” with U.S. neighbours, “given our shared commitment to supporting each other in addressing national security concerns, our shared commitment to addressing global excess capacity for producing aluminum, the physical proximity of our respective industrial bases, the robust economic integration between our countries, the export of aluminum produced in the United States to Canada and Mexico, and the close relation of the economic welfare of the United States to our national security.”

There is sometimes little relationship between Trump’s words in staff-written documents and the personal views that drive his decisions. Jerry Dias, president of the Unifor union that represents Canadian auto and aluminum workers, said Trump’s decision to link the tariffs to NAFTA amounts to “economic blackmail.”

“You’re dealing with an administration that doesn’t want to deal anyway. And we need to be candid about that,” said Dias, whose union also represents unionized employees at the Toronto Star.

Mickey Kantor, former U.S. commerce secretary and trade chief under Bill Clinton, took issue with Trump’s threat.

“I think blackmail is not something anyone should carry out in country-to-country relations,” Kantor said in an interview. “Is that clear enough?”

Joseph Galimberti, president of the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said they “welcome the exemption.” Efforts to convey to the administration the benefits of steel trade with Canada “can be said to have paid off in this instance,” he said, and the producers will continue to press their case.

Ottawa trade lawyer Peter Clark said: “I guess you shouldn’t look a gift president in the mouth. But it’s not a really generous gift.” He said the White House was clearly attempting to clean up the “embarrassing mess” Trump created with his haphazard initial announcement.

Speaking before Trump on Thursday, a senior administration official had suggested that the tariffs would not be tied specifically to the outcome of NAFTA talks. Rather, he said, they would be tied to broader discussions about “our security relationship,” of which NAFTA is one part.

The official’s use of such language appeared to be an attempt to defend against potential legal problems Trump may have created with the World Trade Organization by tying a possible exemption for Canada and Mexico to the overall state of continental trade when the official justification for the tariffs is that steel and aluminum imports threaten U.S. national security.

But Trump dispensed with the facade; in his speech, he mentioned national security only in passing with regard to Canada and Mexico.

Adrian Morrow, Lawrence Martin and Rachelle Younglai

7 March 2018

The Globe and Mail (Breaking News)

WASHINGTON and TORONTO —

Canada and Mexico will be spared from President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum while the three countries renegotiate NAFTA, with a permanent exemption if they agree to a deal that satisfies the President, the White House said on Wednesday.

The move allows Mr. Trump to avoid slamming the heavily integrated continental steel and aluminum industries while still using the threat of tariffs to crank up the pressure on his negotiating partners to agree to his protectionist demands at the bargaining table.

The President took to Twitter on Thursday morning to say he would hold a meeting at 3:30 p.m. at the White House over the planned tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, and that the United States must show flexibility toward its allies.

“Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House. We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military,” he said in the Twitter post.

Peter Navarro, a trade adviser to Mr. Trump, told Fox Business Wednesday evening: “The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately on Canada and Mexico. It’s going to give us an opportunity…to negotiate a great deal for this country.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said at the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City earlier this week that he wants a deal in the next four to six weeks.

Despite the apparent reprieve, Ottawa is leaving nothing to chance, preparing a plan to hit the United States with retaliatory duties on strategic products just in case it doesn’t get an exemption for the looming global trade war.

Mr. Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told a White House press briefing Wednesday afternoon that other U.S. allies may also receive exemptions.

“There are potential carve-outs for Mexico and Canada based on national security, and possibly other countries as well,” she said.

Mr. Trump surprised aides and industry alike last week when he announced the tariffs, citing the need to protect the U.S. steel and aluminum industries for “national security” reasons. For days, Canadian officials could not get a clear answer from the White House on whether the levies would apply to Canada.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trump upped the ante further by threatening to include Canada and Mexico in the tariffs until they agreed to a renegotiated NAFTA.

Canada’s retaliation for the tariffs would target swing states, said one senior official with knowledge of Ottawa’s planning. Squeezing states such as Florida and Ohio that decide U.S. presidential elections would put pressure on Mr. Trump by hurting the places he must hold to win a second term.

Other people with knowledge of Canada’s thinking said the government is reviewing a list of products it planned to target in a trade dispute over the labelling of meat in 2015, from wine to mattresses to pork.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that, in a telephone call with Mr. Trump two days earlier, he told the President applying the tariffs to Canada “would be entirely unacceptable.” He said he would not unveil Canada’s retaliation until Mr. Trump laid out his cards.

“We know from experience that we need to wait and see what this President is actually going to do,” he told reporters in Toronto.

Mark Warner, an international trade lawyer in Ontario and New York, said he expects the Trudeau government to hit back hard if Canada is not exempted, with retaliatory trade action and possibly lawsuits at the World Trade Organization and NAFTA tribunals.

But Mr. Warner said Ottawa will have a hard time finding the right way to retaliate. Targeting U.S. steel and aluminum would hurt the Canadian economy, and going after specific products in key congressional districts would have little effect: The Republican majority in the U.S. Congress is already on Canada’s side.

