Tim Hortons

Ontario coffee drinkers are rightfully dismayed that the owners of some Tim Hortons franchises have chosen to cut back on their workers’ benefits, paid breaks and even tips in response to the minimum wage increase to $14 an hour.

Ontario workers are right to be concerned that there is nothing illegal about the behaviour of Tim Hortons franchisees in reducing benefits and paid breaks. That’s because Tim Hortons employees do not have the benefit of an enforceable collective agreement — they largely work at the mercy of their employer.

If Tim’s workers did have a union, these cutbacks would, of course, be in violation of their union contract and the union would ensure Tim’s was prevented from making such miserly and unilateral cuts.

The reason Tim’s employees and so many other workers don’t have the benefit of a union contract is that Ontario’s labour laws make it virtually impossible for workers in franchise operations to join unions.

The recent package of labour law changes passed by the Wynne Liberals did some good things for Ontario workers — most notably it included a long overdue increase to the minimum wage. But it is unfortunate that the government did virtually nothing to provide service sector workers, like the thousands of Tim’s employees, with real access to unionization and collective bargaining.

Our current system of labour relations was designed in the 1930s and ’40s when workplaces were very different — and it is profoundly ill-suited to accommodate collective bargaining at thousands of retail franchises across the province. It is very difficult to generate any real bargaining power by trying to unionize one Tim’s store at a time — let alone trying to negotiate at one, or even five, Tim’s stores among the hundreds spread across Ontario.

As a result, the overwhelming majority of retail franchise workers in Ontario are not unionized. And it is not for a lack of trying, both by unions and workers. Many unions have organized Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and Starbucks franchises, for example. But those efforts have ultimately failed to create any real union density in the sector because labour laws remain stacked against Ontario’s most vulnerable workers.

The Ontario government promised its labour law reforms would address the challenges created by growing precarious employment in small workplaces. In reality, it has left vulnerable workers exposed to precisely the unfair treatment we are seeing today.

The government took no action even though its own task force — the Changing Workplaces Review — received numerous submissions from unions and other organizations calling for legislation to allow broader sectoral bargaining in Ontario, similar to laws found in some sectors in Quebec and across much of Europe.

The government’s own task force also concluded that the current system of bargaining with a single franchisee is “unlikely to be viable.” The task force recommended a small change that would have allowed bargaining with multiple franchisees of the same franchisor. Sadly, the government rejected even this modest proposal.

Finally, the Wynne government also rejected a proposal from the entire labour movement that workers in all sectors should have the opportunity to join a union without employer interference, by simply signing a union membership card. The government’s rejection of this proposal virtually assures Tim’s workers who want to join a union that they can expect to be subjected to a legal campaign of anti-union coercion and harassment by their employer.

Premier Wynne claims to have modernized labour laws to protect Ontario workers and grow the middle class. But simply increasing the minimum wage will not stem growing inequality.

History demonstrates that unionization and collective bargaining are the most important factors in reducing inequality and growing the middle class. On that score, the Ontario government has given retail workers less than half a cup of coffee.

Marty Warren is the Ontario Director of the United Steelworkers

 

 

USW Potash Locals United Like Never Before Following Strategic Meetings

 

SASAKTOON, Sask., 12 January 2018 – The United Steelworkers Potash Locals have concluded two days of successful and productive meetings in Saskatoon, Sask., where local unions came together to discuss a number of issues important to Steelworkers who work in potash mines in the province.

 

USW Locals 189, 7458, 7689, 7656, 7552 and 7916 were joined by District 3 Director Stephen Hunt, Assistant to the Director Scott Lunny, Staff Representatives Mike Pulak, Phil Hayden and MC Breadner to take part in the strategic discussions.

 

The meeting follows on the heels of the merger between employers Agrium and Potash Corp. The new employer is Nutrien and the USW sees the merger as an opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between all potash locals.

 

“The importance of standing together, shoulder to shoulder, was recognized by the leadership of all USW locals. We know that by co-ordinating our efforts like never before we can ensure Steelworkers are treated with the respect and fairness they deserve,” says Darrin Kruger, President of USW Local 7552.

 

As USW members employed by Nutrien and Mosaic prepare to go into bargaining, the meeting was an opportunity to build power and create even greater synergy among potash workers. USW locals at Nutrien let the Mosaic locals know in no uncertain terms that they have their backs and vice-versa.

 

That unwavering, mutual support will help all locals achieve good things for members over the coming years, says Kim Wehner, President of USW Local 7689.

