Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Canada's hottest new import? Employees

Globe and Mail
It's not unusual for entire planeloads of foreign workers to be flown straight to the oil-sands projects in northern Alberta.
A sign hanging outside Calgary-based JIR Solutions reads, 'Get your foreign worker today!'

The almost one-year-old company specializes in bringing skilled workers to Alberta through its recruiters in the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and Britain.

While some recruitment firms charge the prospective worker thousands of dollars just to line them up with a job in Alberta, JIR president Eric Rudy says his company does not. JIR charges the companies seeking employees a $1,000 administration fee, plus $320 for every month the worker is on contract, and assists newcomers to get settled by helping to find accommodations and introducing them to people who share their heritage.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What are they smoking?

PPWC Local 2 Editorial - Summer 06
What are they smoking?
The latest insidious trend is the new JV Driver agreement. This agreement with an outside contractor may well have a serious impact on the next set of negotiations in 2008.

What is really troubling about the agreement is that a supposedly legitimate union, helped usher in this essentially substandard agreement.

The agreement allows JVD to become the “Contractor of Choice” for all the Catalyst mills. Its gives JVD the first shot at any work the company intends to contract out. I assume that means that work that used to go through a bidding process to get the best contractor and best deal, will now simply go to JVD. And why not, since JVD with its “Pulp Mill Survival collective agreement” and it’s new employees is allowed to pay substantially less money and benefits to those employees, they should have a much lower cost structure. They are able to pay labourers almost $10 an hour less than labourers in our mill, and certainly much less than similar positions in other building trade certified contractors. They also have a clause that offers more money to their workers if they have no accidents over a certain period of time. So if you have an accident while working for them, you do not get the safety incentive bonus, and your accident may affect the pay of the other people you work with. That certainly is a big incentive to report your injury! This deal can make it harder for us to keep work in our mill as the company now has a cheaper alternative ready just outside the gate. Not only are they sitting outside and waiting for our work, they also have an onsite contact to help them plan on getting our work.

The distressing thing about this whole deal is the fact that another union helped broker this whole deal with JVD and Catalyst, a union that we used to partner with in province wide negotiations.
Continued on back page... (click here and scroll to very bottom to finish editorial)
Page 3
Summer ‘06
PPWC Local 2 website http://www.islandserve.com/~ppwc2/

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Journeyperson Scaffolders Required Immediately

download the PDF at the CEP 470 & 777 benefits page
CEP Local 777 is looking for experienced Journeyperson Scaffolders for long-term work with JVD Mill Services Inc. at the Horizon Oil Sands Project, 80 kms west of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The schedule for BC workers at the site is 20 days straight, eight days home. The employer provides free charter flights from Vancouver directly to the site and camp.

The hours of work are 10 hours per day, with all hours after the seventh paid at the overtime rate of time and a half. In the first and last two days of the cycle (four days in total), the overtime rate starts at the sixth hour.

Two hundred hours in the cycle are guaranteed as a minimum. Safety bonuses are paid quarterly by automatic deposit.

There are two Alberta government requirements to working on the project: (1) All members must pass a urine drug test administered and paid for by CNRL; and (2) All members must pass the Alberta Construction Safety Training System (CSTS) course, which is a four-hour computer-guided interactive session conducted at the CEP training centre in Vancouver. This course must be completed before leaving Vancouver for the job site.

For further information, please email Josh Coles at the address below.
Josh Coles, Representative
CEP Western Region
jcoles(at symbol)cepwesternregion.ca

Thursday, February 15, 2007

CEP Alberta: New Unit Formed at Local 777

CEP Western Region News - Feb. 07 pdf
Jan Noster the president of the Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers ( C.M.A.W. ) recently met with new members of CEP Local 777 who are also a part of his group. Attending the meeting as well was Terry Dekker, President of Local 777.

This unit is quite unique as many of the members are a part of the Quebec Federation of Labour (FTQ) construction wing. They are filling much needed positions at Horizon Construction site in Fort McMurray as a result of an agreement between the FTQ and CEP. There was a large turnout at the meeting with translation provided by one of the members.

Don MacNeil brought greetings from the National Executive and welcomed the new members into CEP. Jan Noster spoke of the great relationship CEP has with the FTQ and how he wants this relationship to continue to grow. First order of business was electing an interim executive. Several members put their names forward and elections were held. The new executive was sworn in by Brother MacNeil.