“It’s really hard for them to retaliate without hurting the economy,” he said. “They will be looking for something that isn’t going to result in a real cost to Canadians, but is going to hurt the U.S.” Mr. Warner pointed to former B.C. premier Christy Clark’s plan last year to tax U.S. thermal coal passing through her province’s ports as the sort of narrowly targeted measure Canada would probably adopt.

The head of Canada’s largest private-sector union said a harsh response is the only way to get Mr. Trump to relent.

“They perceive us as weak and soft,” Unifor president Jerry Dias told reporters in Ottawa after a meeting with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, including principal secretary Gerald Butts. “It’s like the schoolyard bully who will push you around every day until you fight back.”

Mr. Dias described the PMO officials as anxious.

“They are apprehensive, I think is fair to say. It’s difficult to bargain an agreement when you have Donald Trump as the President. Every round another grenade is thrown,” Mr. Dias said. “Since we started [renegotiating NAFTA] in August of 2017, they have come after softwood lumber, paper, aerospace, steel, aluminum. So that is who we are dealing with.”

Working in Canada’s favour are the forces of free trade in the United States. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and a host of business leaders have all called on the President to drop or scale back the tariffs.

But Mr. Trump also faces pressure from his nationalistic base to hold the line.

Dan DiMicco, a former steel executive and trade adviser to Mr. Trump, said on Wednesday that exempting Canada would provide a back door into the United States for Chinese steel products. This would defeat the purpose of the levies, which are largely aimed at Beijing.

“There are numerous parts that are made in China that get circumvented through Canada, as well as other products in the energy space,” Mr. DiMicco told reporters during a conference call set up by Alliance for American Manufacturing, a pro-tariff group established by the United Steelworkers union and some industry players.

Rather than exempting entire countries, the administration should exempt only specific products that are not made in the United States but are necessary for the manufacturing sector, Mr. DiMicco said.

USW president Leo Gerard favours a Canadian exemption, but said Ottawa should work with the United States to block cheap overseas steel. “When Canada gets exempted, Canada needs to take a very, very strong position against circumvention and transformation to protect jobs of our members in both countries,” he said.

With reports from Steven Chase in Ottawa and Greg Keenan in Toronto

Lawrence Martin is a freelance writer

Trevor Tefloth and Trevor Wilhelm

The Daily News, Postmedia News

9 March 2018

Chatham Daily News

The private operator running legal gambling in much of Southwestern Ontario is moving a casino to Chatham, off Highway 401 an hour from the giant Caesars casino in Windsor.

But while some might view the move to Chatham of the slots operation at the Dresden Raceway as a challenge to Caesars, a spokesperson for Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., predicts a peaceful co-existence.

“People who enjoy gaming tend to travel around and visit different facilities,” Rob Mitchell said Thursday after Gateway announced the move.

“We think we’ll be quite competitive.

Chatham is a good market for us. It’s a good region.”

After months of speculation, Gateway unveiled its plans to build a new Cascades-branded casino at the former Wheels Inn site in Chatham.

The casino – which still needs government approval and completion of a deal to buy the land from Brad-Lea Meadows Ltd., of Chatham, – would feature a mix of slots and table games.

Details of the size and scope of the casino won’t be announced for weeks yet, but construction could begin in the spring.

“It’s going to be great for the community, good for employment,” said Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope.

British Columbia-based Gateway took over gaming sites operated by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. (OLG) in much of Southwestern Ontario, including in London, Point Edward, Dresden and Hanover. In London, where it leases space at Western Fair District for $6 million a year, Gateway – which wants to build a $140-million hotel and gambling complex – has been locked in talks for months for a better deal.

An official with the union representing casino workers said the union isn’t worried about the Chatham casino affecting business or jobs in Windsor.

“The OLG really has zoned coverage and it’s accounted for in all that,” said James Stewart, president of Unifor Local 444, which represents about 250 workers at the Dresden and Point Edward casinos.

Stewart said Caesars draws some people from the Chatham area and farther up the 401, but it doesn’t tend to be a major customer base.

Gateway officials wouldn’t predict when the new casino might open, but said the Dresden Slots will remain open until 2020.

“It all depends on construction and how smoothly that goes,” Mitchell said.

“It’s planned to coincide that we would be opening at approximately the same time that our (Dresden) lease would expire.”

A casino at the Chatham site would revive its use as an entertainment destination. It once was the site of the Wheels Inn complex, which drew many visitors to the area.

“We are pleased that Gateway chose our site for the new casino,” Brad-Lea Meadows president Dean Bradley said in a statement, adding it would be good to put the vacant property to better use.

“This is a good news story allround for our community.”

Alicja Siekierska

The Windsor Star

9 March 2018

Some representatives of the Canadian auto industry have dismissed the federal government’s newly released side letter with Japan on motor vehicles as “useless”, saying the document will not help Canada gain access into the Japanese market as Canada’s trade minister has promised.

Side letters with 10 countries were released shortly after Canada’s International Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Santiago, Chile on Thursday. Canada is expected to ratify the deal later this fall, as it has to pass legislation through Parliament.

