November 16, 2017
Results of Vote Forced on Ontario
College Faculty Vote No!
Left: Union bargaining chair J.P. Hornick announces No! vote. Right: faculty and
outside the Labour Relations Board await vote results.
on Ontario College Faculty
• Faculty Overwhelmingly Vote No!
• Support for College Faculty Grows
• Minister Matthews' Schemes - Mira
• The Government, College Employer Council and
Ontario Labour Relations Board: Three Sides of the Same Coin -
Stelco Results for
Third Quarter 2017
• Stelco Brags of Being "Low Cost" -
Nova Scotia Classroom
Council Sets Its Sights on Absenteeism
• Oppose the McNeil Liberals' Criminalization
of Youth! -
Food and Service
Workers Fight for Their Rights
• BC University Workers Stand Up to Global Food
• Food Terminal Workers in Ontario Strike for
Better Wages and Working Conditions
Results of Vote Forced on Ontario College
College Faculty Vote No!
College faculty and supporters gather outside Labour Relations Board
and following No! vote.
rejected with a resounding No! the forced vote of
the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Ninety-five percent of the
12,000 faculty members voted in the Board’s forced vote with 86 per
Ontario Public Service Employees Union, had
clearly said that the result of the forced vote would be no, as the
terms offered in the proposed contract were not substantially changed
from the original rejected offer that provoked the strike. The union
wanted to continue negotiations but the forced vote needlessly
prolonged the strike by two weeks. Many believe the Labour Relations
Board knew the result would be no, but wanted to use the rejection as
ammunition for the Ontario government to declare an impasse and
legislate teachers back to work without reaching a settlement
acceptable to the teachers.
Union Mobilizes for No!
La Cité College, Ottawa, November 14, 2017
Centennial College, Toronto, November 13, 2017
Sheridan College, Toronto, students stand with faculty picket, November
Seneca College, Toronto, November 14, 2017
Left: Humber College, Etobicoke. Right: Centennial College, Toronto
Support for College Faculty Grows
More than a hundred George Brown College students
rallied at the downtown campus to stand with their professors in their
fight for a just contract and humane working conditions.
Paula Greenberg, a George Brown student and one of the
main organizers of the rally, told Workers' Forum that the
students support their teachers. She pointed out: "This is more than a
fight for higher wages or working conditions, it is a fight to end
precarious work by college faculty and all workers. It is about raising
the quality of
education for all students. This fight is about a bright future for the
coming generations and to defend the interests of the people of
Ontario." Greenberg noted that the students are calling on their
teachers to reject the offer being put to a forced vote by the College
Employer Council (CEC) because it offers even less than what college
rejected in the first place.
A number of faculty who spoke at the rally stated that
the support of the students in their fight was crucial in light of the
CEC's attempts to divide faculty and students. Jamie Smith, a part-time
faculty member, told the rally he has been living from one 15-month
contract to another in a constant state of uncertainty about his
employment. He said that the majority of college faculty are put in
this humiliating situation and that it is simply wrong. Another faculty
member stated that the environment at the community colleges in Ontario
is becoming more and more dehumanized.
The students at the rally expressed their ongoing
support of the just struggle of their teachers and pledged to organize
more student rallies at the other Toronto colleges.
Workers from several unions as well as community groups
and political organizations in Ottawa joined the striking faculty staff
at Algonquin College for a solidarity picket at noon on
The picket line of more than 120 faculty and their supporters came
at a time when striking college faculty were getting ready for a
government forced vote on an offer that had already been rejected. The
signs and spirit on the picket line clearly showed that they would not
be intimidated by any government threats and demanded that the College
Employer Council return to negotiations and work out a just
Minister Matthews' Schemes
Scheming: given to forming
schemes; especially: devious
On November 10, Ontario's Deputy Premier and
Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Deb Matthews
announced that the Wynne government is requiring that Ontario's
colleges establish a dedicated fund with all the savings from the
faculty strike which will be controlled by the Ontario government. She
said that the
fund will be used to support students who have experienced financial
hardships as a result of the strike and that she will work
"immediately" to develop the parameters of the fund's use. "We need to
work out the details together and we will do it quickly," she said. To
show how she is "working together" she stated that she had "just
"student leadership" from the College Student Alliance and asked them
"for their advice and for feedback from their membership." "I'm looking
for the best ideas about how to make sure this reinvestment directly
benefits students who have faced hardship," she said.
