Unifor Charity Golf Classic

The following members have won the opportunity to represent our local at the 1st Annual Unifor Ontario Region Charity Golf Classic on June 6th at the Granite Ridge Golf & Country Club in Milton:

  • Kelly Dobbs
  • Brock Parish
  • Slobodan Uzelac
  • Ray Orsava
  • Jeremy Mitchell
  • Bryan Carey
  • Janssen Bulatao
  • Andy Feige
  • Jamie Fava
  • Angelo Contarin
  • Jim Needham
  • Dave Azoulay


2014 Unifor Scholarships

Applications for the 2014 National Scholarships are now being accepted.

Children of Unifor members with at lease 1 year of service are eligible to apply if they are entering their first year of post secondary studies. 28 scholarships will be awarded across the Canada.

Application deadline is April 30th.


National Day of Mourning, April 28th, 2014

Each day we benefit from the labour of millions of workers who give large proportions of their lives to provide us with everything which makes up modern life, from power to textile. And every year, hundreds of thousands suffer injury or illness because of their working conditions. And some of these workers die on the job. They are not forgotten.

“Remember the Dead, Fight for the Living”

The slogan for the Day of Mourning reflects the need to remember those who lost their lives but also contains a strong reminder of the need to press for improvements in health and safety in our workplaces, ensuring that workers are protected from workplace hazards that lead to needless deaths, serious injury or illness.

This year we continue to focus on an acknowledgment of our workplace health and safety advocates, their role in reducing workplace accidents and ill health and how this has become increasingly important set against continuing attacks on health and safety legislation by Governments and cuts to resources given to the Health and Safety programs.

The pain and suffering caused by work related deaths and injury is quite rightly remembered and in cities, towns and communities throughout Canada memorials can be found to industrial tragedies that happened on our doorsteps.

For the families of those who were killed and injured in these and other workplace tragedies their lives change immeasurably and they often feel let down by a justice system that takes far too long to establish exactly how their loved ones died, or in the case of those injured, the circumstances that led to them suffering life changing injuries.

On April 28th, please take time to reflect on the service rendered to each of us by millions of unseen workers who make up the workforce of our world and who support the life we lead. Let us collectively ensure that this year’s Day of Mourning observances sends a strong message to all governments of their obligation and responsibility to strongly enforce health and safety laws and regulations. We need to tell our elected politicians we want action and we intend to support only those who will give us this commitment.

In solidarity,
Jerry Dias
Unifor National President


CRTC Hearings Update - Rogers

Courtesy: Howard Law, Unifor Director, Media Sector

After two intense days of CRTC hearings in the nation's capital, we were encouraged by the significant back pedalling that Rogers has made on some of the key issues in the City and OMNI license hearings.

On the strength of our intervention and those of like minded community groups, the Canadian public and Unifor members were rewarded by RBL CEO Keith Pelley's concessions in his reply comments to the Commission on OMNI prime-time programming and the threat that NHL hockey broadcasts could displace current commitments to local programming on City.

However there is no cause for immediate celebration, our work is not done. We will have to wait for the Commission decision to see how it addresses some of the other key issues:

- on City, the diversion of $5M annual local programming spending to Programs of National Interest

- on OMNI, the dilution of Canadian content requirements and the minimum number of ethnic groups covered by programming requirements

- the re-establishment of feet-on-the-street news reporting at Alberta's two OMNI stations, and a guarantee that Vancouver's local OMNI news will be protected by license

We were also delighted that Pelley backed down on the RBL request for a lengthy five-year license for OMNI when the main reason for seeking regulatory relief was a two-year inventory of US programming for which RBL overpaid. Pelley conceded to a two year term and we expect that the Commission will agree.

Pelley also agreed to our request to re-establish the OMNI community advisory boards. We are hoping it will be made a condition of license and we advocated for including union members on those boards.

