Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Grey Bruce Labour Council is proud to be counted as one of many sponsors of the upcoming Kincardine Pride Community Event.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council is proud to be counted as one of many sponsors of the upcoming Kincardine Pride Community Event. In providing sponsorship Labour Council VP, Dave Trumble notes that “Organized Labour has long supported Pride events. Ontario unions have marched side-by-side with the LGBTQ community to secure legal, social, and economic rights such as:

• Protection from workplace harassment and discrimination;

• Human rights & protections for immigrants and refugees;

• Same-sex marriage and adoption;

• Safe and healthy workplaces; and

• Equal access to decent wages, benefits and pension.

When it comes to the community at large, Labour Council President, Kevin Smith wants people to know that “Pride events bring together not only the LGBTQ community to secure all the aforementioned but seek out all equity groups and sectors of the community. Getting and keeping a good job; safe, respectful communities; health benefits for us and our loved ones…these are all LGBTQ and equity seeking group issues and we need strong labour unions to get them”.

In supporting and participating in Pride Events, the Trade Union Movement through unions and working people can join together to win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job. The power of a strong and vibrant trade union movement has also been crucial to advancing LGBTQ equality and the equality of equity seeking groups.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council is the voice of thousands of workers in Grey and Bruce Counties and the Labour Council offers profound congratulations to the organizers of the Kincardine Pride Event. All affiliated unions are invited to march in the event and to bring members along with flags and floats.

source: media release, GBLC



Group of three unions looking to raid CLAC’s Site C workers

Good luck to our Sisters and Brothers trying to oust CLAC. The link helps explain some of the concerns the Trade Union Movement has with CLAC.…/ClacAlert-FactSheet_2-EN.pdf


An improved Strike Fund for all CUPE members

An improved Strike Fund for all CUPE members

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Feb 24, 2017

Charles Fleury | National Secretary-Treasurer

Our National Strike Fund is very healthy with over 90 million dollars in the bank. By managing our money carefully, CUPE National has made improvements to our Strike Fund regulations to help our 643,000 members when they need it most.

At our last national convention, we struck the National Strike Fund Taskforce. Since then, taskforce members have been hard at work. They built a consensus on a shorter waiting period to receive strike pay, more flexible picket line shifts and better consideration for other strike duties as well as changes for locals who do not have the right to strike. At the September 2016 National Executive Board meeting, the taskforce report was unanimously adopted.

For the first time in our history, our members will start receiving strike pay on the fifth day of a strike, instead of waiting for nine days. In addition, for members who need an accommodation we now have clearer regulations.

Access to strike averting campaign funds will also be easier. We will have more resources to prevent a strike and to build our power before bargaining breaks down.

CUPE National has increased its contribution for interest arbitrations. We now cover 90 per cent instead of 75 per cent of the cost of the union nominee on boards of arbitration. With the improvements made last year, we now cover 100 per cent of a local’s share of the cost of an arbitrator for interest arbitrations.

Training for elected officers and staff on the Strike Fund regulations will be increased, and the Strike Fund regulations will be reviewed every four years.

Overall, we have a solid and more generous Strike Fund. This makes our national union stronger, and employers and governments understand this.

At CUPE, we do many things to prevent a strike. But sometimes, going on strike is the only way to hold onto what we have and to make gains.

In 2017, as always, CUPE National will continue to be there with you in your bargaining fights, and we have the financial resources to back you up and win.

Considering that the average woman loses $530,000 over the course of her lifetime because of the gender pay gap, it’s an issue worth addressing. The Silver Lining to the Gender Pay Gap: Unions

No matter how you measure it, there is a gender pay gap, and it’s not going away any time soon.

A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows the persistence of the gender pay gap, with union membership as a way to achieve greater equality.

Depending on how and what you measure, researchers will reach different numbers for the gender pay gap, says a report from the Economic Policy Institute. It’s just a matter of how much, depending on the criteria used, like education, age or occupation.

“The gender wage gap is sizeable no matter how it’s measured,” said Elise Gould, a senior economist and co-author of the report. “The gender wage gap is ingrained in our economy and it cannot be solved by simply asking women to make different choices.”

A bright spot in the report involved union membership. Not only do women in unions make more than their nonunion counterparts, they experience a smaller gender pay gap. Women with the benefit of a collective bargaining agreement make 89 percent of what their male counterparts do, compared to 82 percent for women who aren’t covered.

As far as that remaining 11 percent, Jessica Schieder, a research assistant and report co-author, suggests that it may be explained by forces that can’t be addressed in a contract. If a woman bears the majority of childcare or elder care, for example, she may work fewer hours and therefore earn less.

“If you don’t work you don’t get paid,” said Kenell Broomstein, a journeyman wireman and member of Boston Local 103. “I’m a single mother so if I have to miss work for my kid, I miss out. It can be hard to manage.”