“When we stand united, we can achieve tremendous things for our members.”

 

A key discussion during the meetings was the rise in potash prices and the positive outlook for the industry.

 

USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt congratulated the locals on their commitment to working together and says it’s how workers will continue to make progress at the bargaining table.

 

“From stem to stern, in every one of our potash locals and in every facet of our union, there is a strong commitment to speak with one voice and to stand united and together. I’m very proud that the leaders of all of our potash locals are working in solidarity to co-ordinate their efforts. It means good things ahead for our members,” says Hunt.

 

The USW Potash locals represent 2,500 potash workers in Saskatchewan.

 

Sask Taxi Workers

Steelworkers’ Taxi Workers Council Will Provide Strong Voice for Taxi Workers in Western Canada

SASKATOON, Oct. 25, 2017  – The United Steelworkers (USW) commitment to providing a strong voice for taxi workers has taken a significant step forward today with the creation of the District 3 Taxi Workers Council, which will represent taxi drivers and dispatchers across Western Canada.

The Council brings together representatives from USW local unions to work together on the specific issues faced by taxi drivers and dispatchers, to provide leadership that will ensure that USW taxi workers are at the forefront of building a safe and fair taxi industry.

The Chair of the newly created District 3 Taxi Workers Council says taxi drivers and dispatchers are standing together to fight for their rights as workers.

“The establishment of the District 3 Taxi Workers Council demonstrates the USW’s commitment to ensuring that every taxi worker in every province is treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” says Malik Umar Draz of USW Local 2014 in Saskatoon.

Over two days of meetings, USW members employed in the taxi industry strategized about how to bring forward solutions to the many issues faced by taxi drivers and dispatchers; and how to grow their membership and ensure that more taxi workers benefit from the strength and voice that comes with belonging to the Steelworkers.

“As Canada’s most diverse union, we are proud of our record of fighting for workers in many different industries and sectors of the economy. I’m proud that we are building on our work representing taxi drivers and dispatchers by creating the District 3 Taxi Workers Council,” says USW District 3 Director Stephen Hunt.

“Together, we will make progress for taxi workers and ensure they have a seat at the table.”

From a growing number of incidents of workplace violence, to challenging working conditions and issues like Uber, Lyft and others, taxi workers face many daunting matters. The District 3 Taxi Workers Council will provide the forum and leadership to address these issues and pursue respect, fairness and dignity.

 

Bargaining Update

USW Seeks Mediation as Evraz Negotiations Reach Impasse

Calgary, Alberta – Two Local Unions of United Steelworkers at Evraz steel facilities in Calgary and Regina have reached impasse in negotiations with their employer over the company’s outrageous concessionary demands. The union will be seeking the assistance of a mediator through the Saskatchewan Minister of Labour to advance negotiations, with the prospect of a labour dispute if mediation is unsuccessful.

Both USW 6673, representing 300 workers at Evraz Calgary, and USW 5890, representing 900 workers at Evraz Regina, have secured strike mandates, with votes of 100% and 99.3%, respectively. Evraz Calgary is a critical supplier to the North American energy market, specializing in oil and gas well casing, tubing, heat treating and EVRlock connections. Evraz Regina produces steel plate and coil, small and large diameter pipe, and oil and gas well tubing for the energy sector.

“Evraz management needs to wake up and realize that, as a profitable company, with a productive, hard-working workforce, they don’t need to attack benefits and working conditions,” says USW western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. “It’s despicable that the company is trying to squeeze out even more profits by going after benefits of young workers, retirees and surviving spouses.”

The two locals met jointly with Evraz negotiators in Calgary this week in the hopes of advancing towards a fair renewal of their Collective Agreements. Talks broke off on Tuesday morning with the company continuing to insist that concessions on the existing contract be part of the discussions and ultimately form part of any settlement. The Union has adamantly rejected rolling back benefits and terms of their existing Collective Agreements.

“Whether it’s in Calgary or Regina, Steelworkers do the hard work that makes Evraz profitable and all they are looking for in return is a fair deal that respects their work,” says Keith Turcotte, USW Staff Representative. “Rolling back benefits and conditions is not fair and the membership has said they will not accept it.”

“Evraz management needs to re-think their strategy,” adds Hunt. “We will not betray young workers and roll-back wages and benefits for new hires.”

