Work and workplace
Work and workplace struggles
By Richard R
It has been over a month since the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) held their one-day protest of the provincial Liberal Party leadership convention, mobilizing some 15,000 people on the streets of Toronto and then sending them all home again around 4:00 PM. The protest was part of the trade union response to Bill 115, which enabled the provincial government to circumvent collective bargaining and mandate the terms of new “collective agreements”. Within the bill were draconian provisions for any attempt to challenge the legislation, through the courts or in the workplace. It is worth noting that while the union leadership were pushing for this day of action, they were also cynically hedging their bets in the form of thousands of dollars in union dues being funnelled into contributions to Liberal leadership candidates. In one case $10,000 was donated to Eric Hoskins, a leadership contender who had in fact voted in favour of Bill 115.
By Paul M
The IWW and members of Common Cause Toronto have been hitting the picket lines in support of striking refuelers employed by Porter Fixed Base Operations (FBO) at the Toronto Island airport. The strike has been bravely fought by a mere 22 workers fed up with unsafe working conditions and low wages. Injuries due to poor training and heavy turnover have not been uncommon, and the workers currently earn an abysmally low 12 dollars an hour. As the workers continue their fight against their bosses at Porter, anarchists must keep up the support until the dispute is won.
Around 30 people walked the picket lines at Sir John A. McDonald highschool in Hamilton Wednesday morning. Rather than representing an official union on strike, the picket was organized by an assortment of community members acting autonomously. Cars were held for 2 minutes each, snarling morning rush hour traffic on Cannon Street, and created a line up which lasted into first period that day. The action served to demonstrate the potential for acting outside of official bodies meant to represent workers, and the laws that inhibit them.
By: Devin K
With the recent resignation of Dalton McGuinty and the decision to prorogue the Ontario legislature, the future of the Ontario Liberals fight with the teachers’ union may be uncertain. The Premier's decision comes amidst the ongoing dispute with elementary school teachers and Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), which has lead to the imposition of Bill 115. Cynically named the “Putting Students First Act”, Bill 115 bypasses the collective bargaining process forcing a 2-year wage freeze and ban on strikes, along with a host of other concessions from on the teachers’ union. In the current context of austerity measures being imposed by all levels of government, Bill 115 is part of the now routine use of anti-strike legislation in both the private and public sector.
By: Delbert Francis
The Ontario government has announced that it will end the Community-Start Up and Maintenance benefit (CSUMB) for recipients of Ontario Works (OW) and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) on December 31, 2012. Considering the real value of a welfare cheque has declined by nearly 60 percent since the mid-nineties, doing away with community start-up amounts to kicking the poor while they’re already down. To stop this cut poor people and public sector workers in Ontario will need to fight back together.
Solidarity Networks, organizations of mutual support that use collective action to win demands are on the rise. This article is about early organizing efforts in Waterloo Region around the closing of Zellers locations, specifically, the attempt to form a solidarity coalition to support those affected by the store closures. Although not a formal Solidarity Network, the coalition has taken on similar work and may ultimately contribute to the forming a Solidarity Network in Waterloo Region.
By: Morine R.
Sarah was hired by Rokbar management to serve in their club on Hess St. in Hamilton’s downtown. Sarah worked her shifts over late nights and often until early mornings. But Rokbar was experiencing some problems – it become apparent that management had some difficulties organizing their finances. And of course, the employees paid the price.
By Devin K
The Hamilton Wentworth Detention Centre or Barton Jail as it is more commonly known, has been on lock-down for over week now due to a ''labour dispute" between guards and upper management. The guards, members of OPSEU local 248, are alleging health and safety concerns, and have refused to search cells after a piece of metal fixture went missing in the jail on Monday August 13th. The guard’s refusal to work has lead to a lock-down situation with management taking over operations of the jail.
Protest signs and work boots hang off a fence at the front gate of the Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London Ont. on Jan. 21 Photo: Mick Sweetman
By Alex Balch
There was little to celebrate this New Years Eve for workers at the Electro-Motive Canada (EMC) plant in London, Ontario. As midnight struck, the factory's 465 employees found themselves locked out of their workplace and forced into a labour dispute with one of the largest industrial equipment manufacturers in the world – Caterpillar Inc (CAT).
Common Cause supports the locked out workers of CAW Local 27 in their struggle for a living wage. The year of 2012 has begun with a blatant attack on the working class. Electromotive Canada (EMC), owned by Caterpillar, has demanded a 50 per cent wage cut and major pension and benefit concessions. When the workers refused to accept that offer the company locked them out at the start of the year. This shows that the capitalist class, aka the 1%, is only interested in their own profits and will stop at nothing to meet this goal.
The events at EMC will set the tone for the struggle against exploitation in London, Canada, and beyond. Whether this ends in victory or defeat, this struggle is important for all working people, but we must do everything we can to win. If mobilized, the power of the labour movement can stop the bosses in their tracks.