Tag Archive: union

Below and attached is a detailed background document providing analysis of Tim Hudak’s recent white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” Hudak’s paper poses a threat to the livelihoods of all working people by proposing to eliminate workers’ right to collectively bargain and by driving wages down across the board.

Please circulate the attached analysis to your members so they can challenge Hudak’s arguments in the workplace, in their communities, and in the media.

In solidarity,

Sid Ryan

President of the Ontario Federation of Labour



Tim Hudak’s White Paper on Flexible Labour Markets

Published on July 16, 2012Courtesty of TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

In June 2012, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak opened up a new attack on labour unions and working people with his release of his white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” The paper lays out the Tories’ new platform on workers’ rights and unveils an economic scheme for the province that is centered on reduced public services and cheap labour. Blindly aligning their interests with those of profit-hungry corporations, the Tories fault unions for the province’s economic difficulties while offering no plan for creating new jobs, revitalizing the manufacturing sector or securing greater corporate investments in the provincial economy. They propose to bring Wisconsin-style laws to Ontario that would eliminate the rights of workers to collectively bargain and drive wages down for all workers. Hudak’s proposal is a plan for poverty, not prosperity, and it requires strong opposition from workers from every sector, whether union or non-union.

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

Throughout the white paper, Hudak laments the wages and benefits secured by workers in Ontario’s manufacturing sector and blames the workers for expecting to maintain middle-class wages to support their families. For Hudak, “prosperity” means turning Ontario into a low-wage, regulation-free haven where corporations rake in profit at the expense of Ontario workers, communities and the environment. “Flexible labour” means cheap labour.

In this respect, Hudak differs little from his federal counterpart Stephen Harper, who, as Prime Minister, has presided over an expanded Temporary Foreign Worker Program, allowing employers greater leeway to import people from all over the world with precious little obligation for their well-being. When the work is done, or if the worker is maimed on the job, they are literally disposed of—sent back to their home countries with nary a thought. Most recently, the Harper government gave employers the green light to pay migrant workers between 5 and 15 percent less than the average wage for that occupation

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There’s an interesting initiative happening in a few weeks in California. An organization called Change.org is getting 50 computer programmers (it sounds more exciting to call them hackers) to spend 24 hours developing widgets and apps and all kinds of small software and other magical web things (examples below) for social good.

If you’ve ever thought: “If web browsers did ___, that would make organizing so much easier,” or “if there was a firefox extention that did ___, it would really help people think about zero waste,” you can suggest it to Hack For Change. There’s no guarantee that anyone will work on that project, but there are only 17 ideas so far (and not very many interesting ones). So if you come up with something good, someone might do it.

I haven’t come up with anything yet, but I know there are a lot of creative people on this list! Here are some of the ideas listed so far, as examples:
A Firefox extension that allows you to see the political donations of companies whose site you visit
An app that tells you the true effect/footprint of what you are about to buy (NOTE: someone’s already actually done this at http://www.goodguide.com)
A platform to connect grassroots activists to tangible, needed resources from members of the private sector who want to offer support, but dont know what to give, who to give it to, and how
Help people in developing nations to sell their products directly to the world
Make government data more accessible and actionable
The full list is here: https://hackforchange.uservoice.com/forums/113515-hack-for-change/filters/hot
If you have an idea, please add it here (feel free to email me if you want to talk about it).

Then please tell us so we can go vote for it! To vote you just have to sign up for a password, and then you have 10 votes to distribute to your favorite ideas.

Article from http://mashable.com/2011/05/25/hack-for-change/
Can 50 Hackers Help Save the World in One Day?

Online activism platform Change.org is hosting a hackathon called Hack for Change, designed to get engineers coding quickly for social good.
Change.org will pick 50 engineers from a list of applicants and throw them into a programming blitz at its San Francisco headquarters. The goal is to get coders, designers and other creative types to start applying their talents to the non-profit and social good sector. While other hackathons have tried to get its talent to think like programmers, Hack for Change is trying to convince programmers to work for social good.

“The smartest people in the world are focused on problems that don’t really matter,” says Ben Rattray, founder of Change.org. “What we want to do is dedicate the time, effort and energy of those people to important issues.”

The event’s rules are simple, if a little vague: “You can create any feature or app that does good.” Participants can hack using any languages or available APIs and must post their code to GitHub. They can hack individually or in teams but teams still must apply — and be accepted — individually. That kind of openness will hopefully inspire off-the-wall ideas thanks to unexpected pairings (not to mention lack of sleep).

Spanning just one weekend, the programming starts June 18 at noon and ends 24 hours later. The finished products will then be presented to the attendees, invited media and judges.

