Posts Tagged "strike"

10Feb

7-month forestry strike may soon be over as Western Forest Products, union reach tentative agreement | CBC News

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Western Forest Products and the United Steelworkers union have reached a tentative collective agreement after a seven-month-long labour dispute.

The agreement between the company and the union was announced Monday. 

About 3,000 Vancouver Island forest workers and contractors represented by United Steelworkers Union Local 1-1937 have been off the job since July 1, striking over potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

On Feb. 6, the province appointed special mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers to help move negotiations along.

“We have reached a fair and equitable agreement that balances the needs of our employees and our business,” said Don Demens, president and CEO of Western Forest Products. 

“This has been a particularly challenging time and I’m pleased that we were able to find common ground through the efforts of all involved.”

CBC does not yet know the details of the agreement.

4Feb

Mediators walk away from negotiations in 7-month-long Western Forest Products strike | CBC News

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There’s been another setback in the seven-month strike at Western Forest Products, with the withdrawal of two independent mediators from negotiations.

According to the forestry company, mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers announced their decision in a letter, explaining that they saw no basis for a negotiated settlement.

Labour Minister Harry Bains said he was disappointed by the news and will consider the province’s options for resolving the standoff.

“The impact of this dispute is being felt by many in the province and action is needed to ensure a vibrant coastal forest sector in B.C. with sustainable jobs now and into the future,” Bains said in a written statement.

About 3,000 Vancouver Island forest workers and contractors represented by United Steelworkers Union Local 1-1937 have been off the job since July 1, when they began striking over potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

Talks between the company and the union reached an impasse in December, but the mediators invited both sides back to the table last week.

Union, company respond

Union president Brian Butler said he wasn’t surprised to learn the mediators had withdrawn, but striking workers have made it clear they want to continue fighting. He explained that a particular sticking point has been long hours and irregular work schedules.

“Our members are standing strong for the right issues and the right reasons. None of our members want to be off work…. They just want to be able to go to work with their heads held high and be safe on the job,” Butler told CBC.

He added that he opposes any intervention by the government.

Western Forest Products president Don Demens said the company has made generous contract and wage offers, but remains committed to reaching a fair agreement.

“We recognize the profound impact the strike is having on our employees, contractors, their families and communities,” Demens said in a press release.

The province has said that logging contractors affected by the strike can apply for bridging loans from a $5 million fund that was established last month. The money is intended to help them make payments on their logging equipment as the strike drags on.

31Jan

Glimmer of hope in 6-month-long Western Forest Products strike | CBC News

by admin

Talks between striking Western Forest Products workers and the company could resume as early as this weekend. 

About 3,000 Vancouver Island coastal forest workers and contractors walked off the job July 1 over potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.

The United Steelworkers Union Local 1-1937 sent out a notice to its members Thursday saying mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers have emailed the union and Western Forest Products inviting them back to the table.

The union says it has agreed to return to negotiations while Western Forest Products says it will speak to the mediators before heading back to talks with the union.

Talks between the two parties reached an impasse in December. 

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas told CBC last month that the strike has been devastating to his town.

“Our businesses and community feel like they’re part of the collateral damage,” he said.

Meanwhile, the province says logging contractors affected by the strike can now apply for bridging loans from a $5 million fund that was established earlier this month. 

The money is intended to help them make payments on their logging equipment as the strike drags on. 

8Dec

SkyTrain strike: What you need to know, and how to get around

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VANCOUVER —
Negotiations are underway between SkyTrain workers and their employer, but trains will come to a halt this week if a last-minute deal isn’t reached.

Ahead of the incoming job action, here’s a quick look at what Metro Vancouver transit users need to know about the SkyTrain strike.
 

When is the strike?

SkyTrains will be held Tuesday, Dec. 10 to Thursday, Dec. 12 if a deal isn’t reached in the coming days, the union says.

For now, the plan is for service to resume Friday, Dec. 13. No further plans for job action have been announced so far.
 

Which lines are affected? Which will still be running? 

The strike impacts the Millennium Line and the Expo Line.

The Canada Line and West Coast Express will be operating as usual.
 

What other options are there?

Buses and SeaBuses will be operating through the strike.

During the threat of a bus strike last month, TransLink recommended using its Trip Planner tool to figure out an alternate way of getting around.

The online tool has fields for “from” and “to” addresses, and gives users the option to select their departure or arrival time under the “Settings” button.

In TransLink’s new Trip Planning app, users can choose to sort results by trip time, walking distance, number of transfers, accessibility and whether a bike rack is available.

During the strike, users should select “Exclude SkyTrain,” an option at the bottom of the pop-up.

TransLink Trip Planner
 

Those using the transit provider’s Google Trip Planner can fill out similar information online, then choose “More Options” to exclude SkyTrain. https://new.translink.ca/trip-planner

To leave it out, choose “Bus” under the “Prefer” drop down menu.

TransLink Trip Planner

Car-sharing vehicles will be available as usual, though they may be harder to find if demand is increased.