We hope to get a decision within a couple of months and we will keep you posted


Rogers’ cuts to OMNI chip away at Canada’s cultural mosaic

Despite cuts to OMNI, Rogers Communications has the necessary resources to make quality local ethnic broadcasting work.

Rogers Broadcasting Ltd. is right now asking the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (our national broadcast regulator) to rewrite the rules governing ethnic television in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta – and not to the benefit of ethnic communities.

Rogers wants to direct its multilingual OMNI programming to fewer ethnic audiences, eliminating those it deems unprofitable. They are asking for the ability to remove half of the ethnic communities served. Rogers wants more flexibility to broadcast non-Canadian programming and feels that local community-based programming is too onerous, and wants to cut that, too. That likely means less local news for ethnic and third-language communities.

The company (one of Canada’s largest and wealthiest media corporations) says ethnic broadcasting isn’t paying the bills, that it’s a money loser.

We know that multicultural and multilingual television programming is vitally important to many newcomer communities across Canada. Ethnic broadcasting not only fosters a sense of connection to Canada’s cultural mosaic, it builds communities (through native language story-telling), provides employment opportunities (with in-house technical production, journalists and on-air personalities) and informs the public (through local news reporting in various languages).

Above all, it fosters greater participation in Canada’s democratic life.

It’s no surprise, then, that Canada’s immigrant and newcomer communities were stunned when Rogers announced job and program cuts impacting OMNI stations in May 2013, the latest in a series of ethnic television cuts over recent years.

Our union filed an official complaint with the CRTC, arguing that Rogers had breached the terms of its license. Canadians agreed. Many expressed frustration with the declining level of programming quality and local-ness in community ethnic television.

At OMNI-1 in Toronto, for instance, local programming has been cut in half since 2000/2001, according to the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications. Since 2005, staff in Toronto (arguably the most multi-cultural city in the country) has been cut by 80 per cent – barely above a skeleton crew today. In Alberta, OMNI stations in Edmonton and Calgary don’t employ a single local journalist reporting community news. In 2010, Rogers decided to dissolve community advisory boards, originally created to solicit input and feedback on OMNI programming – losing touch with its ethnic audience.

This consistent decline in resources dedicated to OMNI raises serious concerns about the future of ethnic broadcasting in Canada. Young viewers won’t tune in, if what they see isn’t relevant. And it won’t be relevant if it continues to be starved out.

In fairness to Rogers, the playing field among ethnic broadcasters is tilted. OMNI’s main source of revenue is advertising, and that’s becoming less lucrative as new ethnic specialty channels come online. Some specialty channels can charge viewers subscriber fees, a source of revenue not available to “over-the-air” broadcasters like OMNI (meaning that programs can be watched, for free, through a television antenna). This imbalance must be addressed by the CRTC, and we hope it frames part of the commission’s Ethnic Broadcasting Policy review set for 2016.

But if Rogers thinks the best way to solve its competitive woes is by taking away airtime for ethnic communities (to broadcast more lucrative U.S. programming), then that begs the question: Is Rogers still the most appropriate carrier of Over-the-Air ethnic programming? Ultimately, we think it is. Not only because Rogers has ethnic broadcasting experience, but also because it has the necessary resources to make quality local ethnic broadcasting work.

Rogers Communications is a multi-billion dollar operation that raked in $1.7 billion in profits in 2013. Rogers Media, its subsidiary, earned a healthy $161 million in profits. Dividend payments to shareholders topped $870 million. If Rogers continue to produce ethnic and multilingual programming, without any changes to its license, it would cost OMNI $2 million annually – a relatively small price to pay so that small-market and third-language communities are well-served. Ethnic broadcasting is about serving the public interest – not solely about padding a corporation’s profits.

The voices of our ethnic communities must speak out. The CRTC is holding hearings on April 8 to decide on Rogers proposed cuts. Rogers has had the privilege of delivering this vital service to our communities, for years. Let’s ensure they continue providing quality service for years to come.

