Friday, September 28, 2007

Union leader challenges Monte "Open-the-Floodgates" Solberg to justify latest expansion of Temporary Foreign Worker program

Canada NewsWire (press release)
Government shouldn't be in the business of helping keep wages down, says AFL

EDMONTON, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Just because more and more employers are clamoring for access to easy-to-exploit temporary foreign workers doesn't mean the government should ignore the broader public interest and give them what they want.

That was the message of a strongly-worded letter sent today by Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan to federal Human Resources minister Monte Solberg.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lotto winner cashes in $8.8M bookmark

CBC News
A pipeline worker from Hinton, Alta., got more than a thrill from her mystery novel when she found the lotto ticket she was using as a bookmark won her nearly $9 million.

B.C. and Alberta fast-track foreign workers

read: Vancouver Sun
Temporary foreign workers will be fast-tracked into British Columbia and Alberta in as little as five days under a pilot project launched today to address "very desperate" labour shortages in both provinces.

Monday, September 24, 2007

To all members of CMAW and the BC Provincial Council of Carpenters


answer YES to the $6 Million question - let's pay the International off at par - and stop wasting millions in additional legal fees

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tradespeople hold mock funeral

CANOE -- CNEWS - Weird News
Yelling "shame," "change the law," and "no more Iris," the demonstrators unleashed their anger at the provincial government - and in particular Employment Minister Iris Evans - for enforcing labour laws they say are unconstitutional.

A recent Supreme Court ruling made collective bargaining a constitutional right, said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

"Alberta's labour laws don't facilitate collective bargaining, they discourage it," McGowan said. "It's not only wrong. It's now illegal," he said.

McGowan announced that the first charter challenge had been filed by the Boilermakers Local 146 two days ago, calling the union "the first into the breech."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Union probing layoff of Newfoundlanders in Alberta

read full article: St. John's Telegram, Canada
A union representing workers at a major oil sands project in Alberta says it has confirmed that Newfoundlanders were left stranded in Alberta by improper layoffs, but contends the magnitude wasn't as great as first expected.

All the same, Frank Kooger, regional director with the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) in Fort McMurray, said steps will be taken to resolve what happened.

"What we've been able to identify through our pursuit is there were two gentleman who were laid off or terminated during their probation period, and that they were improperly just given a ticket to Edmonton and let go," said Kooger, who was in St. John's Thursday making media rounds in an attempt to defuse the situation.

He said the company in question had been approached by the union, and the company will be reviewing its layoff record as a result.

"That's improper on the part of the employer," Kooger said of what happened. "(The workers') tickets will be reimbursed."

As first reported by The Telegram, Sept. 13, a group of Newfoundland workers had complained they were unexpectedly laid off due to what they were told was a shortage of work by a contractor at the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) Horizon oil sands project.

The workers had been on a 20-days-on, eight-days-off schedule that required the company to take care of worker flights between Newfoundland and Alberta.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Threats of criminal charges for striking workers

The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and the Alberta Building Trades Council have taken out ads warning carpenters they could face criminal charges or civil action if they don't return to work.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Alberta: Worker suffers fatal injury while climbing scaffolding

OHS Canada
An Alberta worker has died after falling approximately eight feet from scaffolding while working on a house under construction.

At about 3:15 pm on September 11, two workers were installing tube and clamp scaffolding as part of external work on a new house under construction in Calgary when the worker fell, says Barrie Harrison, spokesman for Alberta Employment, Immigration and Industry (AEII). When paramedics arrived on the scene, says a statement from Calgary Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the worker was unconscious. The worker required aggressive advanced life support and was transported to Foothills Hospital in critical, life-threatening condition, the statement says, and later pronounced deceased.

“[The worker] tried to climb from a 2.3-metre tall section of scaffolding to a 3.2-metre section when he fell, struck a crossbar and landed on the ground,” Harrison reports. “All we know at this point is that the distance of the fall was between 2.3 and 3.2 metres.”

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Scaffolding collapses at condo project

article: Victoria Times Colonist
The collapsed happened about 4 p.m. at the ironically-named The Falls construction site, on Douglas Street at Burdett. It's an $80 million luxury condominium project being developed by Westbank Projects of Vancouver.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Workers converge in protest

update: The Calgary Sun
The demonstration was in response to an Alberta Labour Relations Board motion ordering union workers to "cease and desist" such pickets.

Journeyman millwright Stephen Anderson said unions have "gone through all the legal channels but Alberta's labour laws are slanted against us." Millwrights have agreed to a contract, but Anderson said many union members didn't agree with its ratification.

"This is all about antiquated labour laws favouring big oil, and making it nearly impossible for us to strike," he said.

Similar "information pickets" in Fort McMurray have cost at least 200 scaffolders their jobs at the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Horizon oilsands project, said Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan.

CNRL could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tradespeople defy back-to-work order

update: Edmonton Journal
EDMONTON - Construction tradespeople defied a back-to-work order today in a growing revolt against Alberta's labour laws.

Hundreds of union workers shut down construction at Petro-Canada's billion-dollar refinery expansion, then staged a rally in front of the Alberta Labour Relations Board, near the legislature.

Major work disruptions were reported at some construction sites in Fort McMurray and at Shell's Scotford plant in Fort Saskatchewan.

'It's spreading,' Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said of the job action.

Alberta carpenters are furious after being denied right to strike - Journal of Commerce, Canada

Friday, September 07, 2007

Strike ruling angers Alberta's unionized carpenters, roofers

article: CBC News
Although some union members are calling for wildcat strikes, union official Martyn Piper says the union does not want its members to do anything illegal.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Forestry's tectonic shift

article: Vancouver Sun
This day, Aug. 30, marked the last day one of the mill's two football field-long paper machines will operate. Catalyst is laying off 185 workers, leaving just over 200 people to run the remaining machine. A third machine, shut down last year, is being taken apart and shipped to India. When it is re-assembled, it will emerge as yet another low-cost competitor.

CEP Local 592 #3 Paper Machine
The rumor that A3 has been sold appears to be true. Ron Buchhorn did confirm that there were discussions with prospective buyers and the specific details were still to be worked out. He also confirmed that if and when the machine is to be dismantled and crated, that JVDI would be contracted and that the company would employ some of our laid-off members working under our collective agreement.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Alberta carpenters, roofers ready for strike

article: CBC News
The Alberta Regional Council of Carpenters and Allied Workers said in a news release it plans to serve strike notice Wednesday morning to Construction Labour Relations, the umbrella group that negotiates the contract for the workers.

However, under a Alberta labour law, if 19 of the 25 groups in the province's unionized construction industry negotiate a deal with their employers, the remaining groups have to go to arbitration and can't walk off the job.

Right now, 18 have a deal.

Carpenters set to hit picket lines Saturday - The Edmonton Journal

The Contractors trying to head off strike - Calgary Sun

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labour Day

"With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men."
Clarence Darrow, in The Railroad Trainmen, 1909

click for Labour Day flash animation from