Anyone driving their own vehicle or part of the car-share fleet should expect an increase in traffic, and to plan for a longer commute. Parking may also be harder to find, depending on how many choose to drive in to work.

Cyclists can continue to use Vancouver’s 300-plus kilometres of bike paths, but should be warned that the forecast is calling for rain most of the week.

 

How do I keep up to date?

CTVNewsVancouver.ca will be covering the negotiations and strike actions as things develop.

In addition to alerting the media, TransLink says it will update its Buzzer Blog with the latest on job action and talks.

Transit users can sign up for alerts specific to the routes they use by filling out a form on TransLink’s website. Once enrolled, they’ll receive a text message and/or email any time their route is impacted.

Transit alerts can also be viewed online, and are often posted on TransLink’s Twitter account.
 

Background: Key players and contract talks

CUPE 7000 represents 900 workers employed by the B.C. Rapid Transit Company, including attendants and control operators. Also among those 900 people are administration, maintenance and technical staff.

Workers have been without a contract since Aug. 31, and have had more than 40 negotiation sessions since May.

Talks broke down in mid-November, with the union listing key issues as fair wages, sick days, staffing levels and overtime. 

The union voted in favour of job action about a week later, but returned to the bargaining table on Nov. 23.

Since then, they’ve been unable to reach a deal, and issued a 72-hour strike notice Friday. On Saturday, they announced the dates of the train stoppage.

TransLink estimates that about 150,000 Metro Vancouver residents rely on the SkyTrain every weekday to get around.

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Action to start with uniform, overtime ban

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VANCOUVER – The union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers has announced what possible strike action will look like on Friday if a tentative agreement is not reached by their deadline.

According to Unifor, if an agreement isn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators won’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in a news release.

“To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Unifor says they think this first phase will increase exposure to negotiations.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator during the talks.

But if a deal isn’t reached, a ban on overtime could start to impact transit users, Unifor has warned. 

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers. 

“We trust that TransLink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks are expected to continue Thursday. 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Earlier in the week Coast Mountain Bus Company said in a statement it remains committed to “reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement and is ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Job action to start with uniform, overtime ban

by admin

VANCOUVER – The union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers has announced what possible strike action will look like on Friday if a tentative agreement is not reached by their deadline.

According to Unifor, if an agreement isn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators won’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in a news release.

“To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Unifor says they think this first phase will increase exposure to negotiations.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator during the talks.

But if a deal isn’t reached, a ban on overtime could start to impact transit users, Unifor has warned. 

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers. 

“We trust that TransLink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks are expected to continue Thursday. 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Earlier in the week Coast Mountain Bus Company said in a statement it remains committed to “reaching an acceptable negotiated settlement and is ready to return to the bargaining table as soon as possible.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Union says talks have broken off the day before planned job action

by admin

VANCOUVER – Less than 24 hours before planned job action was set to take place if no deal was struck, the union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers says talks have broken off.

Friday morning, Unifor said that if an agreement wasn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators wouldn’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., the union said talks had broken down.  

“Our number one goal is a fair contract that ensures our members are working under safe and reasonable conditions so they can best serve the public,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president, in a news release.

“To minimize the disruption to the public while still ramping up pressure on the employer, we have chosen a measured level of strike action in the first phase.”

Unifor says they think this first phase will increase exposure to negotiations.

“It is a strange experience to see an operator out of uniform, and we hope that starts conversations with the passengers about our struggle with this employer to get a fair deal,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator during the talks.

But if a deal isn’t reached, a ban on overtime could start to impact transit users, Unifor has warned. 

“The system has normalized overtime, so without it, the turnaround for repairs and other maintenance will build up quickly,” said Mike Smith, president of Unifor Local 2200 representing maintenance and SeaBus workers. 

“We trust that TransLink will not put unsafe vehicles back on the road, so it is a question of fewer vehicles available in the system.”

Contract talks continued Thursday and Coast Mountain Bus Company said it’s urging the union to hold off on job action until a deal is struck.

“If the union proceeds with job action, it will only punish transit users in Metro Vancouver, many of whom rely on our system for their daily commute,” CMBC president Michael McDaniel said in a statement.

“Without maintenance over time, we will see bus and SeaBus service cancellations, affecting customers.” 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

31Oct

Metro Vancouver bus strike: Talks break off the day before planned job action

by admin

VANCOUVER – Less than 24 hours before planned job action was set to take place if no deal was struck, the union representing Metro Vancouver’s bus and SeaBus drivers says talks have broken off.

Friday morning, Unifor said that if an agreement wasn’t settled by 8 a.m. on Nov. 1, transit operators wouldn’t wear uniforms on the job and maintenance workers will refuse overtime shifts. 

Shortly before 12:30 p.m., the union said talks had broken down.  

“Unfortunately it became very clear that we’re going to have to commit strike action tomorrow,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor western regional director and lead negotiator, after the talks ended.

“Minutes before we sat down with the company they were already putting out a press release saying we were trying to punish transit users, which of course is the last thing that we want to do.”

McGarrigle claimed Coast Mountain Bus Company didn’t adequately address wages or competitive issues within the company.