There will be prizes, but that’s not really the point. Hack for Change is aimed at introducing a new community of talent to the non-profit world. Rattray and his team are trying to make the transition as easy as possible by giving social good greenhorns a slew of ideas to get their fingers moving. The conference will start with presentations by non-profits and conscientious companies offering their APIs. There is also a forum where anyone can suggest issues that need fixing.

Change.org is offering $10,000 of its own cash as seed money — $5,000 of which will go to the top project, with the rest to be divvied up amongst the top picks. The hackathon isn’t intended as a one-off; Rattray hopes to make it a regular event. “We want to create a very clear path by which engineers and designers can find full time work in the social change sector,” he says.

What do you think about a hackathon for change? Are designers, programmers and hackers the next wave of talent to revolutionize social good? Let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: Mashable is a media partner of Hack for Change.

A New Year a New Class

Today the Canadian Labour Congress Ontario summer school kicked off. Many important course’s are underway to build and renew the labour movement in Canada. The participates have come from all around the province and are settled in to the Family Educational center in Port Elgin.

I have the great opportunity to deliver a course in labour technology and website building. Many trade union activist have for years relied on many forms of union communications (i.e posters, face-to-face meets and union newsletters) however this week we are going to spend our time on another form of union organizing, mobilizing members and educating the greater public with the use of web 2.0 tools. The increase in  smart phone technology and ‘soapbox’ options of transforming the message often not heard or seen in most media outlets today opens opportunity’s for labour to reach out.

In fact as brother Derek Blackadder wrote in the June/July Our Times magazine

Canadians now spend more time online than watching TV. Does your unions communications strategy reflect that? We have far more access to the web in getting out our message than we ever had to TV –

Well this week we hope to harness the tools available to our movement to create the better world that is possible.  Our workshop is focused on the content management system of weebly. A simple drop menu of widgets and elements in a system that new users can quickly pick up, get creative and quickly get their word out on the campaigns and struggles their members and workers around the world are currently facing.

As we build, develop and host discussion of broader communications using the web, I’m sure the unions who have invested in labour education will have a greater equipped activist in their member ranks at the end of this week.  Stay tuned for what’s to come.

Again, I want to thank those who have supported building and supporting the work needed in order to bring this program to our members and our movement.

United steel workers 9511 – Drive Test

Seven hundred and fifty (750) government employees, most of which were full-time with benefits and pension plans. How many Serco DES employees are currently on strike? Well, after imposing a 15% pay cut and taking away their pensions, Serco DES has whittled down its workforce to about five hundred (500). However, they haven’t stopped there. They’ve turned formerly good jobs into marginal employment: 50% of Serco DES employees are now part-time with no benefits, with no guaranteed number of hours each week, and Serco DES is seeking to convert more employees into part-timers.

So out of the original 750 good jobs, 250 have been lost entirely. Of the remaining 500, the company has marginalized 250. That means that only a third of the original jobs remain. So, did the Conservative government succeed in creating a climate for job creation? Clearly not. The privatization of driver testing in Ontario has decimated hundreds of jobs in the province.

Which brings us to the public interest. With hundreds of jobs eliminated and marginalized, the province and the communities where these workers work(ed) have seen a decline in tax revenues. Local economies will have seen a decline proportionate to the decline in spending power of these workers. The ripple effects of job loss and job marginalization in communities are widespread. Is that in the public interest?

CAW calls on fishing crisis

QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 19 /CNW/ – The CAW is calling for immediate
intervention on the fishing crisis that has hit the Fraser River in British
This crisis comes after years of failed government policies on the
fishing sector which has devastated communities on both ends of the country,
said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.
“Thousands of workers could be out of a job as a result of the dramatic
drop in salmon in British Columbia this summer,” said Lewenza. “The economic
crisis has already had terrible consequences for the fishing industry which
was already faltering as a result of poor government policies and
unsustainable off-shore competition.”
As part of the union’s Constitutional Convention which has brought
together more than 1000 CAW members, staff and guests in Quebec City, the
union has passed an emergency resolution demanding government action on the
environmental, economic and social degradation which has occurred on both the
east and west coasts of the country.
“The federal and provincial governments on both coasts have neglected
this industry and the loss of approximately 9 million salmon should be a wake
up call to government and industry,” said CAW-FFAW President Earle McCurdy.
“On both coasts, the global economic recession has had a devastating impact on
fishing families and communities.”
The CAW represents approximately 2,500 fishery workers in British
Columbia (CAW-affiliated United Fish and Allied Workers Union-UFAWU) and
approximately 10,000 fish harvesters and 6,000 fish plant workers in
Newfoundland and Labrador (CAW-Fish, Food and Allied Workers-FFAW).
As part of the union’s emergency resolution, CAW leaders and members will
ramp up lobby efforts to all levels of government, including the applicable
provincial and federal departments.