Thursday, August 23, 2007

Quebec police says masked protesters were cops

Dave Coles, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, has alleged the three masked men had acted as agents provocateurs.

A video posted on YouTube from Monday's protests in Montebello, Que. shows Coles in a confrontation with the men.

He tells them to remove their masks. One of the three men is holding a rock and Coles tells him to move because their line is meant for peaceful protesters.

'These three guys are cops, everybody!' Coles can be heard shouting to the crowd as he tries to pull down their bandanas.

The three men then push their way into the police line and appear to be arrested, then taken away.

Police said that after viewing the clip, they were able to confirm the men were Quebec provincial police officers.

Photographs taken by another protester had shown the three men lying on the ground with the soles of their boots adorned by yellow octagons. A police officer kneeling beside the men appeared to have the same imprint on his boot -- likely the Vibram boots logo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Oilsands workers unhappy with offer

FORT MCMURRAY -- Workers from all trades at the Long Lake oilsands site south of Fort McMurray are protesting the latest contract offers before their unions.

Several workers participated in a "very peaceful demonstration" organized by the pipefitters Friday afternoon, said Dawn Ohama, an electrician with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

Workers don't like the current four-year proposal retroactive to Aug. 12, when the terms were agreed on. They want a two-year deal retroactive to May 1, when past contracts expired.

The last offer made to IBEW members calls for a minimum pay increase of 23% over the next four years.

It also includes a 1% inflation protection index.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Another union settles: possibility of strike by trades workers remote

article: Fort McMurray Today
Four of five unions in a legal strike position may not be hitting the bricks after all as they have reached unratified memorandums of agreement (MOA).

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is the latest union to reach an MOA, its third attempt at a new contract.

“We’re happy that we’ve got a memorandum that can go back to our membership with,” said Tim Brower, IBEW business manger, adding he was pleased a strike may have been averted.
Brower was in Fort McMurray Wednesday night meeting with shop stewards and discussing the MOA. He added the union is recommending its members accept the deal. Voting will be done by a mail-in ballot.

The four-year agreement calls for minimum wage increases totalling 23 per cent.

Construction workers eye strike

article: Edmonton Sun
Some 7,000 carpenters and labourers played catch-up with five other unions last night as they packed a downtown hotel for a strike vote.

"At this point the contractors have not come to us with an offer we can take back to our members," said Martyn Piper, spokesman for the Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers.

"The major stumbling block is that we aren't prepared to accept percentage wage increases. That only increases the gap between the trades. We want increases in the contract that are in dollars and cents."

The union members are among several construction trades yet to ratify agreements with the Construction Labour Relations Association, which represents contractors.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers is currently voting on whether to accept an offer of a 24% pay raise over four years, which includes inflation protection.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

2007 Shutdown schedule now online

Construction Maintenance and Allied Workers (CMAW)

Musings From the Goddess of Garbage

Musings From the Goddess of Garbage submitted by Gordon Flett, CEP 2000, via email
- I would dump my garbage at City Hall if I lived in the city
How is the civic strike affecting you?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Alberta labour flexes its muscle

3 page article: Financial Post Organized labour within the province's construction sector may be a shell of its former self, but the stakes are higher than they ever were in the early 1980s.

This time it's not office towers that are exposed to being toppled, figuratively, by an extended job action or surging labour costs but a $100-billion oilsands sector that is already feeling the pinch from cost increases in areas other than labour.

Mr. Payne and his union brethren make no bones about the fact they have fixed their eyes on the oilsands and US$70 oil as a way to reclaim ground that was lost as oil prices fell in the mid-80's bust.

"We're standing here in a position to right history," he says, seated in a tiny cafe near the carpenters and joiners' headquarters on the fringes of downtown Calgary, describing the psyche within his union of 6,000 -- or at least among those carpenters who have long memories. He says there are many who do remember the hard times, just as there are many cognizant of Alberta's present-day economic status.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

'Don't mess with Alberta'
'Should a red seal welder, the highest apprenticeship there is, weld pipe from Edmonton to the B.C. border and be recognized the world over but not be able to weld pipe on the other side of the border in B.C.? Is that acceptable?'