“Most importantly, they made no changes at all to the working condition language that had already been rejected by the union. That working condition language that they tabled means that no transit operator has a guaranteed minimum level of break time on any given shift.”

If a deal isn’t struck soon, McGarrigle said transit users will start to feel the impact. 

“Transit users we will see maintenance and SeaBus overtime ban commence, that will have a very quick impact on the service,” he said. 

“The transit system is much, much bigger than it was in 2001. A lot of people rely on transit. So if there is impact, we think it will be substantially worse than in 2001. It may not happen right away, but it very quickly could be a significant inconvenience to the public.”

Ahead of contract talks on Thursday, CMBC urged the union to hold off on job action until a deal is struck. 

“If the union proceeds with job action, it will only punish transit users in Metro Vancouver, many of whom rely on our system for their daily commute,” CMBC president Michael McDaniel said in a statement.

“Without maintenance over time, we will see bus and SeaBus service cancellations, affecting customers.” 

Earlier this month, Unifor Local 111 voted 99 per cent in favour of striking after months of contract negotiations broke down on Oct. 3.

When the 72-hour strike notice was announced, McGarrigle told CTV News Vancouver there continues to be issues over wages, benefits and working conditions for bus drivers.

“They need to have time to go to the washroom, have a bite to eat, just simply reset themselves and they aren’t having the time to do that,” McGarrigle said. “We need to make sure wages are fair and competitive and make sure generally they are respected by the company.”

Unifor also said overcrowding on buses is also leading to safety concerns.

“It has an impact on their mental health,” McGarrigle said. “When the passengers are feeling they are being passed up, when the drivers are being overworked eventually something’s gotta give.”

Before Unifor announced its plans, TransLink said it would use social media and its website to let transit users know if the system was going to be disrupted.

“It’s important to note that only bus SeaBus service is going to be affected by any job action Unifor undertakes,” said Jill Drews, a spokesperson for TransLink on Wednesday. 

The last time bus drivers walked off in Metro Vancouver was in 2001. That strike lasted four months. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Sheila Scott  

28Oct

Metro Vancouver bus drivers issue strike notice

by admin


TransLink bus drivers have issued strike notice and could be off the job as early as Nov. 1, 2019.


Francis Georgian / PNG

Some Metro Vancouver bus services could be cancelled as soon as this Friday after workers issued a 72-hour strike notice.

It would be the first time since 2001 that there had been a disruption to bus services due to strike action. In 2001 the strike lasted four months and affected all services.

In a prepared statement, Unifor national president Jerry Dias accused Coast Mountain Bus Company of “showing little respect for the difficult working conditions that our members must face every day.”

Over 5,000 Coast Mountain Bus Company employees are represented by Unifor Local 2200 (maintenance and SeaBus workers) and Unifor Local 111 (bus and shuttle drivers). On Oct. 10, members of both union locals voted 99 per cent in favour of going on strike to force a collective agreement. Issuing a 72-hour notice of strike action is the next step in the process and this occurred Monday afternoon.

The unions claim the sticking points are working conditions, wages and benefits.

Dias said that if a deal wasn’t reached by midnight Thursday, then job action affecting services would begin.

“The precise form of strike action we will take is to be determined, but could range from work-to-rule or rolling strike action,” he said.

Unifor’s lead negotiator, Gavin McGarrigle, told Postmedia News that the main sticking point was work conditions, particularly around breaks. He said the bus service is much busier and traffic congestion worse since the full strike in 2001.

“Not enough time is being built into the system for (driver) recovery time,” he said. “That’s time to have a bite to eat or go to the washroom or decompress.”

McGarrigle said the employer had agreed to more talks this week, which was why a full strike hadn’t been threatened at this time.

Coast Mountain Bus Company is a subsidiary of TransLink. A TransLink spokesperson couldn’t be reached for comment.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com

twitter.com/davidcarrigg

3Oct

Three teens plead guilty in St. Michael’s sex assault scandal

by admin

Katherine DeClerq, CTV News Toronto


Published Thursday, October 3, 2019 11:29AM EDT


Last Updated Thursday, October 3, 2019 11:57AM EDT

Three teenagers facing charges in a sexual assault scandal at St. Michael’s College School last year have pleaded guilty.

The teens pleaded guilty to sexual assault with a weapon and assault with a weapon on Thursday morning inside a Toronto courtroom.

One of the three teenagers also pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography.

In November of last year, six boys were charged in connection with the alleged sex assault of a student at the all-boys private school.

According to police, videos of the incident, which occurred inside a washroom at the school, began circulating between students and on social media.

A few months later, police said they were investigating two additional incidents. Eight students were expelled from school as a result and a seventh student was formally charged by police.

The students were each facing charges of sexual assault, gang sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.

Charges against one of the seven students were withdrawn in August and the cases against two others have concluded, although Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General would not say at the time what the outcomes were of those cases.

The last student facing charges has a court hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.

The teenagers who pleaded guilty on Thursday are scheduled to attend a sentencing hearing on Nov. 14.

They cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

This is a developing news story. More to come.

With files from The Canadian Press

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