Labour Briefs

Alta. leader backs CAW; Union faces own strike
Edmonton — Alberta’s largest union is rallying behind the Canadian Auto Workers in its ongoing battle with the Canadian Labour Congress. Dan MacLennan, president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, who represents 44,000 members, is supporting the CAW’s fight over the transfer of members from other unions into the CAW. The AUPE broke away from the national labour umbrella group to support the CAW which was sanctioned and effectively stripped of any muscle within the national organization after it took in 30,000 members from the U.S.-based Service Employees International Union. Meanwhile, about 75 staff employees of AUPE are working on the other side of the picket line after going on strike themselves late last month. The strike action has shutdown union offices and suspended all arbitration and grievance procedures.

Girl Guides ready to wage first strike
Burnaby, B.C. — The first Canadian Girl Guides staff to be unionized continue to hammer out negotiations for a new contract that would restore coffee breaks amongst other things. Girl Guides staff of a B.C. division joined Local 561 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees earlier this year after new management took over the board and fired the executive director. Coffee breaks, disability health and benefit packages were stripped away after the new board took over.

Cap on caseloads ends strike
Toronto — A precedent-setting agreement that ended a six-week strike by 250 employees of the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto will see caps placed on caseloads and filing of grievances if caps are exceeded. Allowing workload grievances is a first in the social services sector and will set the stage for other workers. The new language of the agreement gives workers minimum bench-marks, a number that triggers a review of caseloads.

Follow B.C. lead on wages urges Que.
Montreal — As the minimum wage rises in B.C. next month, union leaders in Quebec are calling on the provincial government to step up to the plate at home. The Quebec Federation of Labour, the province’s largest union federation, is urging the Parti Quebecois to raise the hourly minimum wage from $6.90 to $7.15 which would bring the figure closer to the new B.C. wage of $7.60—the highest in Canada. “We absolutely have to do something about this situation,” said federation president Henri Masse. About 185,000 workers in Quebec receive a minimum wage and make an average of $14,000 annually.

Nurses want control over contract work
Toronto — Nursing home operators walked away from intense negotiations with the province’s largest health care local union after they stonewalled proposals to maintain restrictions on their right to contract out bargaining unit work. The Service Employees International Union Local 204, which is representing 9,000 nursing home employees in 65 nursing homes across the province, is demanding an arbitration panel be established to resolve the issues in dispute.

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