While in Fort McMurray, Jan Noster also met with Dave Drummond , President of CEP Local 707, and the executive to talk informally about what CMAW has planned for the Fort McMurray area.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

CMAW Winter 2007 Newsletter

Jan Noster
Click here to go to the link to download a copy of our newsletter in Adobe PDF format.

Council news
Volume 1 Issue 1 Winter 2007

Where do we go from here?

We must build a modern, progressive, responsive organization that non-union workers want to join and that our members proudly support. Where do we go from here? The best way to build such an organization is to first remember where we’ve been – building trade unions once commanded a monopoly of ICI construction in British Columbia.

In the early 1980s we saw the rise of the neo-conservatives and the election of the Socreds, as well as the rise of the open shop movement and the emergence of alternative construction unions like CLAC & CISIWU. And we witnessed the failure of the building trades unions to change with the times.

This led to a slow and steady decline of the power of construction unions. What was once a monopoly has been reduced to a point where today the traditional building trades have a mere 10 to 15 per cent of the ICI construction market. Make no mistake about it – carpenters, construction workers, and workers in general have suffered greatly because of this decline.

The rest of Canada, with the notable exception of southern Ontario and the province of Quebec, has been unable to shake a trend that started with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan and continues with Stephen Harper and George Bush.

We have to do things much differently if we are to once again achieve the gains our members deserve and to earn the trust of a majority of construction workers. On page 2, I have identified the immediate priorities that CMAW must address. Thanks for taking the time to read the first edition of our new newsletter, and work safe!

Name this newsletter and win $200!
We need a name for our new CMAW newsletter. Come up with the winning entry – the name will be proudly displayed across our newsletter for years to come – and you’ll receive $200. Entries must be received by March 2.

Receive your newsletter by email
If you would like to receive your newsletter electronically, send your email address to the CMAW email address below.

By mail: Construction Maintenance & Allied Workers Union
305 – 2806 Kingsway
Vancouver, B.C. V5R 5T5

Monday, February 05, 2007

OLRB upholds trusteeship of Universal Workers Union Local 183

Canada NewsWire
In a sweeping judgment submitted Jan. 26, 2007, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) ruled Labourers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) established 'just cause' for placing Universal Workers Union Local 183 under trusteeship, replacing former business manager Tony Dionisio.

'It is surely inconsistent with the core values of LIUNA and Local 183 to expend union funds on surreptitious surveillance conducted for the purpose of preserving the positions of those in power,' wrote the OLRB's Norm Jesin. 'It is also inconsistent with those core values to approve the forgery of collective agreements.'

'I have found that LIUNA has established just cause for the imposition of trusteeship,' Mr. Jesin added.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

It's open season for union raids

read full article at Daily Commercial News, Canada - TORONTO
Contractors fear labour chaos as former Universal Workers Union Local 183 boss Tony Dionisio seems set to raid his former organization and others as open season begins.

With the three year collective agreement terms expiring April 30, the law allows for a three month “open season” starting today, concurrent with negotiations during which time a union may apply to represent workers.

For his part, Dioniso denies he has raids in mind, but evidence from other sources seems to indicate the fledgling Canadian Construction Workers Union (CCWU) is already moving in that direction.

“We’re not worried because we know the membership of Local 183 is disgusted at the former leadership and they have no intention of following such a despicable character,” said Joseph Mancinelli, Canadian general manager of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).

“We’ve had our ear to the ground with our members and we’re certain of that.”

He called Dionisio’s denials he was planning to raid Local 183 for members, “absurd.”

“He says he has no intentions of raiding but in front of the OLRB at least one of the companies already has agreements with other unions or did under their previous names and the law says there are successor rights” said Mancinelli.

Last Friday, the Ontario Labour Relations Board set March 19 as a hearing date into the CCWU’s attempts to certify as the union representing PBS General Contractors. While there are only three members of the bargaining unit, it’s a key test case which will establish whether the CCWU can become a bona fide union.

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners says it already has a collective agreement in place with the predecessor companies, Target Drywall and Acoustics Ltd. which was sold to Tabrco Management Ltd. The Carpenters argue PBS is in fact the same business, “working out of the same premises, sharing telephone and facsimile numbers and have key persons in common.”