October 12, 2017
Support Workers Locked Out by Max
Aicher for Four Years
The Disgusting and Tragic History
of MANA in Hamilton
Benefit Dance for Locked-Out MANA Workers
Hall, 1031 Barton St. East
Tickets $10, all money raised will be donated to Hamilton area food
Aicher for Four Years
• The Disgusting and Tragic
History of MANA in Hamilton - Bill Good,
Retired Bar Mill Local 1005 Activist
• Nova Scotia Teachers
Demand Their Right to Decide - Kevin Corkill
• Workers Must Be the Decisive Factor in
Determining Their Wages
and Working Conditions
• Coming Event -- Life in Nova Scotia with
Stephen McNeil and the
Liberals Is No Picnic!
• Continuation of Court Battle to Stop
Privatization of Hydro One - Mira Katz
• U.S. Truckers' Actions Defend Their Dignity
• Support the Fight of U.S. Truckers for
- Normand Chouinard
Support Workers Locked Out by Max Aicher
for Four Years
The Disgusting and Tragic History of
MANA in Hamilton
Mass solidarity picket at MANA gates, September 30, 2016.
When the German company Max Aicher Corporation bought
the bar and bloom Mill from U.S. Steel in 2010, it was called a
steel industry and a great economic story for Hamilton, by the
provincial Liberal Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Sandra
What it became was an ongoing tragedy for the workers,
the city of
Hamilton, United Steelworkers, Local 1005 and the whole trade
movement. To the shame of all levels of government, yet another foreign
corporation bought a Canadian manufacturing asset and could thoroughly
trample on the rights and livelihoods of
U.S. Steel had taken over Stelco in 2007 and in a
short time they
proved to be a brutal profit greedy employer locking out Lake Erie
Works (LEW) workers in 2009 and the Hamilton plant in 2010
lock out LEW
again in 2013). So, it appeared to be a blessing when Max Aicher
over the bar and bloom mill. Such
would not be the case.
Max Aicher North America
(MANA) had been interested in
plant in North America to supply its customers in the auto industry.
Negotiations with U.S. Steel had progressed through 2010, closing
sale November 2010. At the time, MANA stated "they had no problem
the 2006 contract with
U.S. Steel had idled both Hamilton and LEW in
January 2009, and they
supplied customers from U.S. plants owned by U.S. Steel. When the MANA
closed, 59 former bar and bloom mill workers were sold as a part
asset sales agreement and ordered
to report for work on
November 15, 2010. They
had no choice! USS was no longer their employer. Eight days
November 7, USS had locked out the Hamilton plant, and it appeared
that these 59 (plus an additional 54 retirees and 4
won the lottery, having escaped the brutality of U.S. Steel.
The mill was up and running by the end of 2010 and ran
September 2011, when MANA stopped production. In June 2011, 40 workers
were laid off and by November only a little over 20 workers remained in
The laid off workers were called back to work in April
2012. Only 3
workers took a severance package. Many of the rest were short of the 35
weeks in a 52-week period to qualify for severance. This was a pattern
that would be repeated until all the work force was laid off by
MANA played a USS-style of hardball in negotiations with
Local 1005. Their first and final offer included a 30 per cent wage
cut, no cost-of-living allowance, replacing the
defined pension plan with a contribution plan, major reductions in
benefits, and a general gutting of the basic agreement.
The workers turned down this offer by a vote of 73 per
cent in June 2012.
With the entire work force laid off in March 2013, they rejected
another offer by 86 per cent.
MANA would not consider any counter-offer by Local 1005.
Breaking the union seemed to be the intent of its strategy. The second
rejection of its offer led MANA to lock the union out at the end of
June 2013, six days before some of the workers would qualify for
In October 2013, assets
paid for by the Canadian taxpayers were
removed to the European Operations of MANA while the lock-out
continued. The Ontario government helped finance this new equipment
with a $9 million loan, and the City of Hamilton contributed $200,000
to dispose of 18 PCB laden transformers.
MANA began bringing in scabs to do bargaining unit work
and in May
2014 signed a collective agreement with the Building Union of Canada
(BUC), a rogue outfit not affiliated with the CLC and with a history of
raiding unions and providing scab labour during disputes.
