Saturday, October 28, 2006

IUOE Local 115 members remain united

IUOE Local 115 members remain united - Local 115, International Union of Operating Engineers June newsletter
We have seen some interesting developments on the labour front. The Carpenters Local 1598 tried to raid both our union and the Labourers Local 1611 at Farmer Construction Ltd. in Victoria. When the dust settled and the ballots were counted, the results were 31:2 in favor of staying with us and the Labourers. Congratulations to all those Operators and Labourers who definitely sent a clear message of “Leave us Alone!” to the Carpenters. It is amazing how much damage has been caused in the past few years by the fight between the Carpenters’ international union and provincial council. I cannot see how this has benefited anybody in the building trades either.

In another incident, the Communication, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 470 (with ties to the provincial Carpenters) signed a Pulp and Paper Survival Agreement with JVD Mill Services Inc. A brand new local signed a brand new agreement with a brand new company to do all the maintenance work which was traditionally done by building trades affiliates. Amazingly, this collective agreement, covering Catalyst’s four mills on Vancouver Island and in Powell River, also prevents the Carpenters from working at these mills. However, we believe our members will still get work there under our collective agreements due to the fact that our contractors own the cranes, vacuum trucks and excavators.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Remote workers: Plug them in to keep them loyal

Remote workers: Plug them in to keep them loyal - By DAN MCLEAN, Globe and Mail, Canada
What might make these employees stay?

That's the challenge facing petroleum companies like Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy, Canadian Natural Resources, Petro-Canada, Nexen and a host of others as they seek to recruit workers to massive oil sands projects in remote northern Alberta. These multibillion-dollar petroleum-drilling operations attract employees who are a well-paid, but transient group. That's a problem, since employee turnover can cost companies as much as 10 per cent of revenue.

Technology is being used to stem the exodus by supporting communication services that improve the quality of life at work camps through a range of personal entertainment offerings, such as telephone, Internet and pay television.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

CAW sending group to Ottawa to lobby MPs to pass anti-strike breaker legislation: Bill C-257

Help support this lobby by telling your MP to support Bill C-257
Bill C-257 was introduced as a private member's bill by Bloc Québécois MP Carole Lavallee, which if passed, would prevent the use of replacement workers in the event of a labour strike or lockout.  Ms. Lavallee introduced a similar anti-strike breaker bill [Bill C-263], which was defeated by just 12 votes on April 7, 2005.  This is the tenth attempt by the Bloc to win anti-strike breaking provisions for workers who are governed under the Canada Labour Code.  As was the case the last time, the NDP is expected to join the Bloc and vote solidly in favour of Bill C-257.  Labour legislation should treat workers and employers fairly in the event of a strike or lock-out.  Both sides must pay an economic consequence in such situations.

The CAW is sending a group to Ottawa to lobby Conservative and Liberal MPs days before the Bill is tabled and will sit in the House of Commons during the vote.  Bill C-257 will be voted on in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, October 25, 2006.  As support for this legislation has increased slowly over the years, it is hoped that this time out anti-strike breaker legislation will pass and be enshrined in the Canada Labour Code.

It is anticipated that Prime Minister Harper may try to bind his Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretaries to oppose the Bill, similarly as was done in 2005 by Liberal PM Paul Martin.

Please help support this lobby:  Click on the "ACTION" box and send your MP a fax/email telling them to vote in favour of Bill C257.  

Tell your Member of Parliament to vote Yes to prohibiting the use of scab labour: Bill C-257 -

Subject: RE: Bill C-257 - Stop Scab Labour
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 11:30:33 -0400
From: "Atamanenko, Alex - M.P."

October 23, 2006
Dear Mr. Livingston

Thank you very much for your e-mail in which you have expressed your concerns regarding Bill C-257 An Act to Amend the Canada Labour Code (replacement workers).

The NDP are long time supporters of workers rights to a fair and just collective bargaining process. I and my colleagues believe we need strong, clear anti-scab legislation to make this happen, and this Bill is a good step forward. I fully support passing this Bill, and making it even stronger when it comes to Committee for debate.

The NDP also has introduced a Bill dealing with anti-scab legislation, Bill C-295, and are working closely with the labour movement, and the Canadian Labour Congress to get this legislation through.

Please be assured that I will continue to work with my NDP colleagues to make sure this Bill moves forward.

For your information, I have taken the liberty of providing you with a copy of a speech by the NDP Labour Critic, Ms. Libby Davies, MP, on the issue of Bill C-257.

Again, thank you very much for writing. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Alex Atamanenko, MP
BC Southern Interior

Thursday, October 19, 2006

CEP Convention Update #5

Tim Thompson - Viewpoint
Vice President
38,013 votes cast. 0 spoiled ballots.
Don Boucher - 17,175 votes. Don MacNeil - 20,838 votes. Don MacNeil is elected.