The document signed with Japan on motor vehicles, which Champagne has touted as a major victory that will grant greater access to the Japanese market, says that Canada will not face non-trade barriers.

“I confirm that Canada is not and will not be discriminated against in the application of Japan’s nontariff measures on motor vehicles,” the side letter, signed by Champagne and Japan’s Economic Revitalization Minister Toshimitsu Motegi reads.

Speaking on a conference call with reporters from Santiago, Champagne said the side letter with Japan will put the Canadian auto sector “in a much better position.”

“The side letter will remove non-tariff trade barriers which were present for a long time in the auto sector, both in Canada and the U.S., with respect to the safety standards allowing for Japan to recognize our Canadian standards to make it easier for the Canadian automotive sector to access that market,” Champagne said.

“Overall, one understands and hears (the Canadian auto industry) concerns. We have positioned them in a place which leaves them in a better place than they’ve ever been.”

However, Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, said the side letter does not touch upon the issues the auto industry hoped to address that would open up the Japanese market. He also called Champagne’s claims “laughable.”

“The side letters do not inventory any of the non-tariff barriers to sales in Japan that the Canadian auto sector repeatedly raised with the government,” Volpe said.

“However, the minister’s drive to achieve another vanity trophy paid for by the regular people who work in Canada’s auto sector is amazing to watch and I congratulate him on this ignominious achievement.”

The side letter says that vehicles manufactured in Canada certified under Japan’s Preferential Handling Procedure, a process that allows exporters to sell cars in Japan if they comply with certain procedures, will benefit from streamlined testing. The document also allows vehicles manufactured in Canada that comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards of the United States (FMVSS) to fulfil corresponding Japanese regulations.

Japan and Canada are also cooperating on developing an enforceable dispute settlement mechanism, the document says, that would apply to the side-letter agreement. Champagne said the letter marks the first time Japan has agreed to a side letter on autos that would be subject to dispute resolution.

David Worts, executive director of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada, said the side letter will help address some of the issues Canadian auto representatives had previously cited, including access to the Japanese market.

“The door is open,” he said. But Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union represents more than 23,000 Canadian auto workers, said “the side letters mean nothing” and that they are “unenforceable.”

“It’s lollipops and rainbows.

We’ve dealt with side letters in NAFTA which have proven to be inherently useless,” Dias said.

“Ultimately, you can’t get away from the fact that you’re going to have more Japanese vehicles imported to the Canadian market, and we’re going to have no access there. Anyone that actually believes that we’re going to be selling cars in Japan, that this is a game changer, are naive.”

While Volpe and Dias have been vocal in their criticism of the CPTPP, some auto organizations have been supportive of the agreement.

Linda Hasenfratz, the chief executive of Canada’s second-largest auto parts manufacturer Linamar Ltd., previously said that the trade agreement will create “huge opportunity for Canadian companies to become more global and grow in a while variety of sectors.”

Financial Post With files from The Canadian Press

JON ERLICHMAN: And Ottawa reacted to being spared from those tariffs with cautious relief today. But as CTV’s Glen McGregor reports, the temporary reprieve could still be quite taxing on trade talks.

GLEN MCGREGOR (Reporter): In Canada’s topsy-turvy trade relations with the US, today’s news is seen, if not as a win, then least not another loss.

CHRYSTIA FREELAND (Foreign Affairs Minister): Today is a step forward. It is the result of very hard work by a really broad group of team Canada players.

MCGREGOR: After an accelerated lobby effort, the government is relieved there will be no new tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

NAVDEEP BAINS (Industry Minister): This is about having a win-win situation.

MCGREGOR: But Trump’s decision today came with a warning. The tariffs could be imposed at anytime. A clear threat that he hopes will help US negotiators leverage a more favourable NAFTA deal out of Canada and Mexico.

ADAM TAYLOR (Trade Expert): If these tariffs are held as a bargaining chip, and it forces Canada to say we have to preserve the auto sector, we have to preserve Ontario’s manufacturing base, and so we better make concessions elsewhere, then it could play out that way, and it could be very much a successful bargaining chip by the Trump administration.

MCGREGOR: Freeland says potential tariffs won’t be a factor in NAFTA talks.

FREELAND: Canada’s position is that these issues are absolutely distinct. We treat them on totally separate tracks.

MCGREGOR: With the reprieve secured, next week the prime minister visits steel and aluminum factories in three provinces, a trip originally intended as a show of support, now something of a victory tour in this latest trade skirmish, but one that may not be long-lasting.

JERRY DIAS (UNIFOR National President): They came after our aerospace industry. Now it’s steel and aluminum. What’s next? Maple syrup? Hockey pucks?

MCGREGOR: Negotiators are scheduled to return to the table for the eighth round of NAFTA talks in Washington next month. US officials are warning that the time left to reach a deal is running short. Jon.

ERLICHMAN: All right, thanks, Glen. CTV’s Glen McGregor.

A Windsor auto parts supplier for the Windsor Assembly Plant is on strike.

