Monthly Archives: October 2018

Grey Bruce Labour Council Press Release, Bill 47

October 27th, 2018

For Immediate Release-Grey Bruce Labour Council

Decades of corporate and legislative obstruction to improvements for workers and their families seemed to be coming to an end when Bill 148 (Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act) was passed at the end of 2018. Bill 148 brought about profoundly overdue increases to the minimum wage and provisions such as two paid sick days, fairer scheduling rules and equal pay for equal work.  In a quote from Kevin Smith, Labour Council President, he noted that “Bill 148 did not address decades of grievances that needed to be addressed to help precarious workers and their families, but there was at long last hope for a better life and more improvements as progressive organizations worked to seek and drive more improvements for all workers”.

With no mandate to repeal Bill 148 the majority government of Doug Ford, elected by the minority of Ontario voters, has betrayed all workers by pushing through Bill 47 to repeal many of the provisions of Bill 148. The Ford government talked about “for the people” throughout the election campaign. When asked, Labour Council VP, Dave Trumble stated that “now with the election behind him and Ford’s corporate and business leash holders being the only people he is apparently interested in, Ford and his sycophantic caucus have betrayed the very people that he claimed to want to work for”.

As Bill 148 was being debated in 2017, members of the Grey Bruce Labour Council met with local MPP’s Bill Walker and Lisa Thompson. Both MPP’s were re-elected in 2018. During the meetings with Labour Council Delegates neither Walker and Thompson could see eye to eye with the position of the Labour Council, a position by the Council that clearly supported Bill 148 and even further improvements. However, both MPP’s were clear and concise that they wanted to hear from all their constituents and to hear all points of view. Those delegates that attended those sessions with Walker and Thompson now recognize that the statements by the MPP’s were nothing more than “lip service”. “MPP’s walker and Thompson both lined with Ford and tossed workers and many of their constituents aside to ensure their continued position as lapdogs of organizations that have advocated against workers and improvements for workers”.

It is known that the Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce is on the record as supporting the government of Doug Ford and this premeditated plan to disempower workers and their families. The Labour Council is very interested in how the members of the Owen Sound Chamber of Commerce voted and is likely going to be seeking a record of how the various businesses voted. If the record of how the voting took place is not forthcoming it is also possible that a Freedom of Information Request will be made. Once the record is provided the Labour Council would very much like to encourage shoppers to patronize the businesses that did not vote in support of Bill 47 and its repealing of provisions in Bill 148.

The Grey Bruce Labour Council has been the voice of workers for over 60 years and is made up of private and public sector unions that represent thousands of workers across our region. These workers and their families need to know that the actions of the Labour Council going forward will support the activities of provincial organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Labour and “15 and Fairness” to hold local politicians accountable, to support Days of Action and to work to do all that is possible through collective action to undo the betrayal of workers so callously and heartlessly enacted by the Ford government and our local MPP’s, Thompson and Walker.

TTC blocked from contracting out transit operations as arbitrator ends contract dispute

A provincial arbitrator has awarded the TTC’s largest union a new three-year contract in a decision that blocked the transit agency from stripping job-security protections from the collective agreement.

On several key issues, arbitrator William Kaplan’s Oct. 23 decision sided with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, which represents about 11,000 TTC transit operators, fare collectors and maintenance workers. The award ends a seven-month stalemate between the two sides — the previous collective agreement expired March 31.

The TTC sought to remove language from the collective agreement that prohibited contracting out transit operators’ positions.
The TTC sought to remove language from the collective agreement that prohibited contracting out transit operators’ positions.  (Marcus Oleniuk / Toronto Star)

“Toronto’s hardworking public transit workers are pleased with the new collective agreement, which recognizes our vital role in the communities we serve through fair wages and benefits,” said Local 113 president Frank Grimaldi in a statement.

The TTC had sought to remove language from the agreement that prohibited contracting out transit service. It also wanted to secure permission to introduce a part-time workforce, and to eliminate a requirement that it pay a 25 per cent per hour premium to employees who work on Sundays.

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said the agency has no plans for a large-scale contracting out of transit service. But it had been contemplating enlisting York Region Transit to operate the Dufferin North bus route, and using non-TTC drivers as part of a “micro-transit” pilot project that would engage private for-hire vehicles to supplement regular transit service.

“It’s language that we felt doesn’t give us as management the flexibility to do things we might want to do in the future,” he said of the contracting out prohibition.

Ross called Sunday premium pay an “antiquated concept,” and argued introducing part-time work would “improve scheduling efficiency” and increase the pool of employees available to the TTC during peak service periods and special events.

Kaplan dismissed those proposals however, writing in his decision that there was no demonstrated need for such a “drastic change” to the terms of the collective agreement.

The arbitration award will give Local 113 members an across-the-board wage increase of 6 per cent over three years, which is more than the 5 per cent increase over four years that unions representing City of Toronto inside and outside workers won in 2016.

According to Ross, the TTC is still calculating how much the award will cost the agency.