Administrative Vice President (Paper Sector)
An explanation: since Don MacNeil is out of the Energy sector, the AVPs have to be from the other sectors. Wendy Sol was acclaimed in the Communications sector. Keith Barrington was eliminated from running because he is also from the energy sector. A candidate defeated in a higher office is eligible to step down and run which is what Don Boucher did.37,374 votes cast. 199 spoiled ballots.

Don Boucher - 22, 350 votes. Bob Hughf - 14,824 votes. Don Boucher is elected.

CEP Convention Update #3

Convention Update #3
In the at large nominations, the following were nominated and acclaimed:
Dave Coles - President.
Gaetan Menard - Secretary-Treasurer
Peter Murdoch - VP - Media

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

open letter to Pat Haggarty

Brother Haggarty

I would like to go on the record as saying that I was impressed with the way you handled what must have been an awkward time for yourself and some very divisive times for our union. I have been critical of events that have unfolded on your watch over the last 2 years, such as the substandard JV Screwdriver agreement, the forced march towards the CEP and the failure to take a decent CMAW constitution to the members and the lack of any elections to date for the 3 CMAW presidents that have held that position by appointment and of course the postponement and cancellation of our BCPC convention earlier this year. I can only surmise that you have had some extremely poor advice from within and without our union.

That said, I feel you acquitted yourself once again with the exemplary demeanor that I first saw when you chaired the meeting with McCarron where the lights went out at 513.

fraternally, dave livingston

From: "Pat Haggarty"
To: "'dave'"
Subject: RE: praise where it is due
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2006 13:13:11 -0700

You know, I think that was a backhanded compliment.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

CEP national convention

CEP national convention next week
VANCOUVER, B.C. - CEP Western Region Vice-President Dave Coles will open the convention on Sunday at 9:45 a.m. Delegates will debate dozens of resolutions including a call for the Canadian government to withdraw from all military operations in Afghanistan, unless sanctioned by the UN; to make trade policy more democratic; and to implement a public pharmacare program. Other resolutions call on CEP to renew efforts to save jobs through reduced working time; to build on organizing breakthroughs such as those with Metis and First Nations workers; and to help Locals become more politically active.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Results of elections at 62nd BCPC Convention

Tony Heisterkamp elected over Jan Noster for President (59 votes to 31)
Frank Nolan elected over Pat Haggarty for Secretary Treasurer (56 votes to 33)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

TALES OF PULP FICTION: CEP'd on from above

Almost 4,000 jobs lost following Sask. mill closures: report

Almost 4,000 jobs lost following Sask. mill closures: report - CBC News
The total damage from the closure of Prince Albert's pulp and paper operation was much worse than the 690 direct jobs that were lost, a government report says.
According to a report from the premier's task force on forest development, which was released on Thursday, the total impact of Weyerhaeuser closures was closer to 4,000 jobs.
In addition to the direct job losses that took place between January and April, there was another 1,380 indirect jobs connected to the Prince Albert operation that were lost.
There were more losses from the closure of Wapawekka and Big River sawmills, which had been feeding wood chips to the pulp mill — 1,883 direct and indirect jobs.
So the total is 3,953 direct and indirect jobs.

Dave Coles stamps his foot, but life goes on even in Saskatchewan

CEP wants strong message sent to Weyerhaeuser on PA mill

For Immediate Release October 6, 2006

The Saskatchewan government must be prepared to use its authority to force Weyerhaeuser to either operate or sell its forestry operations, said Dave Coles, Western Region Vice President of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada.

Coles responded today to the final report of the Premier's Task Force on Forest Development delivered yesterday to Premier Lorne Calvert.

"The report has lots of good ideas but they are worthless if this company can hold a whole province to ransom," said Coles. "We know that there are forest companies prepared to make paper in Prince Albert if Weyerhaeuser won't, and we cannot accept the decision of Weyerhaeuser-Domtar to leave these forest operations idle.

"Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan have suffered enough and waited long enough. We want Premier Calvert to put a 'use-it or lose-it' choice to this company."

The task force report makes 17 recommendations to the province to revitalize the forest industry. However in the late stages of the drafting of the report, Weyerhaeuser struck a corporate deal with Domtar to transfer management of its Saskatchewan operations to a new combined company headed by Domtar management. Negotiations with other companies to purchase the Prince Albert paper mill and other forest operations were broken off and Weyerhaeuser-Domtar management has stated that the Prince Albert mill will neither be sold nor reopened.

