Labour briefs (July 16, 2001)

FAMILY TIES THAT BIND NEGOTIATIONS
Mississauga, Ont.— An Ontario school board is struggling to negotiate union contracts because so many of its members are related to teachers. Of the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board’s 11 trustees, six are related to teachers and in conflict of interest when it comes to bargaining. The problem arose after the courts rejected a law banning people married to teachers from running for trustee, ruling it discriminated against people based on marital status.

McUNIONS IN OLD WORKERS’ STATE
Moscow — In what is considered a significant though perhaps fleeting victory for the labour movement in Russia, McDonald’s was recently forced to recognize a union at one of its processing plants. McDonald’s Canada controls operations in Russia, which were accused of intimidating workers considering unionization. The Russian government rebuked McDonald’s for violating the rights of citizens to establish a union, but the government has also been accused of taking a pro-business stance, introducing a new labour code that slashes maternity leave and lowers minimum wages.

WE PREFER OUR MATH
Toronto — Toyota Canada will challenge a union application by the Canadian Auto Workers, claiming the union has underestimated the number of employees and therefore does not have the requisite 40 per cent support needed to proceed. Toyota said the union seems to be basing its application on a number of 2,000 workers, but the car-maker has said in the past its workforce is about 2,700 strong.

RAISING AWARENESS OF VIOLENCE
Edmonton — After including the creation of an anti-abuse policy in its latest contract, Alberta nurses grew tired of waiting for employers to follow through and began a campaign on their own to raise awareness about the abuse nurses face from managers, doctors and patients. The nurses posted signs to educate patients and co-workers about the problem. The reorganization of hospitals has brought higher rates of violence, the United Nurses of Alberta says.

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