Vancouver Library Workers Fight for Pay Equity amid Wider Civic Strike

Vancouver is in the midst of a widespread strike of civic workers. CUPE Locals 15 (inside workers), 1004 (outside workers) and 391 (library workers) have been on strike for approximately four weeks, since talks broke down and the City bosses walked away from the table. For the library workers in Local 391, this is their very first job action. The city’s unwillingness to bargain, coupled with their flagrant hypocrisy around wages and benefits and painfully transparent spin leads us to believe that this will be a very long strike.

High strike rate and factory occupations in Canada

Today the major industrialized country with the highest proportion of working days not worked due to strikes or lockouts is Canada, the only OECD country with a higher rate is crisis-ridden Iceland. The high strike rate in Canada is now leading to further radicalisation as workers in the manufacturing sector begin factory occupations against plant closures. Canadian workers are setting the pace; the world will follow.

Canadian Auto Workers occupy parts plant in Scarborough, ON

Over the last 5 years, the Big Three automakers have laid off tens of thousands of autoworkers to protect their profits.  On 31st March, workers at the Collins & Aikman (C&A) parts plant in Scarborough occupied their plant when the employer refused to pay their severance package.  This occupation can be seen as a tremendous step forward for the labour movement in Ontario and Canada and a sign of things to come.

What Boom?... Ontario closures mean thousands more will lose their jobs

Daimler-Chrysler announced in mid-February that they were eliminating 2,000 jobs at their plants in Windsor and Brampton. This is just the latest assault against beleaguered Ontario workers. Not that long ago, many workers in Ontario enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in North America, gained from years of struggle and living in Canada’s financial and industrial heartland. Now, in capitalism’s period of decay, those gains have nearly disappeared and the situation looks to be getting even bleaker.

Intended closure of Hershey plant is a crime

The management of Hershey have released plans that they intend to cut around 1,500 jobs from Canada and the United States in order to shift production to Mexico. This means the closing down of the Hershey plant in Smith Falls, ON in the near future, where the plant is a major employer and is the lifeblood of the community. As many as six hundred workers will lose their jobs so that the company, which is recording a profit, can become even more profitable later.

"No" Campaign Sweeps CUPW: Tentative agreement not good enough!

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has long been known for its strength and militancy in the labour movement. When CUPW was formed in 1965, they led an illegal strike of postal workers across the country that won the right to strike for the entire public sector. Since then, CUPW has led the public sector in the struggle for better wages, working conditions, and rights. But many rank and file activists are today wondering what has become of our union.

Conservative government threatens to smash CN workers

The federal minister of labour, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, has threatened to introduce back-to-work legislation in order to end the 10-day old strike by CN workers. On Monday evening, management at CN failed to get the Canada Industrial Relations Board to rule the strike illegal. Now, they have turned to the Conservative government in the hope that the strike can be broken.

Interview with Willie Lambert

Last summer Willie Lambert, a rank and file transit worker from Oakville, Ontario, challenged Buzz Hargrove for the leadership of the Canadian Auto Workers.  Lambert campaigned on a program of rank and file driven action against concessions.  He argued that the leadership had been moving closer and closer to management and were relying more on backroom deals than militant action.  Brother Lambert also strongly criticized the CAW leadership for backing the Liberals in several ridings in the last federal election.  The CAW bureaucracy came down hard on him.  It was clear leading up to the convention that they were not satisfied by simply winning, but were intent on crushing Willie Lambert.

Ontario grocery workers set to strike over Thanksgiving

Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) local 175 have given a 95% strike mandate to the union leaders representing workers for Loblaws, Zehrs and Real Canadian Superstore. After a vicious period of attacks on wages and benefits in collective agreements in the food retail sector in Ontario, workers have had enough. The company has declared war against the union and brought in Allan Leighton, a man described as a “veteran of UK labour wars” by the Globe and Mail. This movement of 27,000 workers potentially ushers in a new era of class struggle and possibly a shift to the left in UFCW's largest local on the continent.

Militant actions wins! A critical look at Ontario politics

Since the betrayal of the Ontario Days of Action in 1996-97, the movement in Ontario has been at one of its lowest levels. This is in contrast to the rest of Canada where most provinces are seeing some of the most militant labour actions since the 1970s. In both British Columbia and Québec, we have seen a burgeoning general strike movement while Newfoundland recently saw the largest strike in the province’s history.