How should this be viewed
by all those concerned?
There are a number of reasons why this move by the
government should not be viewed as positive or as a "band-aid"
solution, or a response to demands from students or faculty. There are
other significant aspects which should be considered.
If a government was truly concerned about its citizens
and in this case its college students it would be a principle that it
intervene when such disputes arise to affirm the rights of the most
vulnerable in particular and the rights of all in general.
First of all, the demand for a refund by students for
user fees they have paid is just. The cost of education has been
shifted more and more to individuals who are left by the government to
fend for themselves. To have students fork over money without gaining
the proper education to which they are entitled cannot be accepted.
government claims that it is going to use the fund to assist students
in hardship. These are weasel words. All students are in hardship in
Ontario as they and their families are being forced to pay for
education which is their right. That some students and their families
have more or less to allocate towards education is not relevant. A
be a refund, period.
However, what about the faculty who have been placed in
hardship as a result of the underfunding of college education by
government which has precipitated this strike? The part-time and
sessional contract faculty in particular are in a very vulnerable
position as a result of their insecure working conditions and this is
more so now as they are
without a union and laid off. It is for them in many respects that
full-time and partial-load faculty are waging this strike. That the
government does not seem to care about these vulnerable workers shows
that this is not about concern for citizens or any humanitarian
Governments have a duty to look out for the most
vulnerable at all times and under all circumstances. In the case of
Ontario pensioners of U.S. Steel who had their health benefits
arbitrarily frozen and cut by U.S. Steel and sanctioned by the federal
court under the authority of the Companies' Creditors Adjustment
Act (CCAA) the
government did not intervene to establish a fund to secure the hundreds
of millions in revenue U.S. Steel had made as a result of steelworkers'
work, while they claimed poverty to deny retirees their benefits,
plunging them into insecurity. The theft of health benefits from the
older generation who require them to live is surely a cause worth
intervening for. Why the double standard? While the government feigns
concern for students to the point of intervening, the grandparents of
those students are given the shaft. Clearly this is not then about
concern for students or citizens in general but something else.
What Is This About?
A central demand of the college faculty and students
has been that government invest in education. The reduction of
investments in post-secondary education or their diversion into the
privatization of education is a main reason why the college faculty
have been forced to go on strike to bring into being new arrangements
to block the rampant
abuse of part-time and partial-load faculty and contribute to stability
for faculty and thus their students.
Instead of seriously addressing the
investments and a stop to privatization, the government is now
establishing a pool of funds taken from existing budget allocations
dedicated to faculty and staff salaries and giving itself and
representatives of one of the two associations that represent college
students the role of trust fund
consultants to dole out this money as they see fit. The government is
not "consulting" the Canadian Federation of Students which has from the
outset put its support behind striking faculty and linked this to the
call for increased funding for colleges. This shows that one aim of
this affair is to try and divide students based on their local student
association's affiliation at the provincial level so as to paint one
association as being legitimate and deserving of a seat at the table
and the other as illegitimate or not "neutral." Such a stand is a cheap
divide support for the striking faculty and divert from the demand
investments. It is a common method of the ruling elite to use existing
divisions amongst the working people by currying favour with one group
while isolating others, all to undermine any united political movement
The government is also trying to position itself for a
possible No vote by the faculty by presenting itself as the defender of
students when the truth of the matter is that it is the faculty who are
defending students by affirming their own rights. The Liberals will no
doubt try and use their links with representatives of one student
deciding what to do with the millions of dollars in this fund as a way
to pressure them in various ways to attack faculty, call for
back-to-work measures or other nefarious schemes, all in the name of
"putting students first."
