News briefs: Jan. 18

Machinerie Laurin workers join USW; Nason workers in Edmonton sign deal

News briefs: Jan. 18

Tentative deal reached in St. John’s

ST. JOHN’S — A tentative deal was reached on Jan. 12 between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Newfoundland and Labrador government for a two-year extension of current collective agreements.

The extended agreements cover the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022.

CUPE’s bargaining committee — representing seven sectoral groups — agreed to accept the tentative agreement extension. Each of the unions involved in bargaining with the province will now take the agreement to a vote by members, says the union.

No details will be released until both the union and the province have ratified the agreement, says CUPE.

Machinerie Laurin workers join USW

LAVAL, Que. – About 40 workers employed by Machinerie Laurin in Laval, Que. joined the United Steelworkers (USW) on Jan. 12.

The workers manufacture industrial metal containers for waste materials.

Employees withdrew from another trade union organization — the Centrale des syndicats démocratiques (Congress of Democratic Unions) — in order to join the USW, Local 2008. The new union certification was granted at the beginning of January, says the union.

“The time had come for us to change unions. Our voice was no longer being heard within the old union and the services had ceased to meet our needs,” says Marc-André Magnan, a representative of the group of unionized workers.

Nason workers in Edmonton sign deal

EDMONTON – CLAC, Local 63 members working in the fabrication shop of Nason Contracting Group in Edmonton voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new collective agreement.

The contract — which will be effective from Jan. 1, 2021, until July 30, 2023 — was ratified by 95 per cent of the membership in December. The agreement keeps wages steady and provides some improvements to premiums and allowances for such expenses as boots and tools, says the union.

“Employees can now collect short-term disability after seven days. We also made improvements to the RSP contribution by the company,” says John Taekema CLAC representative.

Local 63 represents 45 members of various trades in the Nason fabricating shop. Nason works on construction projects throughout the Edmonton area.

Ripley’s Aquarium workers unionize

TORONTO — Workers at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto voted to join Unifor on Jan. 9 after an organizing campaign that lasted for several months.

“We’ve repeatedly seen employers try and fail to undermine organizing efforts by workers. This is just one more example,” says Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.

While workers were engaged in the organizing campaign, management at the aquarium repeatedly attempted to dissuade workers from joining the union, says the union.

Ultimately, 70 per cent of the workers voted to join the union, says Unifor.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the aquarium has been hit hard by public health restrictions with its doors largely closed to the public first in March, reopening briefly in summer, and shut down again in the fall. Throughout the pandemic, workers were in regular contact with Unifor to express concerns over health and safety standards, poor management communication, arbitrary pay cuts, layoffs and terminations that contributed to an overall decline in the workplace environment, says the union.

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