The conference is to focus on energy, interprovincial trade and the environment. The second issue is particularly important to Alberta which is pushing for a national version of its Trade, Investment, Labour and Mobility Agreement with B.C.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Carpenters, labourers take strike votes

article by Gordon Jaremko,
Another two construction unions are taking strike votes, raising the number of trades liable to down tools across Alberta this summer to seven.About 5,000 carpenters and 2,000 laborers vote Aug. 15 on whether to line up for action with boilermakers, plumbers, electricians, millwrights and refrigeration mechanics.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

There's trouble brewing in paradise

CANOE -- CNEWS - Daily Feature:
Families have paid a high price for the turmoil in the forestry industry. Of the 127 members of the Canadian Energy and Paperworkers' Union who lost their jobs, about half moved away. Families have split up. Displaced workers have taken jobs in Alberta to pay the bills -- many of them working 20 days in and four days off in order to travel the 1,600 miles home. Still, Calgary is closer than Toronto.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Unions must vote again

By CAROL CHRISTIAN, Fort McMurray Today
Come Labour Day, there could be no labour on oilsands and other worksites, as ongoing negotiations with area trades have hit two new snags -- a do-over vote and a new strike mandate from two other unions.
While the boilermakers vote (Local 146) complied with Alberta labour laws, it missed the mark with its own international constitution. One example is the use of Alberta Labour Relations Board approved ballots instead of the union’s specific strike ballots. That means a re-vote has to be held with mail-in ballots to be counted Aug. 18.
While it doesn’t change the outcome, the new vote has to be held because “It’s constitutionally necessary. Their international won’t let them come along with the other four to strike,” said Barry Salmon, media liaison for the unions. This action will further delay negotiation or strike actions because the unsettled trade unions have to serve strike notice as a united group.
The unions involved also represent electrical workers, millwrights, refrigeration mechanics plus plumbers and pipefitters.
The original vote was held July 4. Those ballots had the boilermakers voting 98.6 per cent in favour of a strike. The low end was 85 per cent in favour from the refrigeration mechanics.
Now adding to the mix is two other unsettled trades, carpenters and labourers. They decided to to take a strike vote Aug. 15. Their contracts expired at the end of April.
While this delay further frustrates the process, Salmon noted “There may be some tactical advantage to wait until those two trades can come with us.” He added that instead of being five strong, they’ll be seven strong with a strike mandate.
Meanwhile, delay tactics is a term being used by unions to describe the negotiation process surrounding contracts for the five unsettled trade unions.
Settlements have been reached with 14 of the 25 trades. Under the Alberta labour code, if 19 have reached agreement, the remaining unsettled trades are forced in line with their right to strike removed.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Horizon faces test if oilsands strike

article by Jon Harding, Financial Post
'If Canadian Natural wants to tell investors it's protected from a strike, then the company is dreaming in technicolour,' Mr. McGowan said. 'The question around Division 8 hasn't been answered by the labour relations board and if that state remains and a strike occurs, there's a good chance you'll see picket lines at the Horizon gates.'

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Colbert Report - Solidarity

Comedy Central : Videos
Colbert Report - Solidarity
Stay vigilant, Carpenters Union - you're not only part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Ex-B.C. union boss gets 8 years for cocaine bust

article: Vancouver Province
A former B.C. union boss caught smuggling cocaine was jailed in the U.S. for eight years yesterday after refusing to co-operate with authorities.

'He didn't co-operate or testify or give up any names, and that would have reduced his sentence,' said Tom Rice of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Spokane. 'The investigation started on Jan. 18 in a field near the Canadian border and got cold after that and ended in that field.'