tried and failed to do this in the K-12 sector as high school
province-wide staged walk-outs in support of their teachers and other
education workers in 2012, something that greatly assisted in
forcing the government to back down on its attack on the rights of all
following the passage of Bill 115, the Putting Students
Another important matter is that the government appears
to be encroaching on the authority of the colleges in terms of how they
use funds they receive from the provincial government. Although it may
be presented as a one-time measure or response to the strike, the
government's requirement that the colleges establish a fund using
saved during the strike to be used as the government decides is part of
an overall trend of the province taking more and more control over how
public funds are to be used at the local level in order to directly
serve private interests. For example, the provincial government has
used "mandate agreements" in the university sector to give itself a
role in restructuring universities and the important research and
training they do. These agreements are used to funnel public funds
directly to projects designated by the Ontario government and the
financial interests that control it, rather than having these funds
come under the control of the universities' boards of governors or
Senate. By forcing each
university to get their "mandate" approved by the provincial government
in order to obtain special funds, the government has sought to usurp
other decision-making authorities that may be in conflict with what the
ruling party wants.
In the K-12 sector the Ontario government has also
sought to define how funds allocated to local school boards are spent.
This prevents school boards from robbing Peter to pay Paul in a manner
the province doesn't like to make up for government funding cuts, and
instead forces them to rob Peter to pay Paul in a manner the province
such as through increased use of online education and different forms
of technology rather than other measures to make up for such cuts.
By using their arbitrary
power to take control of local college budgets the Ontario government
is likely seeking to entrench its authority over local boards which are
supposed to serve local needs. This is not a favourable matter for
Discussion of what lies behind these moves is important
as college faculty and students deliberate in advance of the results of
the vote. In the opinion of Workers' Forum the most important
thing to consider is that security lies in the fight for the rights of
all and the consciousness and organization of the working people to
rights of all under all circumstances. Security does not come from
strengthening the arbitrary powers of government to decide what happens
whether it be in the name of "fairness," "equity" or anything else.
1. On October 16, the
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario released a statement
which said: "Throughout the province, students and their teachers have
been feeling the lasting effects of chronic underfunding from the
successive Ontario governments. Large class-sizes, lack of job security
for professors and instructors,
rising tuition fees and degradation of campus facilities are all the
byproducts of decades of funding cuts and fee increases."
2. The College Student Alliance on
its website claims that it is "the only college student-focused
advocacy group in Ontario," and that it is "putting continuous public
pressure on OPSEU and CEC [College Employer Council] to make a deal
while also sharing updates with students through our online resources."
The Ontario Government, the College Employer Council
and the Ontario Labour Relations Board -- Three Sides of the Same Coin
Faculty at Georgian College in Barrie rally for "No" vote, November 13,
One thing that is being revealed during the course of
the job action taken by Ontario college faculty is that the Ontario
Government, the College Employer Council (CEC) and the Ontario Labour
Relations Board (OLRB) are acting together in an attempt to impose a
solution to the current conflict that denies the rights of all and
Ontario community college system in the service of the rich and the
An illusion had been created in the mind of many that
each of the three act independently and fulfill a specific role. This
is not true. The three act in a concerted way to undermine the struggle
for rights of all. The Ontario government appoints the members of both
the CEC and the OLRB. Salary, benefits and working conditions for the
appointees are lucrative. Spoken or unspoken, the continuation of the
employment of the appointees depends on their decisions and actions
being in accordance with government policies and the interests of the
One game that the Ontario
government and the CEC play is in the funding of the college system.
The Ontario government funds Ontario colleges at only 60 per cent of
the Canadian average while the CEC claims that college budgets cannot
pay for a college system that ends precarious work and recognizes the
rights of all. Instead of demanding that the Ontario government fund
Ontario colleges at the Canadian level, the CEC ignores the fact that
the Ontario government funds Ontario colleges at a rate of a billion
dollars per year below the Canadian standard. Instead, the CEC
ridicules faculty's demands as exorbitant and hence unreasonable, even
though meeting them will only cost a fraction of the amount by which
the colleges are actually underfunded. A few days ago, the Ontario
government issued a directive to Ontario colleges to commit those funds
saved as a result of the faculty strike to student bursaries. If the
Ontario government can intervene to order colleges to divert unspent
monies to students, why can't the Ontario government intervene to force
the CEC to negotiate a collective agreement that provides a framework
for resolving the current crisis in the college system? The answer is:
it could. However, ending precarious work is not in the interests of
the monopolies who reap inflated profits when precarious work prevails.