Jerry Dias president of Unifor, which represents 660 workers at Rogers, including 60 at OMNI and 370 at City.

Published by the Toronto Star on March 26, 2014.


BROADCAST LICENCE RENEWALS

CRTC hearings into Rogers application to renew its broadcast licences are scheduled for Tuesday, April 8th in Gatineau, Quebec. Hundreds of Canadians submitted their thoughts on Rogers plans through interventions of support or opposition to the CRTC last month.

Unifor has asked some important questions to both the CRTC and Rogers. What the Commission decides will affect our working lives in years to come.

Unifor National Submission

Unifor Local 830M (CITY Vancouver & OMNI BC Unionized Members)

Unifor Local 723M (CITY Toronto & OMNI Ontario Unionized Members)

City of Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson

NDP Member of Parliament, Libby Davies

NDP Members of Parliament, Andrew Cash & Don Davies

Vancouver District Labour Council, President Joey Hartman

BC Federation of Labour President, Jim Sinclair


Changes to the Canadian Labour Code

The lives of almost one million Canadian workers will be placed in danger as a result of cynical amendments that the Conservative government is making to the Canada Labour Code. Buried deep in the government’s latest budget bill tabled on October 22 are amendments to the health and safety provisions of the Code that have nothing to do with balancing the budget, and everything to do with putting workers’ lives at risk.

The government wants to water down the right to refuse dangerous work, end the role of federal Health and Safety Officers in the investigation process and give employers the power to discipline workers when they invoke the right to refuse dangerous work. All together, these changes would make the Canada Labour Code provisions on the right to refuse dangerous work the weakest in the country, and put workers’ lives at risk. These proposals have no business being put in a budget bill.

Recently, some of you answered the call to action by sending an email to your MP and Ministers Leitch youtube videoand Kellie, thank you. Help us to put a stop to these proposed dangerous changes by sending this action to a friend.

We’ve also made an educational video to share that explains the changes simply and effectively, you can see this on youtube and share it with as many people as you can.


Welcome to Unifor

Unifor’s Mission

Unifor strives to protect the economic rights of our members and every member of the workforce (employed or unemployed). We are committed to building the strongest and most effective union to bargain on behalf of our members, working with our members to improve their rights in the workplace, and extending the benefits of unions to non-unionized workers and other interested Canadians.

Unifor’s History

Unifor was officially formed on August 31, 2013, at a Founding Convention in Toronto, Ontario. It marked the coming together of the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) – two of Canada’s largest and most influential labour unions.

The birth of Unifor represented a sign of hope for the Canadian labour movement, and working people more generally.

For decades, union membership (as a share of total employment) had been in steady decline – particularly in the private sector. Running parallel to this decline in union density had been a sharp rise in income inequality, growing threats to retirement security, chronic unemployment and underemployment (particularly for young people) and a noticeable rise in insecure, precarious forms of work, especially among newcomers. The decline of union influence coincided with the rise of grossly imbalanced business-friendly policies, starting in the 1980s, that included tax cuts, labour market deregulation and corporate-led free trade deals.

Unifor was a bold answer to the question: "How do Canadian unions respond to the changing economy and these challenging times?"

Its large and diverse membership (that includes nearly every sector of the economy), makes it one of the most representative voices of our national economy. Its representative organizational structure and innovative forms of membership means it can better address regional economic and political matters on behalf of working people. Its core mandate – to be an effective union that is built by its members and deeply rooted in community – brings Unifor’s work into the day-to-day lives of Canadian families.

The Unifor project began as a discussion about union renewal in the fall of 2011 between former CAW President Ken Lewenza and former CEP President Dave Coles. Informal discussions led to formal talks among union leadership and staff. A formal discussion paper was prepared, which lead to a comprehensive, open and inclusive union revitalization project, spanning 20-months. Members were invited to follow developments of the New Union Project through regularly published reports, a frequently updated website, and were also asked to participate in telephone town hall meetings and online polls.

