December 21, 2007

Volume 37, No. 45

Workers at Pratt & Whitney Canada Ratify New Deal

More than 1,400 Pratt & Whitney Canada workers in Longueuil, Québec, represented by CAW Local 510, overwhelmingly ratified a new tentative agreement.

The three-year agreement includes wage and pension increases, layoff protections, an early retirement window and many other gains. Ratified by 89.7 per cent, the agreement received a standing ovation from the members.

"This is the best collective agreement we have negotiated this year in the aerospace sector," said CAW Quebec Director Luc Desnoyers. The CAW bargaining committee was headed up by Desnoyers, CAW President Buzz Hargrove, CAW Secretary-Treasurer Jim O'Neil and PWC plant chair Camille Larochelle.

"This is the first time that I've been at the bargaining table where Pratt & Whitney has made so many demands to scale back workers' gains despite the fact they are in a better position now than in many years prior," said Larochelle. "We are pleased that we were able to hold back these demands and negotiate the largest pay increase that workers have seen in several contracts."

Since the last collective agreement in 2004, the Longueuil operations have seen a 22 per cent jump in productivity and have hired nearly 800 new workers with more new hires expected.

The current collective agreement expires in February 2008. Both sides have worked hard to settle the negotiations early since a bitter 20-month long strike in 1974-5 (then United Aircraft), which helped shape current labour laws in Quebec.

During the 74-75 strike, the company continued operations using replacement workers, prolonging the conflict. After a failed attempt at mediation, a group of strikers occupied the plant and demanded a settlement to the strike. The Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec (Quebec Federation of Labour) organized a demonstration 100,000 strong outside the plant which was met with brutal suppression by provincial police.

The public outcry which followed helped bring in anti-scab laws with the newly elected Parti-Québécois in 1977.

New Toys Complete Children's Playroom at the NCC

Left to right: Sherry Hillman (Financial Secretary, CAW Local 112), Roland Kiehne (President, CAW Local 112), Barabara Hurford (Board Member of Native Canadian Centre), Phil Fryer (President, Toronto Skilled Trades Council) and Scott McIlmoyle (Vice President, CAW Local 112)

Just in time for the holidays, CAW Local 112 and the Toronto and Area Skilled Trades Council have donated $2,000 worth of educational toys and books for use at the newly renovated children's play area at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto. The first $1000 was donated by Local 112 members, with the second $1000 matched by the Toronto and Area Skilled Trades Council.

"We're pleased to be able to help eradicate First Nations poverty in whatever way we are able," said Local 112 President Roland Kiehne.

Over the last seven weeks, dozens of CAW members in the Greater Toronto Area have volunteered their labour to renovate the centre, with donations of cabinets, computer desks and terminals from several local unions.

"We really appreciate all of the resources the union dedicated to this project, especially the people who so kindly gave their time," said Barbara Hurford, secretary of the board of directors at the centre. "The warmth of CAW members that worked on the project really came through in the thoughtful planning and efforts to transform the children's playroom "

President of the Toronto and Area Skilled Trades Council Phil Fryer also thanked the members who spent weeks working at the centre. "Our project in New Orleans was such a success that we've been interested in doing a similar project here in Canada ever since,' said Fryer.

The first phase of the project was recently completed with the renovation of the children's play area. In the spring, a wheelchair ramp will be built as well as other reparations to the front of the building.

The donation of toys is a continuation of the joint CAW-Assembly of First Nations infrastructure re-building projects as part of the Make Poverty History for First Nations campaign.

Workers Spreading Holiday Cheer

CAW Local 597 members who work for the Town of Gander, Newfoundland created a joint float with the town for the first time for the Santa Claus parade on December 1, 2007.

Quebec to Boost Minimum Wage

The province of Quebec will bump up its minimum wage as of May 2008, to $8.50 an hour, putting it at par with Nunavut as the highest minimum wage in the country.

Currently the minimum wage in Quebec is $8 an hour. The 50 cent increase will be the largest since 1975.

Close to six per cent of Quebec's salaried workers earn minimum wage, with most employed in the retail, hotel and restaurant sectors. The Quebec government estimates that more than 250,000 workers will get $8.50 an hour as of May 1, 2008.

The CAW is part of a national campaign calling for a federal minimum wage of $10 an hour, the minimum income required to live above the poverty line.

B.C. Public Opposes TILMA Enforcement Bill

Strong opposition has forced the B.C. Liberals to drop its Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) Bill 17 for the second time in 2007.

TILMA is a top-down trade agreement signed in secret between B.C. and Alberta that will dramatically impact the ability of municipalities and school boards to maintain locally passed regulations if an investor or business deems they "impair or restrict' their investment.

B.C.'s Bill 17 would have allowed the government to pay out public money to investors in a private court set up under TILMA. They could have sued governments for up to $5 million.

Carleen Pickard, a regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, said the B.C. public doesn't see the need for the agreement. The citizens are signing petitions across the province demanding an open public debate on TILMA.

The CAW has raised concern about TILMA because it will allow private investors to challenge everything from labour and environmental standards to liquor licenses and energy policy in other provinces that also sign on.

Staff Appointments

CAW President Buzz Hargrove has appointed Jim Mitchell, President CAW National Skilled Trades Council, President Oshawa Area Skilled Trades Council, National Executive Board Member and GM Local 222 in-plant Skilled Trades Rep, as national representative in the Organizing Department, effective Sunday, January 6, 2008 working out of the CAW's Toronto office.

CLC Job Posting

The Canadian Labour Congress is seeking a senior economist in its Social and Economic Policy Department at CLC headquarters in Ottawa.

Responsibilities of the senior economist include monitoring and analysis of economic trends and issues, developing CLC positions on key economic issues and undertaking quantitative work, both independently and in support of research by other CLC staff.

Applications will be accepted until January 18, 2008. Applications should include references and samples of written work. Refer to bulletin number 2007-09 and send applications to Hassan Yussuff, CLC Secretary-Treasurer, 2841 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1V 8X7. Applications can be emailed to:

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