Ontario Federation of Labour Press Release on Bill 47 / Repeal of Bill 148



Emergency actions to be held across Ontario, after Ford breaks his promise to the people

(TORONTO, ON) – In response to Ford Government’s Bill 47, which was tabled yesterday and seeks to freeze the minimum wage and repeal the most basic protections for workers, emergency actions will be held by community and labour groups across Ontario starting today.

The bill, if passed, will mean a real-dollar wage cut for minimum wage employees, the elimination of two paid sick days, fairer scheduling rules and the right to equal pay for equal work.

“Big corporations will get all the benefit of these changes, not Ontarians. Not the people who are struggling to make ends meet on two or three or four jobs,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President, Chris Buckley.

“Millions of workers voted for Ford because they believed him when he said he would stand up for the little guy,” said Pam Frache, coordinator of the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign. “By attacking our new labour laws, Ford has betrayed the voters of Ontario and they will not forget.”

Emergency actions will include a rally outside the Ministry of Labour in Toronto today at 5:00 PM as well as other protests being organized across Ontario. To see the most up to date listing of events, visit

Wednesday, October 24

Oakville Emergency Action
Wednesday, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM, Oakville GO Bus station, 214 Cross Ave.

Ottawa Emergency Action
Wednesday, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Ottawa Board of Trade, 328 Somerset St. West

North Bay Emergency Action
Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:00 PM – Intersection of Judge Street and Lakeshore Street

Waterloo Emergency Action
Wednesday, 4:00 PM – Waterloo Square, 75 King St South

London Emergency Action
Wednesday, 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM – London Chamber of Commerce, 244 Pall Mall St.

Durham Emergency Action
Wednesday, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM – MPP Lorne Coe Office, 114 Dundas St. East

Toronto Emergency Rally at the Ministry of Labour
Wednesday, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM – Ministry of Labour, 400 University Ave.

Thursday, October 25

Peel Emergency Rally
Thursday, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM, Corner of Hurontario St. and Steeles Ave., Brampton

Kingston Emergency Rally
Thursday, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Tim Hortons, 681 Princess St.

Scarborough Emergency Action
Thursday, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM, ACCES Employment (temp agency), 2100 Ellesmere Road, Suite 250 — (Markham Rd. and Ellesmere Rd. intersection)

Monday, October 29

Hamilton Emergency Meeting
Monday, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart St.


To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

Nil Sendil
Communications Coordinator,
Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

Meagan Perry
Director of Communications,
Ontario Federation of Labour l 416-894-3456

Grey Bruce Labour Council has Information Picket at MPP Lisa Thompson’s Office

As part of the Labour Councils’ Activist Day on October 22nd an information picket was conducted at MPP Lisa Thompson’s office in Kincardine. The Labour Council and Ontario Nurse’s Association, Region 5 VP Karen Bertrand, attended the picket to reinforce the need for ongoing and adequate public funding of healthcare. The Ontario Health Coalition conducted a significant rally on the 23rd and the Grey Bruce Labour Council not only conducted the local picket, but demonstrated solidarity with the OHC at Queen’s Park on the 23rd.

As the local picket was being undertaken, the government of Doug Ford, supported by MPP Thompson, took action to betray thousands of workers in Ontario by pushing through Bill 47 to remove the worker benefits in Bill 148.

October 22, 2018, Grey Bruce Labour Council Activist Day Celebrates Award Winners

With guest speakers Karen Bertrand, Region 5 Vice-President Ontario Nurses Association, and Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power CEO, the Grey Bruce Labour Council celebrated the awarding of the Workers Health and Safety Centre / Grey Bruce Labour Council 2018 Health and Safety Activist Award and the Grey Bruce Labour Council Activist of the Year.

Larry Alderdice, PWU Chief Steward and Board Member, was presented with the H&S Activist Award. Larry’s career as an exceptional Trade Union Leader enabled workers to do their best to ensure safe and healthy workplaces. Mel Hyatt, President of the Power Workers’ Union, attended the dinner and provided supportive and complimentary words on Larry’s career and accomplishments. Congratulations Larry.

The Owen Sound FHO members of OPSEU 276 were presented with the Activist of the Year Award. The Local withstood 106 days on the picket line and made the entire Labour Movement proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to members and staff.

The dinner was preceded with a Labour breakfast and tour of Bruce Power, where Karen and delegates enjoyed a tour of Bruce Generating Station “A” . Expert guidance was provided by SUP VP, Mike Gade, and Bruce Power Manager, Chris Mercanti.

This October Activist Day brings Trade Union Leaders and exceptional activists together each year to celebrate those that move social progress and worker representation forward in profound ways. The synergy of the day comes from the collaboration of inviting and engaging with industry leaders such as Bruce Power and Mike Rencheck.

Thank to our award winners, guests of honour and to all those that participated in the very important day in our community and our region.

Special thanks to Karen Bertrand, Mel Hyatt and Mike Rencheck and Chris Mercanti and his team for hosting the tour. Another wonderful meal by the Tara Legion was enjoyed by all. Finally, a note of very deep gratitude to all attendees.


