Monthly Archives: January 2011

Day of Action – Hamilton

Kingston and District Labour Councils sent a bus to the Day of Action.

Andrea Horwath and Jack Layton addressed the crowd.


And it was a great crowd!


The battle cry from Bay Street and the Mayor’s Office calls for a full-scale outsourcing of all kinds of work at the city of Toronto

By John Cartwright, Guest Columnist, Toronto Sun, January 27th

Recently our neighbours south of the border celebrated Martin Luther King Day. The renowned civil rights leader was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, where he had gone to support striking sanitation workers. In Los Angeles this year, two of those workers were honoured for being part of that history that combined civil rights with the efforts to raise standards of workers.

Here at home, on the other hand, the news about our sanitation workers is all about the drive to outsource their jobs. The battle cry from Bay Street and the Mayor’s Office calls for a full-scale outsourcing of all kinds of work at the city of Toronto, whether it is solid waste collection or police station cleaners. After all, if money can be saved, why not?

That has been the guiding rule for powerful CEOs when they look at their own operations. Lots of them have outsourced — sometimes overseas, sometimes to contractors here at home. Is there a cost to any of this? Sure, if you are one of the people whose job is being taken away, then it becomes very personal. For someone like Mary, who came to Canada twenty years ago and graduated from community college as a professional cook, it has a bitter taste. She worked in the cafeteria in a local hospital, earning $18.60 an hour to cook meals for hospital visitors.

When the CEO decided to save money by outsourcing her job, he couldn’t just fire her. The union contract didn’t allow that, so she was moved to another job delivering food to the rooms. Her pay was cut by a dollar an hour, and the contractor that took over the kitchen hired a replacement — a new immigrant — at just over minimum wage. Of course, nobody stays long when they are being so poorly paid, so the turnover was constant. The job changed from one that paid a living wage, down to one that paid poverty wages. But the CEO got a bonus for “achieving efficiencies.”

In the private sector most of the outsourcing sends jobs out of the country. Enbridge wiped out 300 call centre employees and sent their jobs to the Philippines. Bell Canada, of course, moved most of their customer assistance work to India. That’s also where Bombardier sent some of the technical work that used to be done here in Toronto. Those good jobs are no longer available for the next generation of Canadians, but hey, that’s efficiency.

We have all heard about medical data being sent halfway across the world to be processed, and bank records sent to the States where your personal information is now subject to the U.S. Patriot Act. How about the auto parts company that closed up its plant and outsourced to Mexico? It’s pretty clear that outsourcing has shafted a lot of hard-working Canadians out of their jobs.

So next time someone talks about what a wonderful idea it is to outsource city work, think about the cleaners at Union Station. The company there exploited undocumented workers, misclassifying them as “independent contractors” and paying less than minimum wage.

When the Fair Wage office exposed the violations, nobody could find the victims to give them the money they were owed. Instead, the next batch of people desperate enough to work for poverty wages will be found for the task.

It’s the basic nature of outsourcing. And while it shafts working people, it makes a lot of money for the people at the top.

— Cartwright is president of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council


It’s not too late to get on the bus.

Are YOU worried about your pension ?

Are you concerned at all –  that U.S. Steel is allowed to do whatever the hell they want in OUR country?

Are you concerned at all that U.S. Steel is SHAFTING the younger workers and using the pension issue as a wedge ??

Can you guess who they are going to shaft NEXT ?

What CAN YOU DO ???

Show you care.

Show U.S. Steel that you care !

Show your family that you care !

Show your community that you care !

Show the young locked-out workers that you care !

Tell the politicians how YOU feel !

Now is the time.

BE  THERE  !!! THIS  Saturday  January  29


There are some seats left on the KDLC bus. Phone Marilyn to sign up. 613.542.5834


Media Release from USW 1005, Hamilton

Today, USW Local 1005 was informed by Service Canada that our E.I. claims would be allowed. Our situation is very complex and Service Canada has done an extensive legislative review along with Fact Finding. We would like to thank Service Canada and everyone involved with making the decision that is certainly helpful financially to our members.
However, this certainly does not take away from the fact that our members would much rather be working producing Steel.
This Lock Out by U.S .Steel is quite simply another devious attempt by the Company to weasel out of the commitments it made when it seized Stelco in November 2007. Prior to the lockout U.S .Steel halted production in Hamilton in October 2010 for the second time in two years. It shifted its production for Canadian customers to the U.S. Then it locked us out. This lockout is an unacceptable attempt to get us to agree to change the terms of the pension agreement it signed with the governmentof Ontario as part of the terms of sale of Stelco to U.S. Steel. The well-being of 9000pensioners, 900 workers, their families, the Hamilton Community and the country’sdemand for steel are all affected.
USW 1005 appreciates the overwhelming support it has received from everyone inthe community and across the country.
We invite everyone to attend our Hamilton Day of Action “The People vs. U.S. Steel”on January 29th.

Tired of doing nothing? Then the Hamilton Day of Action is for YOU!

U.S. Steel locked out its 900 active employees on Nov 7th, demanding the union vote on a proposal to de-index pensioners and place new employees in a second tier savings plan. It has started up two blast furnaces in the U.S. to supply replacement steel to the auto industry.

Labour Council’s are helping build a province-wide solidarity campaign to support USW Local 1005 in this crucial struggle.  The first big mobilization is set for Saturday January 29th in Hamilton.

Labour Photo of the Year

Labour Start chose this early morning photo of farm workers waiting to start the Pilgrimage for Freedom, around 50 km to walk from Leamington to Windsor in Ontario, to claim for rights, on Thanksgiving 2010. Click on the photo to take a look at this great website.