From its inception, Unifor has become a source of optimism and inspiration that a fairer, more secure future can be won for working people, that unions can adapt to changing times and remain a relevant voice for workplace and social justice.


Canadians demand CRTC hearing on cuts to OMNI TV

A broad range of Canada's multicultural communities has backed a call to the CRTC to hold public hearings on OMNI TV's cuts to multicultural programming. "The multicultural protections guaranteed by the Broadcasting Act oblige the CRTC to act. Rogers' cuts to its five OMNI stations have affected news programs and others in Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Tamil, Ukrainian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi," says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Canada's Media Union.

"That so many organizations representing millions of Canadians have intervened sends a clear message to the CRTC that the cuts have been devastating. Canada's broadcast industry cannot simply give up on accommodating diversity and it is up the CRTC to assure that it doesn't."

"Rogers lobbied hard to get the OMNI licences and promised to serve multicultural communities with original local news in different languages. It now wants to renege."

"Rogers has admitted that it cut multicultural programs because the English-language programs it runs as ‘bookends’ for its multicultural programs are not as successful as they hoped. It beggars belief that multicultural communities should lose their local news in their languages to support less lucrative US sitcoms," said Murdoch.

The organizations that have supported CEP's request to the CRTC to hold a public hearing include the Urban Diversity Forum led by former CRTC Commissioner Andrew Cardozzo, the Canadian Ethnic Media Association, The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada along with national organizations representing Canadians with Chinese, Italian, Polish, Southeast Asian and Tamil backgrounds.

"These Canadians need to know that the CRTC is there in their interest and not simply a commission dedicated to protecting the interests of large media corporations like Rogers." The union expects the CRTC may make a decision within a month.

For More Information: Peter Murdoch, 905-516-5720


Another salvo in Conservative government's war against working people: Bill C-525

The Conservatives have launched another salvo in their war against working people.

Conservative backbencher Blaine Calkins unveiled a private members bill (C-525) that will make it far harder to form a new union and much easier to decertify an existing one.

The legislation will eliminate so-called automatic card check in the federally-regulated sector (telecommunications, banking, transportation etc.). For decades, union certification under the Canada Labour Code has operated this way: a majority (50 per cent +1) of the members of a workforce are required to sign membership cards and pay $5 to certify the union. Bill C-525 proposes to eliminate this model for federally-regulated sectors.

In its place, the union certification process would require 45 per cent of the members of a bargaining unit to sign cards and once this is reached the Labour Board would call a secret-ballot vote.

There are good reasons why the card-check model has been practiced in federally-regulated sectors. For one, it can be difficult to organize votes for bargaining units spread across the country and transport sector employees are regularly in different places. More importantly, the card-check process protects workers from intimidation. It's widely understood -- confirmed by many academic studies -- that secret-ballot workplace votes reduce union certification as they give employers an opportunity to intimidate employees through compulsory anti-union meetings and implicit threats of job loss.

Not only would C-525 lead to greater employer intimidation, it heavily slants certification votes against unions. In a reversal of long-standing voting traditions, Bill C-525 would require unions receive more than 50 percent of members votes of the proposed bargaining unit rather than 50 per cent of votes cast. This means that those who don't vote (maybe because they were on vacation or the employer dissuaded them) are effectively deemed to have voted against unionization. No provincial labour code has this type of provision.

As the president of the Canadian Auto Workers Ken Lewenza pointed out, "If this same distorted standard of democracy were applied to federal MPs, there would not be a single Conservative member sitting in the House of Commons today. There is no MP in Canada who was elected by over 50 per cent of the voting-age adults in their riding. Why on earth should this test apply to unions, but not MPs?"

The same anti-union bias is at play during a decertification vote. Over 50 per cent of the bargaining unit would have to cast a ballot -- regardless of turnout -- in favor of the union to prevent decertification. This will allow a decertification without majority support.