Since January 2015, MANA has been running the mill using
wound up the workers' pension plan, which has been challenged by Local
1005. MANA has continued to trample on the rights of workers to this
These Workers Had No Choice, They Were
Sold to Mana!
1005's Picket Line!
This Affects Us All!
Nova Scotia Teachers Demand Their Right to Decide
Nova Scotia teachers have consistently highlighted the
working conditions they face. They seek to improve conditions they
contend are intolerable, unsuitable to learning and even dangerous. At
the Law Amendments Committee's February 15 meeting on Bill 75,
teachers, guidance counsellors and many others who work with and within
the education system in Nova Scotia presented problems they face in
their everyday work and demanded changes. Teachers brought forward
longstanding problems they face as well as solutions they believe will
improve the education system in Nova Scotia. As in years gone by, the
concrete suggestions they presented, which reflect the expertise and
firsthand experience of those who do the work, fell on deaf ears.
While Premier McNeil has paid lip service to the
nonetheless imposed legislation that denies their right to decide their
terms of employment. He used police powers of the legislature to
dictate the working conditions of the teachers, which are in essence
the learning conditions of students.
McNeil and his Liberal government cannot deny the truth
teachers are the decisive factor in the education system but use words
to deflect from the government's anti-worker anti-social deeds. McNeil
in the midst of depriving teachers of their rights, "I've heard from
people who are watching, teachers who are watching it from home, 'This
is my reality,' as well as friends of mine, people I know." McNeil
feigns understanding that teachers face problems and are the best
resource to solve the problems of the education system and improve the
teaching and learning conditions, but in deeds, McNeil refuses to
listen or allow them to make the necessary changes. He said the
teachers who expressed through their mass demonstrations and resistance
forced him to recognize the important role teachers play but he refused
to recognize the most important lesson: Nova Scotia teachers themselves
have the decisive role to determine their working conditions and terms
of employment. How can it be otherwise in a modern
society? Only an anti-social force that has usurped power could deprive
teachers of their rights.
McNeil and his Liberal government repeat the
anti-social fraud of "living within our means" or "taxpayers' ability
pay" ad nauseam
but what problems are they solving? What working conditions and
learning conditions are they improving in this instance? More
importantly, why are the teachers and support workers marginalized
from having a say over their conditions of work? The actual workers are
quite capable of determining the means within which Nova Scotians must
As for the issue of taxpayers and their ability to pay,
throws that out to suggest teachers are not producing anything and are
a dreaded cost to the people. Just imagine for a moment the
backwardness of the argument that modern education is a cost and does
not add value to the economy and society. Take away mass education,
is a modern right of all, and what kind of society would Nova Scotia
have? Not one to be proud of or that could be considered of value. The
issue McNeil and his anti-social gang refuse to face is how to realize
the value teachers produce within the economy, and not have education
as an expenditure of the provincial budget.
Teachers' Demands Most Modest Are -- the Right to
Teachers during the latest round of bargaining made
for increases to their wages, improvement in class sizes and supports
for students with specific needs, the replacement of aging equipment
and materials and so on. On top of dealing with the impact of child
poverty and all other social ills that many Nova Scotian children
are suffering, teachers made important requests to improve the learning
conditions of students.
The fact that the McNeil government could not meet any
the teachers and resorted to police powers to impose a contract is
proof that it is not interested in the learning conditions of students,
but rather in having the power to dictate working and learning
conditions regardless of the views and suggestions of those who do the
The McNeil government seeks to absolve itself of the very reason that
Nova Scotia has a government: to put the needs of the people in first
place and make every possible effort to meet those needs and the
general interests of society. Investing in social programs and moving
society forward with a pro-social program that recognizes the rights of
members and puts them in first place is the duty of any government fit
This much we know: teachers are the experts as to what
the needs of
students are. Teachers along with their students are the experts as to
what is needed to support learning and development of the youth and
fulfil their right to education. They should be the decisive factor in
determining their working conditions and the government should
fully support and provide all necessary resources to make this happen.