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Contact:

Stephen Hunt, USW Director, 604-816-2554
Keith Turcotte, USW Staff Representative, 403-999-616

 

Steelworkers News Release

Strong Strike Vote By Steelworkers In Response To Evraz Attacks

 

May 26, 2017

 

Regina – Members of United Steelworkers Local 5890 at Evraz Regina have voted 99.3% in favour of strike action in response to Evraz’s extreme concessionary demands.

 

Evraz Regina Steelworkers have been without a contact for nearly a year – the previous contract having expired in July 2016. Despite the union’s attempt to negotiate a fair collective agreement, Evraz management have launched an unprecedented attack on the working conditions of their own employees.

 

“This Russian-owned, American-managed company is extremely profitable, but their greed knows no bounds,” says USW western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. “Evraz is trying to squeeze out even more money by attacking the long-standing benefits of workers, including a demand to end certain pension benefits for retirees and removing a benefit for surviving spouses. It’s a sickening and shameful attack on vulnerable people.”

 

Other demands from Evraz management include:

 

  • 0% wage increase for 3 years and then 0.5% for 2 years
  • Removing Cost of Living Adjustments
  • Implement a two-tier wage system for new hires
  • Reduce overtime payments and scheduling
  • Alter the Long Term Disability Plan

 

“Every day Steelworkers at Evraz Regina do the hard work to make the steel that help builds our country and allow the company to be profitable. Instead of a fair deal that respects their work, Evraz management have declared war on their own employees. It’s a reckless decision that puts the viability of the company at risk at a time when they’ve just received a contract to provide pipe for the recently approved Trans Mountain pipeline,” says Keith Turcotte, USW Staff Representative.

 

“Our members built Evraz Regina and they are never going to accept this type of attack lying down. The exceptionally strong vote is a message to management that they should rethink the path they are heading down,” says Hunt.

 

USW Local 5890 represents approximately 900 members at Evraz Regina.

Tubular 3 day layoff

For all individuals who were not contacted by the company and sent home for the 3 day layoff please either call the office at 569-9663, email m.day@usw5890.com, s.mackie@usw5890.com or r.mckenzie@usw5890.com so we can compile a list and file a group grievance.

Why a labour leader who backed Hillary Clinton is now drawn to Donald Trump’s side

AARON P. BERNSTEIN/REUTERSi

DAVID SHRIBMAN

PITTSBURGH

SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

APRIL 21, 2017

What’s wrong with this picture from the White House Thursday?

There’s President Donald Trump, sitting at his Oval Office desk, the iconic yellow curtains behind him and a group of American grandees, including the Commerce Secretary, surrounding him. And at the centre of the picture is Leo Gerard, who’s not even an American and who is president of a union that backed Hillary Clinton in the November election.

That picture – capturing an unusual, even uncomfortable president-to-president moment – is a glimpse of how the isms have become wasms in American politics. Mr. Gerard, who grew up near Sudbury in Lively, Ont., and is the chief of the 1.2-million-member United Steelworkers, was plainly uneasy in the Trump White House. But on a day in which the 45th President also launched an unscripted attack on Canadian dairy-trade practices, Mr. Gerard felt he had a vital role to play.

“The important thing for my being there is that Canada’s not the problem that the United States has in the steel industry,” Mr. Gerard said in an interview Friday in his office, a 12th-floor aerie with a spectacular view of Pittsburgh’s three rivers. “The problem with the steel industries of both countries – Canada and the United States – is the onslaught of unfairly traded steel, primarily from China but also from Japan, South Korea and India.”

The occasion for Mr. Gerard’s White House appearance was Mr. Trump’s signature on a memorandum calling for an investigation that could lead to barriers to steel imports from China and other nations with steel industries – a move that pleased Mr. Gerard and that Mr. Trump said was aimed at helping the American workers who he said were “one of the primary reasons I’m sitting here today as President.” Mr. Trump cited national security and invoked half-century-old statute for the basis of his initiative.

Mr. Gerard’s union may have opposed Mr. Trump’s election, but its members supported many elements of the Trump political appeal – not so much a contradiction as a commentary on the impatience and frustration that blue-collar workers have in the second decade of the 21st century.

“In the industrial heartland – and I refuse to call it the Rust Belt – a number of our members voted for Trump because he talked about doing the things they believed needed to be done, especially rebuilding manufacturing,” Mr. Gerard said.

“No one really was as aggressive or assertive as he was. He spoke directly to their concerns.” Then he added: “Part of the difficulty is that he’s got to deal with a Republican majority in Congress that over the time I’ve been around has never really lifted a finger to make life better for workers. In fact, they’ve done the opposite.”