The Conservatives' hostility to organized workers is so strong that they've launched this latest attack even before the Senate has voted on another one of their anti-union private members bills. Currently before the upper chamber, Bill C-377 (An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (labour organizations)) would require every trade union and labour trust to file a public information return with the Canada Revenue Agency on all expenditures over $5,000. It also mandates that labour organizations detail the percentage of time they dedicate to political and lobbying activities.

While they've justified this burdensome bill on the grounds that union dues are tax-deductible, the Conservatives are not requiring other professional associations with the same tax status, such as the Canadian Medical Association or Law Societies, to follow the terms of Bill C-377.

In another front in their open war on organized workers, since gaining a majority the Conservatives have repeatedly intervened in labour negotiations on behalf of employers. Harper's Conservatives have used back-to-work legislation to end labour disputes five times in two years (Air Canada in June 2011, September 2011 and March 2012, Canada Post in June 2011 and Canadian Pacific in May 2012). Last month the government's move to restrict Canada Post workers' right to strike was condemned by the International Labour Organization.

In what would be an even more radical attack on collective bargaining, the forthcoming Conservative party convention will debate a series of resolutions that would effectively eliminate unions' financial security and the so-called Rand formula. One proposal explicitly calls for a U.S. style right to work legislation to allow optional union membership.

Beyond organized labour, the Conservatives have tried to suppress Canadian workers' wages and conditions by expanding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, driving down public-sector work conditions and curtailing Employment Insurance benefits.

Bill C-525 needs to be seen in the context of the government's low-wage strategy. It's the latest step in the Conservatives' bid to reduce workers' power to the benefit of the business class.

Dave Coles article in the Huffington Post


CLC One Minute Message

The Canadian Labour Congress is pleased to announce that Michael Rouse is the first place winner (Solidarity Video) of this year's One Minute Message Video contest.

The objective was to come up with the best message and best video in just under a minute about how unions stand up for fairness, how unions deliver good jobs and better lives, how unions fight for a better deal for everyone. What does the “Union Advantage” mean for you, your family and your community?


Workers' Rights ALERT

Harper and Hudak are promoting changes to labour law that would drive down wages and harm Canadian society

Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak has announced that he will weaken unions by making major changes to labour laws – if he wins the next Ontario election.

Prime Minister Harper has already pushed through Bill 377. This legislation was designed to disrupt unions by requiring extraordinary financial reporting. Harper may soon try to silence labour’s progressive political voice.

Read more about how the conservatives are trying to silence unions here.


Support Our TVO / Notre TFO

Dear CEP members and allies,

I am writing to invite you to join "Our TVO / Notre TFO" – a campaign coalition of families, educators, artists, and employees of TVO and TFO who, as citizens of Ontario, value public educational broadcast media and want a greater voice in shaping the future of TVO and TFO.

Please visit www.OurTVO.ca or www.notreTFO.ca and sign the letter to Ontario's premier, Kathleen Wynne, right away.

These are challenging times for the people of Ontario. We are dealing with a struggling economy, acrimonious public policy debates, and rapidly changing technology. At these moments we seek agencies that we can trust, that can unite us, and that can serve as a resource for information and enlightenment. For more than 40 years in Ontario, TVO and TFO have been such institutions.

However, this is a period of great uncertainty for public educational media in Ontario. Both TVO and TFO are doing more with less funding in real dollars than in years past. In the last Ontario Budget, the provincial government warned that TVO must "reduce its reliance on government funding." What exactly this means is unclear, although TVO announced the cancellation of three signature shows on November 13: Big Ideas, Allan Gregg In Conversation, and Saturday Night at the Movies. Many of our members also lost their jobs.

TVO and TFO belong to all of us. We all have a voice in shaping their future. This campaign is intended to help people and organizations like ours to raise our voices.

I sincerely hope you will accept my invitation to join the "Our TVO / Notre TFO" campaign.