With the dictate of the McNeil Liberal government,
lost every mechanism available to determine their conditions of work,
thus eliminating the ability of teachers to improve the learning
conditions and outcomes of Nova Scotia youth. Teachers have proven time
and again that they are up to the task of mending, repairing and
being accountable to the youth, where the government is not.
What mechanisms are needed by workers to be able to
working conditions? How can workers as a social force deprive the
government of its power to deprive the working class of its rights?
What organization or system will put workers in the decisive role as
decision-makers to make headway in resolving the problems they
face at work and the specific problems they face such as teachers who
are charged with educating the youth? Let's discuss!
Workers Must Be the Decisive Factor in Determining
Their Wages and Working Conditions
The discussion of who should decide the wages, pensions
conditions of workers, unionized or not, is important. Especially so,
as the federal, provincial and municipal governments and big
corporations, under the discredited banner of austerity, are dictating
lower wages, pensions and working conditions for the working
The motive of those who currently own and control the
economy is to drive down the standard of living of working people,
thereby seizing a greater portion of the new value workers produce to
further enrich themselves and their private empires.
Through their work-time, the Canadian working class
value to sustain themselves, the economy and society as a whole. The
aggregate value workers produce is the amount available for
distribution to themselves and society as a whole. The right to decide
how the aggregate new value workers produce is distributed is a modern
right of the actual producers. This is especially pertinent when the
distribution of value affects the workers themselves in a particular
sector or workplace.
The teachers of Nova Scotia brought to the fore the
necessity to discuss and resolve this question of who decides
when they engaged in job actions to resist the attack
of the McNeil Liberals denying teachers their right to decide their
wages, pensions and working conditions. Their working conditions are
also the learning conditions of students. The Liberal government used
the royal prerogative of the legislature to force teachers back to work
and impose on them a contract using Bill 75, the Teachers
Professional Agreement and Classroom Improvements Act.
Depriving the actual producers, in this case teachers
educated students, their right to decide the conditions of their work
is the height of arrogance of the rich and their representatives
flaunting their class privilege. Teachers and other educational workers
are those who know what the conditions are now and what is missing from
those conditions to better serve their students and nation building. To
argue that teachers do not know what the conditions should be for the
betterment of all or that teachers want only to improve their personal
lifestyles at the expense of others is an ugly anti-working class
prejudice of the rich and their representatives. The rich are implying
teachers hold the same anti-social motive and aim as they do. The
motive and aim of the rich to maximize their profits at the expense of
working people and society is precisely the problem teachers and other
workers are striving to overcome.
The aim of teachers is to educate the youth as best
they can and to
the highest possible degree given the level of development of the
productive forces. Teachers are determined to fulfill the right of all
to education. Teachers in concert with their students are society's
best social force to decide their working and learning conditions.
Life in Nova Scotia with
Stephen McNeil and the Liberals Is No Picnic!
Rally and Lunch Outside Liberal AGM
Demonstration at Province House, September 21, 2017 against Bill 148.
Park across from
Let's join the Liberals for lunch outside their AGM on
October 14. They are meeting at the Westin Hotel, so we will be at
park across the street from 11:00 am-1:00 pm. Join us with your
banners and lunch as we make some labour lunchtime noise!
We have been under constant attack by the Liberals
since they took office in 2013.
We have seen several anti-worker pieces of legislation
being rammed through the house.
Students are paying far too much for post-secondary
More than 120,000 Nova Scotians do not have a
Emergency rooms are closing.
Our overcrowded classrooms need more teaching
Liberals have cut budgets for our nursing homes by
millions of dollars, lowering food quality for long-term care residents.
Continuation of Court Battle to Stop
Privatization of Hydro One
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn speaks outside provincial court about
the union's lawsuit
against the Ontario government, June 12, 2017.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees and CUPE Ontario
Fred Hahn filed a lawsuit against the Ontario Premier and Ministers in
December 2016. The misfeasance suit alleges that the government
full well that the privatization of Hydro One through the sale of
shares in the enterprise is harmful to the people of
Ontario yet is proceeding anyway. The suit argues that the sale is
structured in a way to benefit parasites in the financial sector who
are also supporters of the Ontario Liberal Party.
