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Unifor launches ‘Rights at Work’ campaign

The Canadian Press reports, “The president of the head of Canada’s largest private-sector union, Jerry Dias, says working people are under attack across the country by right-wing forces, and organized labour must stand tall to preserve the middle class.” He was in Winnipeg on Monday to help launch Unifor’s new Rights at Work campaign.

Jerry Dias
Photo: Jerry Dias

“Dias cited a bill before the House of Commons that would restrict the bargaining rights of federal civil servants and two federal anti-union private members’ bills as examples of how labour is under attack. He also decried a Manitoba rule that requires unions organizing a workplace to sign up 65 per cent of employees to bypass a formal vote – in many jurisdictions, all that is needed for automatic certification is 50 per cent, plus one. …Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has also tried to score political points lately by cranking up the union-busting rhetoric, he said.”

“Calls in Canada for so-called ‘right-to-work’ legislation already in place in a couple of dozen U.S. states is also a cause for concern, Dias said. Such laws make it difficult for unions to organize. They would also do away with requirements that all workers in unionized workplaces pay dues – even if they choose not to join the union – as they still benefit from its services. In states that have ‘right to work’ laws, 27 per cent of jobs are low-paying, workplace fatality rates are significantly higher and family incomes are $6,500 a year less than where such laws don’t exist, Dias said. ‘The more you can weaken unions, the more you weaken the working class, the more you eliminate the middle class,’ he said.”

As noted in Our Windsor, Unifor began a series of 19 meetings across the country on January 13 in Windsor. Local and national Unifor leaders are attending these meetings to launch the ‘Rights at Work’ campaign to defend the rights of Canadians in the workplace. The meetings are to discuss the threats posed to basic labour rights, and what people can do about it.

Upcoming meetings will take place on:

  • January 29 – Thunder Bay

  • January 29 – Sudbury

  • February 11-12 – Quebec City

  • February 13 – Ottawa

  • February 17 – Vancouver

  • February 17 – Prince George

  • February 18 – Edmonton

  • February 19 – Fort McMurray

  • February 20 – Saskatoon

  • February 20 – Regina

  • February 25 – Moncton

  • February 26 – Halifax

  • February 27 – St. John’s

A press statement notes, “Media are welcome at all the meetings to find out about Rights at Work campaign and the union’s response to legislative attacks on collective bargaining.”

The Council of Canadians stands with Unifor against attacks on working people.

Further reading
Conservative government attacks working people
Council backs Rand formula, rejects ‘right-to-work’ legislation
Barlow addresses the Ontario Federation of Labour
Windsor chapter member was part of strike that won the Rand formula