The route from Mr. Gerard’s youth, as the son of an Inco Limited miner and volunteer labour organizer, to Mr. Trump’s office took him through negotiations involving Wilbur Ross, now the Commerce Secretary in Mr. Trump’s cabinet. Labour leaders such as Mr. Gerard sometimes are exceedingly wary of commerce secretaries – Herbert Hoover was perhaps the most famous – and often are more congenial to labour secretaries.

But Mr. Gerard considers Mr. Ross, who has a history of rescuing bankrupt manufacturing companies, as a vital ally.

“Back in the start of the 21st century, we had a huge crisis in the steel industry – again – and we worked with Wilbur Ross and were able to save the majority of LTV and Bethlehem Steel,” said Mr. Gerard. “I can remember they were going to close LTV’s Cleveland operations, and we got support to keep it going from Wilbur Ross. Today, that Cleveland mill is one of the most modern, efficient mills in the world – and they were going to bulldoze the thing.”

It was the involvement this spring of Mr. Ross, and the contemporary crisis in the steel industry, that drew Mr. Gerard to Mr. Trump’s side, at least for a signing ceremony.

“Part of the reason I was willing to go to the thing with Trump was to make it understood that it’s not just steel,” Mr. Gerard said. “The same thing’s happening in aluminum, cement, glass. The trade laws don’t work. On both sides of the border, we have to fix the trade laws. The American and Canadian worker should not have to pay this price.

“Don’t tell me we can’t compete,” he continued. “We can’t compete against cheaters.” Mr. Gerard, who during the 2016 campaign criticized Mr. Trump’s companies for using imported steel, isn’t the only North American labour leader to find himself by the new President’s side. Leaders of the United Auto Workers and the Building Trades Union have favoured Trump initiatives in his first hundred days on behalf of the automobile industry and energy-pipeline interests, respectively.

In his youth, Mr. Gerard, now 70, sat on the basement stairs listening to stewards’ meetings conducted by his father. He signed on with a contractor doing work in the local nickel smelter one summer. Eventually, he abandoned his dream of becoming an economics professor. He first visited Toronto when he began to advance in the Canadian labour movement.

Mr. Gerard, whose Northern Ontario accent would be unremarkable in Sudbury but is a colourful presence in Pittsburgh, knows he is playing a difficult role in Mr. Trump’s United States. But as the president of the largest industrial union in North America, he is an experienced political hand and believes he has both a strategy and a tactic.

“What we did, after the election, was to indicate that if the President wanted to renegotiate NAFTA and have a big infrastructure program and re-energize and rebuild the manufacturing base, we would be ready to help him,” he said. “But at the same time, if and how it gets done is important. If [Mr. Trump] is going to rebuild infrastructure by having toll roads and all that jazz, that would shift the cost back to workers, that would not be the best way to rebuild the infrastructure.” But Mr. Gerard speaks as much as a Canadian as a labour leader.

“Part of my role is to make sure I’m a voice for our members on both sides of the border,” he said. “Steel, rubber, cement, glass – I make it clear Canada is not part of the problem.”

 

Steel Trade with U.S

Brothers and Sisters,

On March 16th  members from your executive along with District 3 director Steve Hunt and Staff Representative Leslie McNabb met with the Honorable Ralph Goodale to discuss the impact  Steel trade with the U.S has on Steelworkers in Western Canada.

Much of our discussion was about the impact a “buy american” policy in the U.S would affect our members and Evraz as a whole. Mr. Goodale was very receptive to the talks and we left him with a few things to take back to the cabinet and the Prime Minister. We made the point that like our American counterparts, Canada’s steel industry has suffered from global overcapacity and the dumping of steel products primarily by China, Japan, Korea and Turkey. Without maintaining fair trade, and fair access to markets the Canadian government must be as vigorous as our American counterparts in defending Canadian workers. In the U.S unions have the direct ability to file trade complaints and in Canada we can not. An issue we would like to see changed.

Recent discussions in the U.S regarding the Keystone Pipeline have often incorrectly referred to Canadian made pipe from Regina as “Russian” pipe. The discussions  ignore that a significant portion of the pipeline will also traverse within Canada. They also ignore that there is no comparable pipeline manufacturer within the U.S that can produce the volume and quality that we can.

 

We will continue to fight for our jobs!

In Solidarity

 

2016 Industry Canada memo on steel industry raised “Buy Canada” policy

 

The industry department in a secret 2016 memo discussed a “Buy Canada” policy to aid the steel industry. The Access To Information memo cited “near-crisis conditions” due to dumping of China-made products.