CUPE lawyers argue that the privatization of Hydro One
is an abuse
of power by government ministers for the benefit of select private
interests. In defiance of public opinion and exhibiting an abuse of
power, just weeks before a scheduled June hearing, the Ontario
government announced the sale of yet another tranche of Hydro One
This brought private ownership of Hydro One to over 50 per cent.
Deregulation and privatization of Ontario's public
electricity generation and distribution system has resulted in a
dramatic increase in hydro rates for workers and others in Ontario,
including small and medium-sized businesses. Resistance to the
privatization of Hydro One is part of the struggle of the Ontario
working class and others against the broad anti-social offensive of the
rich and their state as well as the schemes to turn Canada into a
privatized source of electricity for the United States instead of using
electricity distribution for the development of Canada on a
Another arm of the state, the Ontario Superior Court of
ruled on June 12 that the government has every right to privatize
whatever it wants and summarily dismissed CUPE's suit. In his ruling,
Justice Peter J. Cavanagh stated the misfeasance suit is "an
on a core policy decision taken by the Ministers that is immune
from judicial review in a civil tort action and that the Claim should
be struck out and the action dismissed....
"The acts taken to proceed with privatization or, as
describe it, broadening of ownership, of Hydro One were authorized by
amendments to the Electricity Act, 1998, a legislative act.
The Ministers are high ranking political actors whose official
responsibility requires them to assess and balance public policy
considerations. The decision to proceed with privatization of Hydro One
was a considered decision that represents a 'policy' in the sense of a
general rule or approach, applied to a particular situation. It
represents a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by the
"[CUPE's] pleadings are, in substance, policy
objections to policy
decisions made to privatize Ontario Hydro. Such objections may or may
not be well founded from a policy perspective, but they are precisely
the types of objections to which the immunity afforded to core policy
decisions from civil tort claims is intended to apply."
As for CUPE's contention that the privatization of
Hydro One is a
way of favouring select private interests who are financially
supporting the ruling Liberal Party and benefit personally from
privatization, the judge states, "Political fundraising is a known and
legitimate part of the political process" and is not unlawful.
The judge stated "core policy decisions" are generally
review by the courts. Exceptions occur, he contended, when these
decisions are proven in court to be irrational and bad faith decisions
amounting to an abuse of power, which he could not find in this case.
Queens Park demonstration, April 8, 2017.
The lawyers representing the Ontario Premier and
Finance and Energy pleaded for dismissal of the
suit. They contended that as a result of parliamentary privilege, an
exercise of authority viewed possibly as being in bad faith or made for
an improper purpose is not in itself sufficient to establish
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn disagreed with the
the defence and dismissal of the suit. CUPE filed an appeal of the
judge's ruling on September 21. Hahn said, "This case is
about more than the sale of Hydro One. It's about the government's
responsibility to act in the best interest of its citizens. This case
about protecting our democracy from elected officials who are tempted
to use their power to benefit themselves and their friends at the
expense of the people's good.... But the thing is, they didn't just
privatize it -- they structured the deal in a way that led to donations
in the hundreds of thousands to the Liberal Party of Ontario.
"[The privatization of Hydro One has] saddled
charges totalling more than $1 billion. This is misfeasance in
office, and it cannot be allowed to go ahead unchallenged.... We hope
that the Premier and her Ministers will still be held accountable for
their decision to sell off our hydro system in a way that benefited
their friends on Bay St. and their own political party.... Once this
case moves to trial the Premier and Ministers will be required to
provide full disclosure and the public will be able to know the full
story of what went on."
U.S. Truckers' Actions Defend
Their Dignity and Rights
Truckers protest outside the Department of Transportation in
DC, as part of October 3-8, 2017 actions against imposition of E-logs.
From October 3 to 8, thousands of truckers
operating in several U.S. states protested against the implementation
of new regulations that will negatively affect their working conditions
and increase harassment of drivers by transportation monopolies. The
new regulation requires all transportation companies and independent
truckers to install an electronic system to register the hours driven
on their vehicles (Electronic Logging Device or ELD, also called
E-logs). All truckers operating in the United States must comply by
(click to enlarge)
Canadian authorities are in talks with their U.S.
counterparts to harmonize the new regulations within a year or two, as
soon as the provinces have agreed to implement the ELDs. Transport
Canada confirms it "held an informal consultation process" in the
summer of 2016 to introduce new rules for trucking. "The feedback from
this exercise will guide the next steps," wrote Natasha Gauthier,
Senior Advisor, Media Relations. "Transport Canada is looking at
options before we begin the next steps," she said. "However, any
modification should harmonize, as far as possible, with the United
States final rules."