For information:
Dave Coles: 604-240-7284

Catalyst, unions discuss future of company's Port Alberni, B.C., pulp and paper mill

Catalyst, unions discuss future of company's Port Alberni, B.C., pulp and paper mill; fate of US$22M investment on the line - Canfor Direct ForestWeb
Catalyst is closing its groundwood pulp mill on Sept. 30, resulting in the loss of more than 60 jobs, the newspaper reported. Deinked pulp from the company's Paper Recycling Div. in Coquitlam, B.C., will offset the shortfall of feedstock.

The mill's two unions, the Pulp and Paper Workers Local 686 and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers of Canada (CEP) Local 592, are being asked to approve a five-year dedicated supplier agreement that would guarantee uninterrupted deliveries.

Although the supplier agreement would not assure employment at the mill, failure to reach one would lead to a reorganization of the mill's workforce in January 2007 and 'the customer order will go to another Catalyst mill,' the company said.

The supplier agreement is part of an optimization plan for the Port Alberni mill which includes cost-cutting measures. At previous meetings, Catalyst asked the unions to make changes in work practices, which the company has said it needs to assure reinvesting in the mill will reap benefits.
Catalyst Paper cancels poison pill, clears way for Third Avenue offer
In 2005, Catalyst reported a loss of $25.6 million or 12 cents a share on sales of $1.82 billion. That compared to a loss of $28.6 million or 13 cents per share on sales of $1.88 billion in 2004.

The company shut down groundwood pulp operations at its Port Alberni mill at the end of September and cut 60 jobs in a move to reduce fibre costs.

The paper maker said the groundwood pulp produced by the mill will be replaced by de-inked pulp supplied by the company's paper recycling division in Coquitlam, B.C.

U.S. shocks Canadian forest companies

Drops claim that Canadian lumber is subsidized - By Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun
"The U.S. has agreed to come to the party," said B.C. lumberman David Gray, co-chair of the Free Trade Lumber Council.

Gray said because the U.S. has withdrawn its claims of subsidy and dumping, all but one of the lawsuits that have been tying up implementation of the softwood lumber agreement are now moot.

But Canada does not give up the legal precedents it achieved through five years of fighting the Americans, he said.

"This solves the litigation problem and it keeps our precedents alive. So when they screw us next time, they are going to have to do something different," Gray said.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hochstein - acid reflux ad nauseum

Unions fight 'double-breasting' - By Jim Jamieson, The Province
Gary Kroeker, business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers and president of the B.C. & Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council, said the practice -- known as 'double-breasting' -- has been going on for a decade.

'Employers who had collective bargaining arrangements with building unions have seen fit to restructure and . . . end up starting a new company with no union obligations,' he said. 'In our opinion, the powers-that-be at the Labour Relations Board haven't used balance in the decisions made with a number of companies.'

But Phil Hochstein, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., said the unions like to blame others for their trouble.
'The real enemy isn't everybody else, it's their organizations. It's their non-productive work practices in their collective agreements, it's their featherbedding in their collective agreements,' he said.

Hochstein said the craft unions -- unions that represent workers with a specific skill, such as carpenters or boilermakers -- lost out while the industry and other unions were adapting over the past two decades.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

B.C. labour tensions rise over foreign workers

B.C. labour tensions rise over foreign workers - Michael Scott, Vancouver Sun
Tensions flared last month when unionized ironworkers walked off the job in Vancouver to protest what they see as the risk of Canadians being replaced by temporary foreign workers. The German construction company Bilfinger Berger has applied to bring in 345 foreign ironworkers for its Golden Ears Bridge project.

That move enraged officials of Ironworkers Local 97, who said there was no shortage of experienced ironworkers in Canada ready to work on the project.

"They're nuts," said Ironworkers business manager Perley Homes, in a statement. "Bilfinger Berger is paying lower wages and benefits than other unionized contractors to their temporary foreign workers. They're not paying fair market rates, and this is putting pressure on other contractor firms to reduce wages and benefits, and look at hiring temporary foreign workers."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Suncor Satisfied With Foreign Workers

Suncor Satisfied With Foreign Workers - By Lynda Harrison, Nickle's Energy Group, Canada
The Philippine workers -- welders, ironworkers and pipe-fitters - at the Firebag onsite camp, about 40 kilometres northeast of Suncor's original oilsands plant, are on one-year visas, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

They were hired by Suncor contractor Flint Energy Services Ltd., by way of the federal government's temporary worker program.

'There's a fairly involved process,' said Brad Bellows, a Suncor spokesman. 'We have to work through a couple of levels of government,' he said in noting 'all of the qualifications of the workers have to be certified as being equivalent to Alberta standards through Alberta Learning. It's a fairly time-consuming process.'

The foreign workers are not unionized but are paid the same prevailing wages as unionized workers, said Bellows.