Monthly Archives: November 2018

Asking About Announced Closure of GM Oshawa Assembly Plant

Today a journalist contacted me about the announced closure. Looking through the only lens that matters, that of the workers, I was presented with expected and unexpected questions.

Organized Labour’s position was easy to present. “GM, a company full the gills with public money, has betrayed dedicated workers in hopes of redeploying to locations where workers are much more easily exploited. The actions of GM are a betrayal to workers. Even with this public money GM has decided to sacrifice 2700 direct jobs and thousands of support jobs in the name of corporate greed and with callous disregard for the workers and the communities affected”. “Add to this, the actions of the more than useless Doug Ford, and you have only those that are directly affected, the bargaining agent(s) and the union movement along with those that have compassion and a desire to see workers prosper working to aid the workers and communities so adversely impacted”.

From the unexpected, the question was, “how will this affect local GM dealerships?” Answering the question, “should the closure of the Oshawa plant come to fruition, car dealerships and numerous businesses in the area close to the assembly plant will experience adverse economic issues as consumer buying power is undercut as unionized jobs leave along with the support jobs (some unionized and some not)”. Speaking about local dealerships, “it is unlikely that local dealerships will experience the same negative outcomes or the threat or reality of closure that followed the 2008 economic crisis. However, the gross stupidity associated with the passage of Bill 47 and its undoing of the improved wages and rights and privileges under Bill 148 will have an ongoing adverse outcome on local economies for years to come”. In closing, it was mentioned how some local Chambers of Commerce have gone on the record supporting Bill 47 and “their profound misunderstanding associated with economic prosperity when workers have money to spend will only continue to harm the bottom line of small business.”

Overall, an interesting interview. Be interesting to see how the quotes fall out.


November 2018 Regular Monthly Grey Bruce Labour Council Meeting, Nov. 26. 2018

The regular monthly meeting and executive meeting is scheduled at the Unifor Family Education Centre in Port Elgin. Executive, 4:45 PM / Regular Meeting, 7 PM.

The safety of all those attending Labour Council functions is the first concern. With that in mind, please monitor Email, Facebook and Twitter on the 26th for updates should the weather situation deteriorate and changes to the scheduled meetings take place.

IATSE Local 58 members vote in favour of ratifying contract with Exhibition Place to end four-month lockout

By Chris Nadon Posted November 15, 2018 In What’s Happening Now?
IATSE Local 58 members vote in favour of ratifying contract with Exhibition Place to end four-month lockout
Toronto, November 15, 2018 / – Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 58 voted at a general meeting this morning in favour of ratifying a proposed contract with Exhibition Place, bringing to a close an arduous and often volatile four-month lock out imposed by the city-owned venue on July 20.
The contract ratification follows almost a year of deliberations between IATSE Local 58 and Exhibition Place, which culminated in a marathon 21-hour mediated bargaining session on Tuesday, November 13.
Though IATSE Local 58 members voted to accept the contract, Local 58 president Justin Antheunis acknowledges that the union is angry about the concessions they were forced to accept and they “took it on the chin” in order to get back to work, calling the lock out and many terms of the agreement a blatant attack on workers.
“This contract is a reflection of the continued attacks on workers at the hands of the city of Toronto supported by anti-union ideology coming from the province,” says Antheunis. “We may lose some work under the terms of this contract, but we will continue to fight for workers’ rights, both under this agreement and across the city.”
The main sticking point throughout deliberations has been the city’s mandate to contract out union jobs on Exhibition Place grounds, which Local 58 maintains is a union-busting exercise. Though IATSE Local 58 made several concessions, including some involving this stipulation, the Exhibition Place Board of Governors continued to reject the union’s proposals until November 13, when compromises were ultimately agreed upon.
“I don’t think either party is happy with how things worked out,” says Antheunis. “But we continue our commitment to serving Exhibition Place with the same level of professionalism and technical skill we have for more than 100 years, and look forward to working with Ex Place management to increase business while getting our members back to work.”
Justin Antheunis
IATSE Local 58

Court Bulletin Child Fatality in Factory Results in $150,000 Fine November 13, 2018 2:15 P.M. Ministry of Labour

Court Bulletin

Child Fatality in Factory Results in $150,000 Fine

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: J.M. Lahman Manufacturing Inc., 5467 Ament Line, RR1, Linwood, Ontario, a company that manufactures steel tubing.