It is also not in the interests of the government which is crafting the
language of Bill 148, which is touted as ending precarious work, to
enable unscrupulous employers such as the CEC, to force a collective
agreement on workers which negates the rights that Bill 148 is supposed
When faculty engaged in their first job action
in 1984, and persevered for 24 days, the Ontario
government used its power to legislate faculty back to work. It
threatened back-to-work legislation in 1989 and 2006. This
time, the Liberal government seems reluctant to pass back-to-work
repeatedly that workplace disputes are best resolved by collective
bargaining. This is all part of the dance of the three to impose a
solution in the service of the rich and the monopolies. However,
back-to-work legislation remains a real possibility if the CEC
continues to stonewall. In 1984, back-to-work legislation resulted
in the Skolnik
Report that gave faculty the workload formula. This does not mean that
a similar settlement in 2017 will result in major gains in the
defence of the rights of all, especially if the solution is delayed
until after the next provincial election in June. The fact remains,
when the Ontario government, the CEC and the OLRB cannot exercise their
by persuasion, they attempt to exercise their will by force. When
faculty are not convinced to give up their struggles, back-to-work
legislation, with its threat of large fines and jail time, is a hammer
used to attempt to suppress the struggle for rights.
The OLRB is supposedly a neutral arbiter in the
struggle between Ontario workers and capital. Nothing is further from
the truth. The rulings and actions of the OLRB invariably serve the
interests of the government and the largest monopolies. College faculty
saw this very clearly in 2007-2008. The Liberal government of
McGuinty declared a few days before the beginning of the 2007
election campaign that the Liberals would introduce amendments to the Colleges
Act (CCBA) that would recognize the right of freedom
of association of part-time, sessional and other contract employees and
their right to join a union of their choice. This
took the issue of the rights of these employees out of the election
campaign. After the re-election of the McGuinty Liberals, the
government created the Whittaker Commission in 2008 to advise the
government on changes to the CCBA.
Whittaker concurred with the recommendations of the CEC to "modernize"
the CCBA, including the provision that the CEC is currently using to
impose a forced vote on faculty. The McGuinty government accepted
Whittaker's recommendations. The demands of the CEC were given a
guarantee but not the rights of contract college employees. Although,
signed union cards were quickly obtained, the CEC and its law
company, Morley-Hicks, staged a charade whereby they challenged the
voters' list. The OLRB collaborated by only hearing challenges to ten
employees per month, a process that would have delayed the counting of
the ballots for over ten years. OPSEU was forced to withdraw the
application after several years and launch a new organizing drive;
the results of which are now before the OLRB for certification. The
truth is that the OLRB has collaborated with the CEC at every step of
the way to keep contract college employees from exercising their rights.
The OLRB also collaborated
with the CEC in the current dispute to impose electronic voting
over 49 hours in the forced vote process. This was the proposal of
the CEC which was opposed by the union. The OLRB concurred with the
CEC. Normally, the voting process is in person, with paper ballots,
over eight hours, with certain
provisions for mail-in ballots for those in class or off campus. In the
new procedure, voting is done over 49 hours, by computer, on the
college computer system.
Faculty are learning from their experience. The Ontario
government, the College Employer Council and the Ontario Labour
Relations Board are three heads of the same hydra that serves the rich
and the monopolies and not the youth, college faculty and the people of
Ontario. Illusions that they
from each other and act in the public interest are disappearing. That
the Ontario government, the College
Employer Council and the Ontario Labour Relations Board are recognized
by faculty to all be in the service of the rich and the monopolies and
acting as one, each with their own role, and that no illusions should
be held on this issue, is a major achievement for faculty and their
struggle for the rights of all.