4 Windsor parts suppliers vote in favour of strike action

Only 38 per cent of ZF-TRW workers voted in favour of ratification during a vote Thursday evening, according to Unifor Local 444.

The company makes a variety of parts including automotive systems, modules, and components.

Members from Avencez, Dakkota and HBPO all voted in favour of ratification.

Lia Lévesque

La Presse canadienne

8 March 2018

04:48 PM

MONTRÉAL — La grève qui dure depuis presque trois ans chez Delastek, un sous-traitant de Bombardier à Shawinigan, pourrait être terminée. Il s’agit de la plus longue grève qui a cours présentement au Québec.

Une entente est finalement intervenue entre les parties. Joint au téléphone, le syndicat Unifor, affilié à la FTQ, qui représente les travailleurs, n’a pas voulu accorder d’entrevue à ce sujet jeudi.

Le contenu de l’entente doit être présenté aux quelque 40 travailleurs qui restent, vendredi, lors d’une assemblée à Trois-Rivières, a confirmé le syndicat.

La grève y avait été déclenchée le 1er avril 2015.

Le 16 janvier dernier, le directeur québécois d’Unifor-FTQ, Renaud Gagné, avait confirmé à La Presse canadienne que les parties discutaient sérieusement, mais que les pourparlers butaient sur le protocole de retour au travail.

Il avait alors mentionné que l’employeur ne voulait rappeler au travail que 18 des employés, et sans égard à leur ancienneté, alors que le syndicat souhaitait le retour d’au moins 26 d’entre eux, en trois vagues.

Or, vendredi dernier, le Tribunal administratif du travail a annulé le congédiement d’une vingtaine de syndiqués de Delastek, en affirmant que l’employeur avait aboli ces postes pour entraver les activités du syndicat et pour les contraindre à cesser d’exercer leur droit de grève. Et le tribunal avait aussi ordonné de rétablir leur lien d’emploi.

Le Tribunal administratif du travail avait carrément parlé d’«antisyndicalisme» de la part de Delastek, de négociation de mauvaise foi et d’«hostilité envers le processus de négociation».

Delastek est une entreprise qui fabrique des pièces destinées à l’aéronautique et au transport. Elle est spécialisée dans la conception et la fabrication de cabines de pilotage, notamment pour les avions Global 7000-8000 et la CSeries de Bombardier.

M. Gagné, d’Unifor-FTQ, avait souligné que les deux tiers de ces employés gagnaient moins de 15 $ l’heure, au moment du déclenchement du conflit.

Annie-Claude Brisson; Louis Tremblay
Plusieurs intervenants du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean ont réagi à la suite de l’annonce du président des États-Unis, Donald Trump, d’exempter, pour le moment, le Canada et le Mexique, sur l’imposition d’une surtaxe sur les produits de fer et d’aluminium.

Alain Gagnon, président du Syndicat de l’aluminium d’Arvida (UNIFOR)

«Ce matin, je me disais que tant qu’à marcher sur du mou, le gouvernement canadien devrait se retirer de la table de négociations de l’ALÉNA. Durée indéterminée, ça prend plus que cela. On a l’impression que Donald Trump veut en venir à un règlement, ce qui est un bon début en soi, sauf que ça prend plus de solide que ça. Il doit considérer des pays comme le nôtre comme des pays alliés. Ils tirent sur le mauvais porteur de dossiers en nous taxant. On peut s’attendre à une riposte de l’Union européenne. S’il maintient le cap, j’espère que le gouvernement Trudeau aura les coudées franches. On voit à quel point c’est fragile parce qu’il peut ressortir sa taxe à tout moment. Il nous met dans une situation dans laquelle le gouvernement n’a pas le choix de continuer à avancer. C’est difficile de négocier lorsque la menace plane au-dessus de nos têtes. Le gouvernement Trudeau doit se faire mettre des balises tout en restant prudent à la table de négociations.»

(Propos recueillis par Annie-Claude Brisson)

Alexandre Fréchette, président du Syndicat des travailleurs de l’aluminium d’Alma

«En premier lieu, c’est une certaine forme de soulagement. Toutefois, nous ne sommes pas sauvés. Ce qu’on comprend, c’est que les enjeux reliés à l’aluminium et l’acier sont traités dans le cadre de la négociation de l’ALÉNA. Nous exhortons les négociateurs canadiens à prendre en compte les intérêts de l’aluminium dans ces négociations. Quant à la négociation de l’ALÉNA, on s’attend à du nouveau à la fin du mois de mars. Donc, nous surveillerons cela de très près pour les prochaines semaines. D’ici là, on vit un certain soulagement.»

(Propos recueillis par Annie-Claude Brisson)

Richard Hébert, député libéral de Lac-Saint-Jean

«Les entreprises d’aluminium sont concentrées dans la région. La semaine dernière, lorsque les menaces ont plané sur l’industrie, comme député, j’ai ressenti une pression très importante sur nos emplois dans la région. J’ai entendu les dernières nouvelles et j’en suis très heureux. C’est le consommateur canadien ou américain qui aurait été pénalisé comme dans le dossier du bois d’oeuvre. Je suis très fier de la gestion que le premier ministre a faite. Je suis heureux qu’il vienne nous rassurer tant les travailleurs que les familles qui vivent avec cette problématique au-dessus de leurs têtes. Je suis très heureux de l’accueillir dans la région, lundi.»