“There are increasing demands from firms and other stakeholders for federal government action to support the steel sector, including strengthening Canada’s trade regime against unfair imports and adopting a ‘Buy Canada’ policy to favour Canadian steel in infrastructure procurement,” said the memo Steel Industry Update; “Global steel prices are expected to remain weak due to anemic demand and excessive production around the world. Conditions are not expected to improve until 2017 at the earliest.”

Canada since 2008 has imposed anti-dumping duties on steel products from China, the world’s largest producer. “This is not a fair market,” Paul Halucha, assistant deputy industry minister, testified at 2016 hearings of the Commons trade committee.

Steel Industry Update cited “hyper-competitive conditions” in the sector that have driven two of the country’s largest steelmakers into creditor protection, Essar Steel Algoma and U.S. Steel Canada.

“Near-crisis conditions in the global steel industry are posing significant challenges to the Canadian steel industry as it struggles with record low prices and competition from unfairly traded imports,” the department wrote.

Much of the four-page memo was redacted. Cabinet has publicly dismissed a “Buy Canada” policy as contrary to competitive bidding and trade policies.

Canada’s steel industry employs 17,000 and is worth $2.6 billion a year, by official estimate. MPs have advocated a “Buy Canada” policy on steel contracted for public works. Canadian-made product accounts for 19 percent of the steel used in construction of the $4 billion Champlain Bridge at Montréal.

“It is very strange the Government of Canada is importing steel while Canadian steel mills are laying off workers,” MP Erin Weir (Regina-Lewvan), New Democrat public works critic, earlier told the Commons. “If we are concerned about economic development in our country, if we are concerned about our environment, we should be using Canadian-made steel.”

Trade department officials have estimated Canadian steel mills emit 42 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every tonne of steel, compared to 152 kg in the United States and 598 kg in China.

“They can crank this stuff out,” Conservative MP Dave Van Kesteren (Chatham-Kent, Ont.), earlier told a trade committee hearing on steel imports. Van Kesteren recalled touring a Chinese mill fueled by high sulfur-content coal in 2007. “I really thought they were burning tires, seriously,” he said.

By Mark Bourrie

 

 

Grievance Protocol

CUPW – 2016-07-06 – CUPW Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against Canada Post

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CUPW Files Unfair Labour Practice Complaint Against Canada Post

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Wednesday July 6 2016
2015-2019/135
No 36

The Canada Labour Code provides that the parties have a duty to make every reasonable effort to negotiate a collective agreement and must bargain in good faith. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from interfering in the affairs of a Union. Today, CUPW filed a formal complaint to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) that Canada Post management has failed to negotiate in good faith and is interfering with the Union’s right to represent its members.

The complaint covers both the Urban and RSMC bargaining units. It describes in detail the refusal of CPC to engage in any meaningful discussions or negotiations regarding the RSMC unit. With respect to both the Urban and RSMC units, CPC has refused to negotiate on their global offers which were submitted one week prior to the parties obtaining the right to strike or lock-out. CPC has also circumvented the bargaining process by negotiating through the media. An example is they claim our proposals will cost $1 Billion, which they repeatedly make to the media but refuse the Union’s repeated requests to justify their numbers.

Instead of bargaining, the employer has simply tabled offers that it knew would be totally unacceptable to the Union. Finally, management representatives have been communicating directly with Union members, making threats and spreading disinformation.

Once both parties have made all of their submissions, the CIRB will determine its procedure. We have asked that the complaint be heard immediately.

 

Negotiations Continue

As we previously reported, we met with CPC on July 4th, where they provided us with a written rejection of our global offer. Today, we met with CPC, in the presence of the mediators, to discuss several issues. Although we cannot report any major progress, we remain committed to the negotiations process.

We will continue to report developments as they occur.

 

 

As always, stay informed, stay united, and resist provocations.

Sylvain Lapointe
Chief Negotiator, Urban Unit
George Floresco
Chief Negotiator, RSMC Unit

The Leader Post from USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann

Dear Leader-Post Editor,

The photo printed with the headline “Tory Candidates Laud Pipeline Industry” (Oct. 9) was carefully staged to show pipe produced at Evraz stored outside the fence of Tesco Mechanical, the company hosting this Conservative campaign stunt.

The story did not mention that Tesco itself uses pipe imported from China, which does not support employment at Evraz in Regina.