Stelco Results for Third Quarter 2017
Stelco Brags of Being "Low Cost"
The third quarter results begin with the assertion that
Stelco Holdings Inc. is "low cost." The word "low" implies a comparison
with high. Given that most prices for material inputs in steelmaking
are similar, what does this "low cost" mean? It can only mean that the
price of the human capacity to work is lower at Stelco than the price
competitors pay, except of course at certain brutal employers such as
the German imperialists MANA in Hamilton and others in "right to work"
former slave states in the United States. Aside from these exceptions,
the price the owners pay for individual reproduced-value, which are
direct wages and benefits, are fairly similar in steel plants
throughout the U.S. and Canada. This means that individual
reproduced-value at Stelco is neither significantly higher nor lower.
Then what must this "low cost" mean? First
consideration must be as to why the human input, the capacity to work,
is viewed as a cost. Humans are working and producing steel. They are
not machines or scrap steel. Presumably the humans work for their own
benefit, their economy, community and society. Their input produces new
which gives life to them and society. Some of the new value they
produce goes towards their claim for reproduced-value to sustain
themselves throughout their lives. The rest of the new value is claimed
by others. How can a certain portion of the new value workers produce
be considered a cost while the rest of the new value is not considered
The others who claim the
rest of the new value workers produce after workers have claimed their
reproduced-value declare that the workers' claim is a cost to them, the
others," because it lowers their claim but in reality the workers'
claim costs them nothing as workers produce the entire new value on
which all claims are made.
Alan Kestenbaum, Stelco Executive Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer says in the third quarter press release that the "low
cost" arises from Stelco having addressed its "legacy issues" while
under bankruptcy protection of the Companies' Creditors Arrangement
Act (CCAA). These "legacy issues" are mostly claims of retired or
soon to be retired Stelco workers on the value active workers produce.
Those claims arise from the original contracted deal for the sale of
their capacity to work. The "legacy issues" also include claims for
environmental remediation of historical Stelco lands. The human "legacy
issues" are claims for pensions and other post-employment benefits that
were taken off the Stelco balance sheet using the police powers of the
CCAA, a form of legalized theft of what belongs to workers by right.
This allows Kestenbaum to brag that Stelco now has "a strong balance
sheet," and in addition, by having sold shares in Stelco for over $230
million, Stelco "is poised to grow organically ... through disciplined
acquisitions. If the right opportunities present themselves, we will be
poised to act.... We look forward to creating value to the benefit of
our valued customers, employees and shareholders."
Kestenbaum acquired Stelco out of CCAA bankruptcy
protection for next to nothing and aside from a continuing claim on a
portion of the new value workers produce, he has sold shares
for $230 million that he can use to "grow" his empire. The royal
"We" he uses refers in fact not to him but to the workers who create
the value, which
is then claimed by the "employees and shareholders." As owner and man
in control, Kestenbaum considers the claim of employees on the value
they produce as a cost to him and his shareholders because it reduces
their claim on new value, the added-value, the profit.
But what gives Kestenbaum the right to declare his
employees who produce the value, as being a cost to him and his
shareholders? Are they slaves? Workers who produce the new value could
just as easily say those who claim a portion of new value as
added-value are a cost to workers because without their claim for
added-value the workers
could claim the entire new value they produce as their own and
distribute it as they wish.
The assertion of being "low cost" and viewing the
claims of workers as a cost stem from the present relations of
production, how workers and those in control of their workplaces relate
to each other. The steelworkers who produce the steel and its new value
are not in control of those relations of production or their
workplaces. They are in a
subservient and dominated position within the relationship. Others who
own and control the steel complex are in control and they arrange the
financial results of production and sales according to their thinking
and social being as owners in control. They own and control the steel
facility and organize the workers to work and produce new value for
those in control. The prevailing relations of production dictate that
their right of ownership and control of the steel facility means that
they buy workers' capacity to work from a labour market. Those in
control then use that capacity to work to produce new value, which they
own and control. They relate to their employees as owners to purchased
human beings while at work in the manner of owners to slaves, except
that the ownership of their workers extends only to their capacity to
work. This relation of production is one of control by humans over
other humans, the right of owners of the workplace to control workers
and the new value workers produce.