(Propos recueillis par Annie-Claude Brisson)

Karine Trudel, députée néo-démocrate de Jonquière

«Le président est en train d’utiliser une stratégie vieille comme le monde. Il oppose deux de nos intérêts, l’ALÉNA et les produits métalliques (acier et aluminium), et il nous dit que si on veut avoir l’un, on ne peut pas avoir l’autre. Or, ce serait une erreur que de mélanger les deux dossiers, qui sont complètement distincts. J’exhorte le gouvernement à faire preuve d’une extrême vigilance, alors qu’on tente de nous faire avaler une couleuvre. Malgré l’exemption temporaire d’aujourd’hui, l’inquiétude et l’incertitude persistent pour les travailleurs, les travailleuses et la population de la région et de ma circonscription, qui représentent environ 15% de la production canadienne totale. Une surtaxe pourrait avoir un effet qui se répercuterait dans toute la chaîne des produits de l’aluminium. Malheureusement, le gouvernement actuel a un historique d’opacité en ce qui a trait aux négociations commerciales et à un moment donné, cela doit cesser. Il est temps d’impliquer toutes les parties prenantes, d’ouvrir le dialogue et de discuter de nos options collectivement.»

(Propos recueillis par Annie-Claude Brisson)

Jean Simard, président de l’Association de l’aluminium du Canada

«On peut en tirer comme conclusion qu’il y a un peu d’oxygène dans la pièce, mais ça laisse quand même l’industrie dans une période d’incertitude. Quand il y a de l’incertitude, c’est plus difficile pour les entreprises d’investir et elles peuvent même en arriver à la conclusion qu’il est préférable d’investir aux États-Unis. Il n’est pas question pour l’industrie de l’aluminium de brader d’autres secteurs économiques importants du Canada pour obtenir des choses dans des ententes à long terme avec des partenaires incluant les États-Unis. Selon ce que nous savons, les Américains pourraient au maximum redémarrer 700 000 tonnes de capacité de production dans de vieilles technologies. Ils ont parlé d’un investissement majeur de 100 M$. C’est moins que ce que Rio Tinto investit dans les travaux d’entretien de ses usines au Saguenay dans une année. Les États-Unis consomment 5,2 millions de tonnes d’aluminium par année.»

(Propos recueillis par Louis Tremblay)

Snow crab stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador remain at low levels going into this spring’s fishery, and while that may result in status quo or lower quotas, there is optimism for coming years.
The optimism may only hold true if measures are taken to further protect an apparent increase in small and medium-sized crab being seen in most areas of the province.

A technical briefing held by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Monday morning in St. John’s showed that while the snow crab biomass remains relatively unchanged from last year, more favourable water temperatures for crab have resulted in better production in the last couple of years.

Instead of what many predicted would be doom and gloom this spring in the crab fishery, scientist Darrell Mullowney revealed some hope for the stocks and, in turn, the fishery in future years.

“Trawl and trap surveys tell us that the overall exploitable biomass (the amount of crab of fishable size) has remained at its lowest observed level in the past two years,” Mullowney told members of the media.

“Low exploitable biomass is concerning, as it could potentially elevate the impacts of fishing on present and future stocks.

“There appears to be more small and mid-sized crab in the water than we’ve seen for a few years, so looking beyond 2018 seems to be the most optimistic part of it. The message we are trying to relay this year is that we are concerned about low biomass allowing the pre-recruits – which will come in as soft-shell crab Year 1 into the fishery – to trap readily and be harvested, discarded and likely killed in the process. There is concern that what happens in 2018 could diminish any potential gains thereafter.”

Landings in the province’s snow crab fishery peaked at 53,500 tonnes in 2009 and gradually declined to 34,000 tonnes in 2017 – their lowest level in two decades.

This year’s total allowable catch (TAC) and any other management measures will be set by DFO following industry consultations throughout the province beginning on March 6, and consideration of scientific advice.

Mullowney noted the two main areas of concern in the province is off the east coast of the island in division 3L – particularly in waters around the Avalon Peninsula – and on the west coast.

In inshore 3L, he noted, the exploitable biomass index has declined 73 per cent since 2012, while overall recruitment has steadily declined for the past three years. Division 3L is where the majority of crab fishing activity takes place.

“Those are areas where it seems the harvest rates will be quite high in the forthcoming year without some management actions,” Mullowney said. “High fishing pressure may impact the fishery beyond 2018 if the recruits are captured as bycatch and discarded at a high level in 2018.”

Mullowney also noted that while warmer ocean temperatures a few years ago aided the rebuilding of groundfish stocks, a return to cooler ocean conditions in all snow crab divisions in recent years is positive for the snow crab stock. Snow crab do well in waters below 2 C, he noted.