It did correctly report, “The candidates did not make any new announcements in regards to new projects or investments.” Certainly, the Conservative government has not done anything to prevent Chinese steel producers from exploiting unfair competitive advantages by undercutting internationally-recognized labour and environmental standards.

The new trans-Pacific trade deal negotiated by Conservatives in secret during the election campaign will facilitate importing pipe from Japan and Korea, as opposed to manufacturing pipe in Canada.

NDP leader Tom Mulcair has consistently supported a west-east pipeline, subject to a proper environmental review process. Unlike proposals running west or south from the Alberta oil sands, a pipeline going east would have the capacity to transport Saskatchewan oil and keep refining jobs in our country.

The Conservatives offer nothing but photo ops and empty rhetoric about pipe manufacturing jobs. By contrast, the NDP’s fair trade policies would limit the dumping of steel from offshore into the Canadian market, encouraging the use of pipe produced in Regina.

The NDP has better policies to support good Canadian jobs and is the only party that can replace Conservatives in Regina.

Ken Neumann,

United Steelworkers Canadian National Director and former IPSCO employee

A message from United Steelworkers District 3 Director Stephen Hunt

In recent times Labour Day has been seen as the last long weekend of the summer, but it should, and it does, mean so much more.  It’s a time to celebrate the sacrifices made by each generation of workers that have resulted in a better life for every Canadian.

By looking back we can appreciate how far we’ve come.  From the very beginnings of our union, Steelworkers have never backed down from a fight.  Emboldened by the strength and solidarity that has been the hallmark of the USW, our union has been at the forefront of every struggle to improve working conditions for women and men in Canada, and around the world.  And we know that our work is far from done.

This October 19th, working people have an unprecedented opportunity to elect a federal government that is truly on our side.  Voters from every part of our country are looking to the NDP like never before and we are set to make history.  We can elect Tom Mulcair as Prime Minister of the first New Democratic Party government in Canadian history.  But it will only happen if we work for it!

I know that Steelworkers are up to the task, so this Labour Day let us commit ourselves as never before.  Let’s talk to one more friend, knock on one more door, make one more phone call, put up one more sign and take one more person with us to vote.  In doing so, we will have honoured the workers that came before us and will have contributed to electing a government that will ensure a brighter future for working people everywhere.

Telecommunications Workers Union and United Steelworkers Announce Merger

 

TWU-USW-Photo-600-1

TORONTO – In a referendum vote counted today, members of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) have voted 73.7% in favour of joining the United Steelworkers (USW).

The TWU represents 12,000 members across Canada who work for telecommunications companies including TELUS and Shaw Communications, as well as employers in related telecommunications sectors. Continue reading Telecommunications Workers Union and United Steelworkers Announce Merger

Buy Bottled Beer, Not Cans, Steelworkers Say

United Steelworkers launches biggest radio ad campaign in its history to end yearlong labour dispute at can-maker Crown Holdings

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2014 /CNW/ – Today the United Steelworkers (USW) is launching a radio advertising campaign aimed at ending a yearlong strike at Toronto beer can manufacturer Crown Holdings.

Compelling, 30-second spots encourage consumers to “buy bottles, not cans” when purchasing beer, to support factory workers who have been on the picket line for 13 months. Continue reading Buy Bottled Beer, Not Cans, Steelworkers Say

Steelworkers Mourn Lynn Williams

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Steelworkers across the continent today are mourning the passing of Lynn Williams. One of North America’s most influential and respected labour leaders of the 20th century, Williams, 89, died Sunday in Toronto.

Williams served as International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) from 1983 to 1994. He was the first Canadian labour leader elected president of a major international trade union. He led the Steelworkers union through one of its most difficult and turbulent periods, amidst dramatic industrial restructuring and upheaval in the 1980s and 1990s. He developed new bargaining techniques and played a leading role in the structural readjustment of the North American steel industry.

Lynn Russell Williams joined the Steelworkers in the late 1940s while working at the John Inglis factory in Toronto. He rose through the union’s ranks and served more than two decades in elected positions on the USW’s International Executive board, including Ontario Director and International Secretary. He was the first union leader to hold executive leadership roles with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

During his tenure as USW International president, Williams founded the Steelworkers’ Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) to harness the power and influence of union pensioners. SOAR has grown into a force of labour, political and social justice activism in Canada and the U.S.

Williams was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In 2007 the City of Toronto named a street in his honour, in the redeveloped former industrial neighbourhood where he began his career.

A private funeral service for Williams’ immediate family is planned. A date will be announced in the near future for a memorial service for friends, union members and the public.