Erin Sullivan, a journeyman wireman and member of New York Local 3, says she had to care for her dying mother while still working.

“It’s very real,” said Sullivan who is also a shop steward and Third District representative for the IBEW women’s committee. “In construction, there are times when you have to go on unemployment – and thank God for the union benefits that help. But there’s no paid time off for caring for family members, except the FMLA. But that only protects your job, not your pay.”

The FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act, a federal law that guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off without losing your job.

Shieder also said union women aren’t evenly distributed among job classifications. Higher paid manufacturing jobs are still predominantly men’s jobs. And as the report noted, jobs that are considered women’s work tend to be valued less than jobs held primarily by men.

Alice Phillips, business manager of Tacoma, Wash., Local 483 has seen it contract negotiations. Male-dominated classifications will get a 1.5-2 percent raise, compared to only 1 percent for female-dominated jobs, she said.

“Does an electrician’s dollar have more value than a clerical worker’s? Management treats clerical staff like they’re a dime a dozen,” Phillips said.

Despite the obstacles, a union job in the building trades still provides a lot of opportunity and a rewarding career.

“I love it,” Sullivan said. “There’s nothing else I would rather do.”

Beyond Choice

The report looked at occupational choice as a factor in the pay gap. While men are still more likely to choose science and engineering-related careers than women, even within these occupations, a gap persists.

“Gender discrimination doesn’t happen only in the pay-setting practices of employers … It can happen at every stage of a woman’s life, from steering her away from science and technology education to shouldering her with home responsibilities that impede her capacity to work the long hours of demanding professions,” the report stated.

Local 103 was part of a trade conference for high school girls in March to encourage their participation. Events like these can be an important step for recruiting.

“We need to start young. And we need more women in leadership, including women of color,” Broomstein said. “It’s sets an example. Girls will see that and think ‘if she did it, I can do it.’”

Male-dominated workplaces can be hostile to women, but workplace attitudes are trending toward inclusion, Phillips said.

“More and more and more we’re moving toward greater acceptance,” Phillips said. “And when we speak up, we’ll be louder than them.”

Broomstein, Phillips and Sullivan noted that the trades can cultivate these inclusive attitudes, from personal leadership to more formal programs.

“Foremen are key,” Phillips said. “They need to enforce the idea of what is acceptable and that we’re all here to get the job done.”

Local 3 started a diversity training that is mandatory for anyone in supervision, Sullivan said. She also noted the IBEW women’s committee and Code of Excellence as tools to improve relationships.

“The Code of Excellence offers a better understanding of how to behave and relate to one another,” Sullivan said. “It’s about education.”

Considering that the average woman loses $530,000 over the course of her lifetime because of the gender pay gap, it’s an issue worth addressing.

“I tell my male co-workers how they pay the same tuition for their daughter as their son, but their daughter is making 15 percent less,” Sullivan said. “’Are you ok with that?’ The answer is always no.”

For Immediate Release, March 2nd, 2017-Grey Bruce Labour Council sponsors KDSS FIRST Robotics Team Kinetic Knights, Team 781


For Immediate Release, March 2nd, 2017-Grey Bruce Labour Council sponsors KDSS FIRST Robotics Team Kinetic Knights, Team 781
The Grey Bruce Labour Council is proud to be counted once again as a sponsor of the Kinetic Knights. According to Labour Council VP, Dave Trumble, “the diversity of the team and the ability for students to not only practise their strengths but to experience the non-traditional work experience is a core piece of the Labour Councils’support”.
In aiding FIRST Robotics in sustaining the significant emphasis on health and safety the Labour Council boasts of having, as delegates, two of the original FIRST Safety Advisors. Power Workers’ delegates, Kevin MacKay, and Dave Trumble worked for several seasons as Safety Advisors. Labour Council President, Kevin Smith notes “that health and safety is a cornerstone of the trade union movement and the Kinetic Knights have always been a team that builds health and safety into the fabric of their being”. Smith adds further, that the synergy of a diverse group working to a significant degree in non-traditional roles while learning the keys to health and safety is a recipe for success and the Labour Council hopes this modest sponsorship will help the team to success at all levels of work from build to competition”.
Jed Gonsalves and Brenden Arciszewski of Team 781, the Kinetic Knights, received the cheque for $500 and wishes to thank the Labour Council and all sponsors.
The Grey Bruce Labour Council is the voice of Labour in Grey and Bruce and brings together public and private sector unions and like minded groups to ensure the voice of workers is heard to benefit all our communities. The Labour Council is a proud supporter of many socially responsible activities and organizations in our region and with the pending International Women’s Day celebrations the Labour Council wishes success to all involved in fundraisers for our local shelters. The Labour Council donated $500 to each of the three shelters in our region.
For Further Information, please contact the Grey Bruce Labour Council at 519 955 1061.
Pictured with Jed and Brenden is Dave Trumble, Grey Bruce Labour Council VP
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