“The warmest conditions were essentially during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 period that would have helped groundfish recover and conversely led to a decline in the productivity of the shellfish,” he said. “Since then, most years we’ve been above normal in terms of it being warm, but it hasn’t been to the extremes it was at that point.

“In previous years we didn’t have a lot of optimism because things were so warm that it just seemed an unproductive state for crab. The temperature is now back to kind of a normal level.”

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) said Monday there were encouraging signs for the crab fishery in the technical briefing.

“Much of the information about future recruitment comes from the post-season crab pot survey conducted by FFAW members,” the FFAW stated in a news release. “The number of small mesh pots in the post-season survey have more than tripled, increasing the value of this survey as an index of incoming recruitment. FFAW is stressing that DFO have increased participation from harvesters in both science and management processes.”

The union said it is hopeful there will be no major cuts to the TAC for the upcoming season.

The release also noted that since 2014, the per-pound price for snow crab has increased by 88 per cent, from $2.34 per pound to $4.39.

Factory rolls along with streetcars
A shiny new streetcar bound for Toronto headed out of Thunder Bay by train on Monday.

The Bombardier light-rail factory has been producing approximately one streetcar a week with a goal of producing one every three days, explained Dominic Pasqualino, president of Unifor Local 1075.

“I don’t think we’re there just yet but we’re very close,” said Pasqualino. “I think the other day they announced that they’ve produced a car in three days. That’s a good sign, we’re getting closer and closer to our goal.”

With a contract for 204 streetcars to be built and delivered to the Toronto Transit Commission by the end of 2019, Bombardier has struggled to meet targets due to parts shortages.

“Although sometimes we still have a headache with some parts being delayed, that seems to be improving dramatically,” said Pasqualino.

The plant appears to be on schedule to deliver 11 streetcars by the end of March, explained Pasqualino, at which point production is to increase considerably.

“I was talking to the plant manager and he was saying, we get the first quarter done it looks really good to get the rest of the order done,” said Pasqualino.

Bus drivers who take students to more than two dozen schools in Grey-Bruce could go on strike as early as Thursday.
Unifor Local 4268, which represents many area school bus driver, as well as bus drivers with Owen Sound Transit and the Bruce Power shuttle service, have served First Student Canada with strike notice that is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday.

“Negotiations are continuing and it is our hope that a fair settlement can still be reached as we are fully aware of the key services that drivers provide to school communities,” Unifor regional director Naureen Rizvi said in a news release. “It’s clear however that low wages and the resulting driver shortages are chronic problems that must be addressed in the Ontario system.”

A Unifor representative could not be reached at press time on Monday.

The drivers had been in a legal strike positions since Dec. 10, with negotiations ongoing over the past three months.

The union is obliged to issue 72-hour strike notice, but opted to make the move on Friday to allow parents, students and users of the systems to have more time to prepare alternate arrangements should they be needed.

First Student Canada spokesperson Jay Brock said he couldn’t go into details about negotiations so that the sides could continue to talk in good faith, but meetings were scheduled with Unifor Monday to Thursday this week in an attempt to try to reach a deal.

“Our goal is to provide uninterrupted service to boards, schools, everyone that is involved,” said Brock. “Unfortunately if (a strike) does occur, alternative transportation will need to be provided with students.

“We are trying our best to work diligently with the union so we can come to terms as quickly as possible.”

The Student Transportation Service Consortium of Grey-Bruce says parents will have to make other arrangements for their children should job action occur. The consortium plans to give update on the situation on its website at www.brucegreyschoolbus.ca “These negotiations are with neither the local school boards nor the Student Transportation Service Consortium of Grey-Bruce,” it said in the website.

More than two dozen schools in Grey-Bruce are serviced by First Student Canada buses. Among the communities that would be affected are Owen Sound, Lion’s Head, Port Elgin, Southampton, Meaford, Hepworth, Holland Centre, Kincardine, Tiverton, Wiarton and Tobermory.

Along with the schools, the potential job action could also affect Owen Sound Transit, as First Student Canada is under contract with the city to operate its transit service.

City manager Wayne Ritchie said First Student Canada has been in contact with the city about the negotiations, and the city is monitoring it and is hopeful the sides can reach a deal.

“The buses are owned by First Student, so we hope they have a successful completion to negotiations and there is no disruption to service,” said Ritchie.

And the shuttle service to Bruce Power could also be affected by job action as it is operated by First Student Canada as well.

Bruce Power spokesperson John Peevers said via e-mail on Monday that they were also monitoring the situation.

“We don’t expect this to have an impact on our business and we will be communicating to employees over the next couple of days if it looks like a job action is likely,” Peevers wrote.

The families and union of two workers killed at Sudbury’s Lockerby Mine in 2014 are not satisfied with a recent verdict against First Nickel.
The now defunct mining company was fined $1.3 million after being found guilty of six charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Norm Bisaillon and Marc Methe were killed in 2014 after a fall of ground at Lockerby Mine in Sudbury, then owned by First Nickel.