The U.S. truckers' protest is organized under the themes
"Operation Black and Blue" and "ELD or Me." In recent months, truckers,
particularly independent truck drivers, have been using social networks
to protest. They are calling on people to rally behind them "to
preserve the integrity and dignity of the transport industry and its
drivers." Gatherings were held in the U.S. capital, as well as truck
parades on the streets surrounding the White House and the Capitol, the
seat of the U.S. Congress. In California, a long parade of nearly 500
trucks slowed traffic on a highway despite threats from the police
authorities to intervene against the truckers. Similar actions occurred
in Seattle where a rally and a parade of intermodal truckers from the
Port of Seattle put forward demands for improving working conditions
and against imposing ELDs. Actions have also taken place in New York,
as well as in cities in Missouri and Florida and many other places. As
a form of protest, truckers have also decided not to report to work and
leave their trucks at home, or at their respective terminals, during
six days of actions.
The truckers who protested
say the new regulations were decided behind closed doors and without
their input even though these decisions will directly affect their
lives. Their main demands to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) are the immediate revocation of the obligation
to impose ELDs or at least that the federal
government extends the deadline for compliance.
The FMCSA maintains that the purpose of ELDs is only to
ensure the safety of drivers and road users by preventing "delinquent"
truckers from exceeding their regulatory driving hours and falsifying
the current paper log. The truckers who took part in the actions during
the week reject this logic and consider that the issue is the attempt
government and transportation companies to control their working days,
spy on everything they do, criminalize their work and deny them their
right to decide those matters that affect their lives.
The next action is scheduled to take place on
October 18, with the aim of demanding that the federal government
and the FMCSA delay the implementation of the new regulation. On that
date, truckers are encouraged to cease all activity for a full hour to
demonstrate the importance of the work they do for the economy, and
dignity and rights.
Support the Fight of U.S. Truckers for
Human Working Conditions
Protest by U.S. truckers.
Clearly, the new regulation requiring electronic
monitoring of truck drivers is a way to establish greater control over
their actions, especially the "independents," those who own their
trucks or own a very small fleet of trucks. The independent truckers
represent about 20 per cent of the nearly four million truck
drivers in the United
The proponents of electronic monitoring contend the
measure will bring a modicum of safety for road users and for drivers
themselves by ensuring the electronic control of driving hours. In
contrast, the experience of truck drivers leads them to doubt the
honesty of the U.S. federal government agency, the Federal Motor
Administration (FMCSA) and other major players in the industry who are
behind electronic monitoring. Truckers suspect a more sinister agenda
is at play.
The difficult situation facing truckers throughout North
America is an integral part of the major upheavals affecting all
sectors of transportation -- rail, marine, air and ground transport.
Different levels of government, including the Trudeau federal
government, are injecting billions of dollars into new trade corridors.
The federal government is
trying to privatize major infrastructure such as airports and seaports.
U.S. and Canadian truckers are increasingly aware of these upheavals
across the continent and fear that this new regulation requiring
electronic surveillance is not intended to provide security but rather
to increase harassment of truckers and to create conditions for major
in the trucking industry that will adversely affect their living and
working conditions. Amongst other things, many suspect electronic
is a dress rehearsal for driverless trucks to be introduced without
consideration for the well-being and future of the millions of truck
In the context of the establishment of new trade and
transportation corridors, cross-border arrangements, the
"modernization" of NAFTA, and the increasing integration of Canada into
the U.S.-led Fortress North America, the implementation of E-logs will
effectively change many aspects of the continental production chain.
logging, coupled with constant computer monitoring of drivers, will
allow the largest shippers and customers who dominate the market to
better know the exact location and arrival times of their goods. This
will maximize the role that existing and future transport corridors and
routes play to increase the profits of global private interests. This
further concentrates the economies of North America in the hands of a
few oligopolies, which are fast becoming capable of dictating their
will and control over all aspects of life throughout the continent.