Provincial Building Trades Council reaffirms support for Bruce Power Life-Extension Program

This news release was sent to the local media today.


Provincial Building Trades Council reaffirms support for Bruce Power Life-Extension Program


Ontario’s largest trades council has reaffirmed its support for Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program, which includes the Major Component Replacement (MCR) Project.


The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario recently passed a Resolution at its 61st Annual Convention, to continue supporting the program, which will allow the Bruce Power site to operate to 2064. It is anticipated that the Life-Extension Program will provide between $980 million and $1.2 billion in labour income, as well as about $1 billion in broader economic impacts through the direct and indirect purchasing of equipment, supplies, and materials.


“Nuclear energy is a vital source of low-cost, baseload electricity, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, providing environmental and health benefits to Ontarians through reduced asthma cases and virtually no smog days,” said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. “Bruce Power is also an essential source of life-saving medical isotopes, which are used around the world to keep hospitals clean and safe, and to treat disease using innovative technologies such as the non-invasive Gamma Knife.”


In 2015, the Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bruce Power to work collaboratively with the company, its contractors, and federal regulators to meet Life-Extension and MCR goals over the coming decade, while pledging to diversify its members.


“Since 2015, we have actively lobbied the government to support Ontario nuclear by showcasing the industry’s commitment to safety, apprenticeship training, and the diversification of the construction workforce, by providing careers to local residents, including women, Indigenous peoples, visible minorities, military service members, youth, and the underemployed,” Dillon added.


Kelly Trice, Bruce Power’s Executive Vice President, Projects & Field Services, said the support of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario is imperative to Bruce Power’s success.


“For decades, the Building Trades Council has been a steadfast supporter of Bruce Power, and Ontario’s nuclear industry, because of our continued focus on the safety of employees and tradespeople,” Trice said. “We thank the Council for its continued support, and look forward to working with its members to ensure the continued success of our Life-Extension Program.”


Power workers fighting for future of generating station

Power workers fighting for future of generating station

Union officials believe power plant could be key to developing biomass hub in Northwestern Ontario.


OPG Generating Station 2

The Thunder Bay Generating Station (tbnewswatch file photograph)

THUNDER BAY – The union representing local electricity sector workers is urging the city to help save the Thunder Bay Generating Station.

The plant was announced for shut down in July after the boiler was found to have significant corrosion damage, with an estimated repair cost of $5 million.

Power Workers’ Union officials on Monday night went before Thunder Bay city council to make a case for the generating station, which they believe can help the city and region become a biomass hub for North America.

“The electricity generation from pellets is considerably lower greenhouse gas emissions than from coal and natural gas,” said Jeff Parnell, the union’s Sector 2 vice president.

“It makes use of the existing facilities. Conversion costs are a fraction of the cost of a new build. Biomass is a sustainable and environmentally responsible fuel source. It integrates well with the north around the forestry industry.”

Parnell told council there is very little time to save the plant, describing efforts to close the facility as an aggressive decommissioning.

“The further along it gets into decommissioning, the higher the costs go and the business case becomes less for it to happen,” Parnell said. “Action needs to happen much sooner than later.”

Local chief steward Gene Capasso said he believes the facility needs to be heated for there to be any hope of ever reviving the plant.

“If we freeze it this winter, it will be beyond repair,” Capasso said.

OPG regional vice president of operations Paul Giardetti on Tuesday said parts of the plant will be heated.

“There will be certain locations that we would need to put money into to revive them but nothing that we would not be able to return from,” Giardetti said. “By heating it, yeah, we are keeping some of the key areas heated so if it were to be revived the costs would be less to revive it rather than just shutting off the heat right now.”

The generating station was originally built in 1963 as a coal-fired plant, before it was converted to burn advanced biomass in 2015 at a cost of $5 million when the province phased out coal. Parnell said that was the largest conversion from coal to advanced biomass in the world.

The facility was given a five-year contract, which is slated to expire in 2020. Ontario Power Generation officials said the plant only having a guaranteed 18 months remaining was a factor in the decision to take the facility permanently off the grid.

Though the plant has been fuelled by products from Norway, Parnell said there are some local suppliers who have expressed an interest in providing pellets if the local plant would remain open. He said there could be opportunities for industry development when more jurisdictions eliminate coal-fired plants, if plants are converted in a similar manner to the Thunder Bay Generating Station and using the same type of pellets.

“A local supplier would actually reduce the cost of the supply by 50 per cent and there are people here who are interested,” Parnell said. “It’s a necessity when you look at the mining development that must come into the place to have that. You’re looking at 15 per cent growth possibly in the energy market.”

The plant employed as many as 70 people. OPG officials previously said that no employees would lose their jobs, with some positions redeployed throughout the region while others would be offered transfers to southern Ontario.

“The closure of the Thunder Bay plant is not just employees leaving the community,” Parnell said. “They are people who have chosen to live in the north. They come from the north. Thunder Bay will be losing spouses, coaches, players, community volunteers, extended families and future generations who would call Thunder Bay their home.”

City manager Norm Gale said a working group has been struck to explore options to keep the plant open