First Nickel fined $1.3M in connection to 2014 mining deaths — but there’s little hope that will ever be paid First Nickel guilty of 6 charges, Taurus not guilty, Sudbury judge rules Widow of First Nickel Lockerby mine victim still waits for answers

Dave Stewart is a health and safety representative with Unifor/Mine Mill 598.

He has been helping and supporting the two families since the tragedy.

Stewart says they plan to go to Sudbury Police with information in hopes of a criminal investigation.

“We have a couple individuals that we believe had direct input and could of corrected these issues and failed to do so,” he said.

“So we’re simply going to review the information and ask for some input from the police.”

Westray Bill Stewart says he believes the criminal charges could be filed under Bill C-45, known as the Westray Bill.

That is a federal law which imposes penalties on employers for safety violations that result in injuries or death.

Romeena Kozoriz is the widow of Norm Bisaillon.

“I think we need to move forward with this, setting an example that this stuff cannot happen, especially in regards to a company going bankrupt and walking away from their responsibilities,” she said.

“If I go out and I injure someone or kill somebody, I’m held accountable and I think it should be absolutely the same for companies.”

Kozoriz says instead of the company, the charges would be directed toward individuals who knew about poor conditions at the mine.

“That the people that were accountable for Norm and Marc’s death have their … that they have what’s coming to them,” she said.

“I don’t want to give names at this point yet.”

Nearly 60 jobs are being cut at Ingersoll’s Cami automotive plant as a London-based trucking firm shuts down the terminal that serves the General Motors factory. Doug Coleman Trucking has been closing trucking depots across southwestern Ontario and the Ingersoll move is the latest, resulting in the loss of 57 Cami jobs, their union, Unifor Local 88, said Tuesday.
“The company (Coleman Trucking) has made a business decision and is not bidding on this anymore,” said Local 88 president Dan Borthwick.

“They have not been forthright with us. But it has been a good paycheque for 57 workers and their families.” Cami employs 3,000 workers, 2,800 of whom are unionized. The union has included workers at the trucking firm’s Ingersoll terminal since 2012.

The first phase of job cuts will happen March 26 and notices were issued Monday. It’s not known when the second wave of job losses will happen.

“We were shocked. We were caught off guard,” Borthwick said, adding the union has requested a meeting with the employer. Doug Coleman Trucking closed terminals in St. Thomas and Owen sound last year, and Windsor and Kitchener in 2016. All the affected workers were represented by Unifor. Coleman also has closed offices in St. Catharines and Mississauga not represented by Unifor, Borthwick said.

Owner Doug Coleman declined comment Tuesday.

A planned strike by the city’s paramedics that was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday has been delayed as a result of a ruling requested -and received -by the city to the Ontario Labour Board. “The city objected to the essential service agreement, filed their objection and we received the ruling, “Unifor Local 1359 president Laurie Lessard-Brown told The Sault Star Tuesday night. The interim ‘injunction’ has been granted until a scheduled hearing in Toronto on March 12. Unifor can appeal the ruling by March 7.
“We’ll be making our objections and our position known and we’ll be talking about the validity of this,” Lessard-Brown said. The ruling means that if the union participates in strike action, it could be deemed an illegal strike, backing the union into a corner. The city and the union representing 54 unionized paramedics in Sault Ste. Marie were unable to come to an agreement that would put in place an essential service agreement during the final days of mediated talks. Lessard-Brown said Unifor was relying on the essential service agreement, which was included in the last collective agreement. City CAO Al Horsman said the city believed changes needed to be made to it, but the parties could not come to a consensus. “We did raise the question with the Ontario Labour Relations Board and now we leave it to Unifor to decide what action they will or will not be taking,” Horsman said Tuesday evening. Unifor relied on the agreement in the collective agreement while the city sought clarification from the mediator as to whether that agreement is appropriate or not, said Horsman.

The city took the position that “in the absence of an essential service agreement, the union would not be in position, through statute, to conduct labour action. That’s our contention,” Horsman said. Earlier Tuesday, he told The Sault Star “tools are available” through the Labour Relations Board to ask for a ruling on whether the strike action is legal. He maintains that the city is willing to take the offers to an interest arbitrator and abide by any ruling that is handed down. “This is not an injunction as far as we’re concerned. We’re trying to work on a resolution and we’re willing to go to arbitration and we believe it is the best way and most responsible way to settle this,” Horsman said. An essential service agreement requires paramedics provide emergency care service throughout any labour dispute.Emergency medical services work is governed by the Ambulance Act and considered an essential service. It means that while services could be reduced during a labour dispute., critical and emergency calls will continue to be responded to.The agreement is designed to focus on establishing standards such as the number of ambulances and staff that will remain on call, scheduling and what type of calls will be responded to and which ones won’t.