Location of Workplace: 3617 Lichty Road, Linwood, Ontario (Township of Wellesley, northwest of Kitchener).

Description of Offence: A child was killed in a factory when bundles of steel tubing fell.

Date of Offence: July 6, 2017.

Date of Conviction: November 13, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, J.M. Lahman Manufacturing Inc. was fined a total of $150,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Kitchener court; Crown counsel Wes Wilson.
  • The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.


  • Section 66(4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) makes any act of a supervisor the act of the employer.
  • The workplace is a factory as defined in the OHSA and section 4(1)(b) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851) prohibits the presence of persons under the age of 15 in a factory unless accompanied by an adult.
  • A worker/supervisor for the company was attending at the facility, accompanied by two children.
  • One of the children was moving freely through the aisles of the facility unaccompanied.
  • The worker used a crane to place three bundles of steel tubing on top of a stack of similar bundles. The three bundles had been left over from the day’s work. Each bundle of tubing weighed approximately 2,140 pounds. The total weight of the stack was estimated to be 15 tons.
  • The stack of bundles dropped and collapsed. The stack fell onto the child who had been moving about and the child was killed instantly. The other child was far enough away as not to be harmed.
  • A Ministry of Labour engineer determined during the investigation that the use of softwood spacers between the bundles and the use of insufficient numbers of bands to hold the tubes together contributed to the collapse. There may have been other factors as well.
  • A fine of $100,000 was imposed for permitting a person under the age of 15 to be in a factory.
  • A fine of $50,000 was imposed for failing to ensure that bundles of steel tubing were placed and/or stored in a manner such that they could not tip, collapse and/or fall as required under section 45(b) of the regulation.

Media Contacts

Ontario: ‘Open for business’ at whose expense?

November 7, 2018

(TORONTO, ON) – This winter, our government is pushing workers out into the cold by cancelling workplace rights and the $15 minimum wage with Bill 47, but that’s not the only shameful way this government is treating workers.

An internal memo from the Ministry of Labour signalled the intention to put a freeze on proactive inspections that would make sure employers are meeting the minimum standards set out in employment law. Until now, inspectors have performed random inspections of workplaces to ensure that workers’ rights are being respected. They check to make sure employers are providing things like paid sick days, vacation, schedules that meet regulatory standards, and workers are being paid properly.

By stopping these inspections, our government is essentially handing employers a free pass to break the law. Pausing proactive workplace inspections that ensure compliance with Ontario’s employment standards further disadvantage vulnerable workers in Ontario. It also makes it easier for employers to take advantage of their workers, creating an uneven playing field to the benefit of unscrupulous operators.

This freeze comes on the heels of the introduction of Bill 47, a bill that robs workers of many of their basic workplace rights and protections. From equal pay for part-time, full-time and temp workers to paid sick days, and $15 minimum wage, Bill 47 strips away the laws that protect workers in this province.

Bill 47, combined with a reduction in inspections means that workers will be less likely to report when an employer breaks that law, for fear of reprisals. Temp workers, who are often newcomers to the province who may not be aware of their workplace rights, are left particularly vulnerable by these changes.

Companies like Fiera Foods take advantage of these precariously employed workers by offering the least that they can to these workers. Fiera Foods is infamous for using temp agencies to staff their factories where workers toil for low wages in unsafe conditions to produce a range of food products in locations around Ontario. These workers are unlikely to feel confident in making a complaint when they don’t receive proper safety training, equal pay, or vacation time.