Dave Coles
National President
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada


Bell Code of Conduct

After receiving questions from many local members, the union has sought legal advice on the “Bell Code of Conduct”. On advice from council, the union is now drafting a letter to the employer stating that the collective agreement governs the relationship between our members and the company and not any unilaterally imposed document.

An email was sent out by the company at the end of November stating that all employees must complete the Code of Business Conduct training course by December 31, 2012. At the completion of the course and during an end of year review, employees will also be required to sign a document indicating that they will comply with the Code of Conduct. The union’s lawyer has recommended that we add a line to this document stating: “I am signing this document under protest; a Collective Agreement governs our relationship”.

A copy of the revised document that you may be required to sign is available here.

If you have any further questions, please contact the local union office.


Local Holiday Party

Click to see Photobooth pictures!. Individual pictures will be posted soon.


CEP 2012 Scholarship Winner!


Adrianna Sustar (daughter of Danny Sustar - City TV) has won a 2012 CEP scholarship!

Each year, CEP awards 12 scholarships worth $2,000 each to members and children of members pursuing full time post-secondary education at a recognized institution such as university, college, CEGEP, technical or other schools.

Adrianna is enrolled in the Communications Program at the University of Ottawa and is working towards a Honours Bachelor of Arts.


CRTC Decision Jeopardizes Local News

OTTAWA - In terminating the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) the CRTC has cravenly caved to Canada's largest media barons and jeopardized Canadians' access to high-quality local news and information, says Canada's largest media union. In a policy statement a majority of the CRTC's non-elected commissioners voted to terminate the LPIF in August 2014.

"In ending the LPIF the CRTC ignored not only the Fund's critical role in sustaining and strengthening local news across the country but also large broadcasters' threat to close more TV stations," said Peter Murdoch, Vice-President, Media of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada. In April Bell and Shaw told the Commission that seventeen of their TV stations were unprofitable without the LPIF. "Since the CRTC has ignored repeated requests to mandate local news on TV, this decision will lead to job losses and ongoing threats of TV station closures," added Murdoch.

CEP notes that the only evidence that the CRTC used to support this decision was from Canada's largest cable or satellite companies, not the citizens the CRTC was created to serve. Over 1300 individuals, unions, associations and companies filed submissions about the LPIF - largely to support the Fund and local news - but the CRTC's policy quotes Rogers, Bell and Shaw fifteen times.

"Stephen Harper's no-regulation obsession means that billion dollar cable companies have once again trumped the interests of Canadians, who overwhelmingly offered their support for local TV news," said Murdoch. The CRTC's decision to ignore Canadians in favour of large corporate interests demands an independent public inquiry into whether the CRTC is serving Canadians and their communities.


Recognition of Prior Service as Seniority

In the last three years our Local Union has grown substantially. Along with CTV’s sale of Citytv to Rogers, our National Union organized OMNI-TV operations and engineering employees who are now solidly part of our local. In addition, employees of Etalk are now part of our local, and so are operations and engineering employees of BNN. However, we have not been consistent in the way that we have treated these new members in terms of seniority; if they were organized or came into our bargaining units by agreement all of their prior service was credited for seniority. If they were transferred into the bargaining unit by the employer or applied for a position from another division their prior service with the Company was not credited as seniority.

The employers we deal with now; Rogers and Bell Media, have different views about service and seniority than did CHUM Limited. As a result it was necessary to review and to update our policies about service and seniority in order to treat all of our members fairly and equitably. Therefore, here is a motion passed by your local executive board. The objective of the motion is to recognize the service that many of our new members have brought with them from other divisions of the same company. We will also recognize service that our long term members brought with them from other divisions of CHUM Limited. In this way we feel we will correct the inconsistency in our treatment of members’ seniority.

We are requesting that members who have come from other divisions of Rogers, CTV, or CHUM and who may not have received credit for “uninterrupted service” as seniority to contact us with the details.

Click Here for a copy of the motion.



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