Lessard-Brown said Tuesday’s ruling means that the unionized paramedics will be on the job as usual Wednesday, instead of on a picket line as was expected.”Now you’ve got super-pissed paramedics,” Lessard-Brown said. “This is a delay tactic by the city. We’re taxpayers in this city too and we’re disappointed and frustrated that the city is taking this action and using taxpayer money for something like this instead of negotiating at the table.”Talks between the parties broke off Monday.The city’s final offer to paramedics was “insulting” and unacceptable, said Lessard-Brown. “We were prepared to do what we had to do, even if it meant working around the clock to reach an agreement,” she said. Lessard-Brown said the city’s final offer was insulting and they walked away from the table after making it.

“It is completely unacceptable and embarrassing that the City of Sault Ste. Marie is showing such disrespect to first responders who save lives every day,” she said. Horsman counters that the city made its final offer, one that wasn’t acceptable to the union. “We presented them with our final offer and they have not responded.” That proposal includes compensation of 1.5 per cent increase, which includes base pay increase, introduction of shift premiums and paid meal breaks with additional 0.5 per cent increase in wages in the second and third year. Lessard-Brown said the employer proposed a half a percentage yearly wage increase would keep the local paramedics paid lower than others across the province for the same work. Paramedics in Thunder Bay received wage increases of 2 per cent, 2.6 per cent and 2.65 per cent in their three year negotiated contract, she said.

“The city needs to sharpen their pencils. Their proposal is very disrespectful to us,” she said. But Horsman argues that the offer “is fair to the EMS employees and affordable to the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie.” He said the current agreement places the local paramedics fourth of 12th on a scale of comparable and if the last offer is accepted, it will put them in the middle. The city is calling the current EMS collective agreement one of the best in Northern Ontario while the union counters it puts paramedics behind their counterparts in other jurisdictions. Horsman said the comparables don’t only include wages, but also other monetary and non-monetary items. He said the city has offered going to interest arbitration to get a ruling on outstanding issues and the city would abide by that decision, but Unifor has not agreed to do so. Horsman said that could prevent labour action and he would expect a decision to be made within a few weeks.

“My opinion is that this wouldn’t take too long because the positions are pretty straight forward on both sides,” he said. Since EMS services were downloaded by the province about 17 years ago, the city has not had to go to interest arbitration to settle a collective agreement dispute. Local 1359 has been without a contract since March 2017. The union has made a comprehensive offer to settle all outstanding issues and that included wage improvements that mirrored agreements with other Unifor paramedic units, the union has said. “We whittled down our proposals to a few outstanding issues, things that we really needed to see but the city has sent the mediator packing back to Toronto,” she said, effectively ending any chance of reaching a tentative agreement by the strike deadline. “It now appears the City would rather force a strike and waste taxpayers’time and money by challenging the validity of the Essential Services Agreement, rather than bargain fairly with paramedics,” said Katha Fortier, assistant to the Unifor national president, who was in Sault Ste. Marie Tuesday to meet with members. Under any essential service agreements, all code three and four calls – the most serious – will be responded to as usual. Code two calls will only be responded to if a delay will adversely affect treatment of the patient. Routine calls, or code one calls, such as transfers from a nursing home to the hospital and then back to a hospital, will not be responded to, leaving patients in emergency for extended periods of time. It’s roughly estimated that five to 10 calls per 12-hour shift are routine transfers.

The paramedics have been without a contract since March 2017.

Unifor is calling on Compass Minerals to pause job cuts at its salt mine in Goderich, Ont. ahead of collective bargaining talks.
The union says the company gave lay-off notices to about 48 workers last week, while the Local 16-O union has given notice to bargain for March 5 and has filed for conciliation.

Unifor says that laying off 10 per cent of the mine’s workforce two weeks before bargaining is a very aggressive move and that the company is “acting like an employer itching for major job action.”

The union says it also has serious concerns over how Compass has acted, accusing the company of encouraging workers to take severance packages that would cancel their right to be recalled if production at the mine increases.

The Kansas-based company did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Unifor’s accusations, but said previously that the cuts are part of a years-long restructuring that includes a shift to a mining method that is safer and requires fewer employees.

Compass, which bought the Goderich mine in 1990, says the operation located 550 metres under Lake Huron is the largest underground salt mine in the world with the product being mostly used for winter road maintenance.

The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld an injunction that stops random drug and alcohol testing at Suncor Energy sites.
A Court of Queen’s Bench judge granted the injunction last December after the union representing thousands of oilsands workers requested one.

Unifor Local 707-A had argued that random testing violates workers’ rights and privacy. Suncor said in its appeal that random tests are needed to bolster safety.

Suncor and the union have been battling over the tests since 2012. Unifor is also seeking leave to appeal an earlier court ruling related to the issue to the Supreme Court of Canada.

That’s how long personal support workers have to prepare long term care residents for breakfast each morning, regardless of mobility or other issues.
Chronic budget cuts and provincial under funding, combined with short staffing and more complex patient requirements mean that residents are not getting the care they need.

Tomorrow morning, take the Unifor #6minchallenge and show us what you look like. post your photo to Facebook and Twitter and include #6minchallenge.

Please support four hours of direct, hands on care per resident, every single day. As an MPP, you can make a difference in the lives of Ontario seniors.

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