The introduction of E-logs, a measure that has been in
existence for years in Europe, will make it easier to create a
continental transit system to improve the fluidity of trucking. This will mean, among other things,
minimizing the stops for the rest periods truckers must take. This
so-called "train velocity" policy of the railway industry that led to
the abandonment of basic safety measures in the operation of trains in
order to keep them in motion as continuously as possible. "Train
velocity" was a significant factor in the Lac-Mégantic tragedy.
Let us take the example of a trip from Montreal to
Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, which is a driving time of
almost 24 hours (1775 km). Based on the actual regulations on
driving hours, a driver will make the trip in about two days. On the
other hand, if a transit zone is established (a place where another
driver takes over
and begins his driving hours), two drivers would complete the trip in
less than 24 hours. It would be possible to do this because it
will be known beforehand precisely when and where the driver must stop
Although this practice already exists and is used on
some roads by large transport companies and their employee-drivers,
E-logs will now place "independent" drivers under the strict discipline
of the transport monopolies that contract work to them, as well as
large shippers of all kinds, putting control over their working days
into their employers' hands.
Electronic surveillance in road transport, where workers are scattered
across the continent, allows carriers and shippers to supervise their
drivers as a foreman would do on a factory floor. This intrusion into
their lives on the road imperils their security, stability, futures and
any independence that remains. U.S. truckers are taking action against
change because as they know full well, electronic spying will worsen
their working conditions and further wreck their trade and make them
vulnerable to other adverse changes as has happened in the rail
A key issue in this change is the one of Who Decides.
will tell us the full effect of these changes. When the FMCSA or
Transport Canada changes the rules, it invariably directly serves the
financial oligarchy and the private monopolies, which are the ones
actually dictating the changes to serve their narrow private interests.
Furthermore, how will monitoring of truck drivers'
actions improve their health and safety and road safety? This is a
gross misrepresentation of where safety resides and of the trucking
trade itself. Safety lies in the struggle of truckers for their rights,
including the right to decide the pace and duration of the working day.
It is not an electronic
monitoring system, however advanced it may be, which ensures safety but
rather the actual working conditions of the workers and the role they
play in deciding and implementing them.
U.S. truckers are not opposed to the introduction of
new technologies, but is this new technology going to allow them to
exercise control over their lives or will it wreck their lives even
more than they have already been wrecked? No one is in a better
position than truckers to feel the chaos and anarchy that prevail in
the transportation system
and in the economy.
Monopolies and governments may want to create their
transit areas to make uninterrupted trucking the norm, but the problems
these changes pose are enormous and workers will be made to pay because
the working people are not in control of their lives, let alone the
broad economy. Road transportation, governed by global private
interests and their dictate over the socialized economy, goes through
recurring crises buffeted by many unforeseen events on a regular basis.
The introduction of new technique may have the appearance of better
regulating the situation but the unbridled competition for control
amongst warring corporations soon bursts forth in anarchy and violence.
Just look at the wild disruptive fight in the aerospace industry
amongst Bombardier, Boeing, Airbus and Embraer.
The economy is not planned to operate to benefit the
workers who work and produce the value or ensure the economy operates
without crises. Nor is the aim of the economy to serve the people and
society that depend on it for their existence. The economy exists today
to make maximum profits for the few at the expense of the many. In this
situation where a few exercising their class privilege dictate their
will over the many, how can we even speak of electronic surveillance
and new trade routes being of any help other than to strengthen the
hand of those already in control.
Without workers being directly involved in making the
decisions that affect their lives and work, and fighting for
transportation systems that are part of a pro-social economy with a
modern aim to guarantee the well-being of all, the changes that are
being imposed by these new technologies, laws and regulations are
creating more instability
and insecurity in workers' lives and will give rise to even more
disastrous crises. Truckers increasingly realize that only their
efforts to organize actions in defence of their rights can ensure their
safety, working conditions and way of life, E-logs or no E-logs.
1. In Europe today, an even more advanced system of
personalized chips not only tracks cargo but records drivers' personal
data 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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