This fall there was another death at Fiera Foods. It was the fourth death in nineteen years. Fiera Foods is not the only company taking advantage of Ontarians, but it is a good example of a company that might protect its workers better if it were subject to more inspections.

Workers should not be made responsible for keeping tabs on their employer. Our government should be enforcing a set of decent work laws, not the substandard version set out in Bill 47.

Bill 47 will also cancel the increase to a $15 minimum wage that is scheduled for January 1, 2019. This is a real-dollar loss for workers that takes almost $2,000 dollars out of their pockets, and out of the economy. Under Bill 47, there won’t be a $15 minimum wage in Ontario until 2024 at the earliest, when every penny of that $15 minimum wage will be worth less than it was worth today.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce wants these basic rights cut. They say the economy will suffer, but there is no sign their dire predictions are true, in fact, just the opposite. Since this time last year, Ontario added 83,000 jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped. Fewer people are using the Daily Bread Food Bank, a shift that the Food Bank attributes, in part, to a higher minimum wage.

Doug Ford, look at the facts. Look at the improvements in Ontario’s economy with the minimum wage increase and the net benefits with fairer workplace laws in place.

Withdraw Bill 47. Do not, as you have said you will, replace decent work laws with laws that lower standards at the expense of workers lives and livelihoods.

Do not pause employment standards inspections.

Use your power in the legislature to make sure families in Ontario can survive and thrive.

Keep your promise to govern ‘for the people’, not for the special interests of the big business lobby and multi-national corporations.

Yours truly,
Chris Buckley

Chris Buckley is the President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information visit and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.


For further information, please contact:

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


Rotating strike hits Port Elgin Post Office

One-day rotating postal strikes stop mail delivery from Tobermory to Kincardine

Pay equity and health and safety issues are the main concerns of 10 striking Canadian Union of Postal Worker (CUPW) Owen Sound Local 582 members in Port Elgin who began rotating strikes at midnight with approximately 250 fellow Local members.

“We all want to be paid for every hour we work,” said rural mail carrier Dawn Wasylishyn as she stood with fellow CUPW members under a tent in the rain at the Port Elgin post office Nov. 6. The Owen Sound Local 582 members walked off the job at midnight Nov. 6 to protest lagging contract talks with Canada Post.
“My job class gets no pay for working past my scheduled hours. Because I’m only paid for seven hours but it takes 10 to do my job – people are getting hurt out there and over-burdening themselves,” Wasylishyn said, adding the issue is with a broken” route measuring system, adding, “This used to be good gig, but now it is not.”

Frustrated that 10 months of contact talks have not resolved issues, Port Elgin retail staffer Betina Jensen, a former Owen Sound letter carrier with 30 years of service, said job equality is key. “Rural carriers need to be paid for their work,” Jensen said, adding health and safety are the big issues for the retail clerks.
“We just want it fair across the board – it is not because we are all not paid equal.”

After visiting striking members at various locations, CUPW Owen Sound Local 582 President Peter McHugh, said the one-day rotating strikes will continues and CUPW intends to “stay the course.”
“I think that Canada Post has to listen to our health and safety concerns with the volume [of packages and mail] and the over-burdening,” McHugh said in a telephone interview, adding the rotting strikes are designed to allow some mail to be delivered.

McHugh said rural mail carriers in Port Elgin are delivering five or six times the volume of mail than they did in 2012 when the last volume count was done. One Port Elgin rural carrier said he delivers more than 170 packages some days, but is not compensated for the increase.
That over-burdening is causing health and safety issues according to McHugh. “The statistics of injury rates at the federal level show that Canada Post has the highest level, including mining, and part of that is the weight we are carrying,” he said.

The one-day CUPW Owen Sound Local 582 rotating strikes affected mail and package delivery to Owen Sound, Port Elgin, Southampton, Meaford, Hanover, Wiarton, Walkerton, Markdale, Dundalk, Mount Forest. Mildmay and Tobermory.