The relations of production dictate that any portion of
the new value workers produce that is deducted before owners can make
their claim must be considered a cost against the portion owners claim.
Their thinking as social beings in control of the steel mill is that of
those in a commanding dictatorial relationship with the workers from
they buy their capacity to work. The relationship dictates in their
thinking that the claim of workers for reproduced-value is a cost to
those in control and ownership because it reduces the added-value the
owners can claim from the new value workers produce. Their social being
in control of the working class determines their thinking and
The contradiction between
reproduced-value and added-value is a fundamental aspect of the
contradiction between the working class and those who own and control
the workplaces and parts of the economy. The contradiction within the
relations of production arises from the contradiction between the
social interconnected nature of the modern
economy and the private ownership and control of competing parts of
that socialized economy. To resolve these contradictions and allow for
the workers to claim the entire new value they produce and then
distribute it according to their own agenda and aim for the economy
requires a radical change in the relations of production and new
for the economy. It requires new relations of production where those
who work are in control not only of their workplaces but the entire
value they produce.
To read the Stelco press release on its third quarter
results click here.
Nova Scotia Classroom Council Sets Its
Sights on Absenteeism
Oppose the McNeil Liberals' Criminalization of Youth!
The McNeil Liberals are up to it again, turning reality
onto its head and trying to blame the youth for all the problems in the
schools. McNeil's proxy for determining the working conditions of
teachers, the Nova Scotia Classroom Council, announced it will be
spending $1.9 million to hire "attendance support
workers," 14 of
them to be exact, to address the problem of absenteeism in schools
across Nova Scotia. According to them more than 29,000 students
miss more than 16 days of school per year.
Feigning interest in making real substantive change to
the oft described deplorable working and learning conditions in the
schools, the McNeil Liberals introduce a measure that uses a
criminalizing element to impose their dictate instead of dealing with
the problems with real solutions.
As if teachers, support workers and others in the
education field did not explain in length the needs of the education
system during law amendment hearings, demonstrations and in opposition
to Bill 75 -- the Teachers'
Professional Agreement and Classroom
Improvements (2017) Act imposed on Nova Scotia teachers in
the McNeil Liberals continue to try to dictate to teachers and
students. In this case, they are also setting out to criminalize the
youth. A council member said, "They do have a budget for transportation
to move around to find the students where they are, and they will have
the responsibility to find those students where they are." This
"crackdown" on student absenteeism is the worst kind of duplicity and
should be denounced as such.
Not only does it not address the real problems facing
the youth, it criminalizes them and exposes them to needless harassment
creating the conditions for further problems in the schools and for
teachers to deal with as well. We don't need a crackdown on anything
save for a Liberal government that insists on dictating the working
teachers and public sector workers. With all the problems at schools
and the social problems outside is it any wonder why so many youth
don't go? This is a social problem and needs a social solution not
two-bit criminalization of our youth for what is clearly a sign that
do not see a future for themselves.
This is a shameful act of a government that refuses to
put the needs of the people in the first place, that dictates the
working and learning conditions of students which is clearly creating a
low-level and intolerable environment where youth would rather not be.
Teachers and others in the education system need to reaffirm their
right to make the
decisions in their workplace and continue to oppose the dictate of the
McNeil government which is now criminalizing the youth with the thinly
veiled purpose of getting them to go to school.
More and more as governments across Canada more and
more turn to
police powers to impose their dictate we need to double down on our
efforts to fight for a pro-social direction including a bright future
for our youth starting with guaranteeing their basic rights to food,
shelter and clothing something the McNeil government has not even been
able to do.
Shame on the McNeil Liberals for
Criminalizing the Youth!
Students Must Decide Their Working and Learning Conditions Together!
Oppose Bill 148: the Anti-Worker Dictate of the McNeil Liberals!
Food and Service Workers Fight for Their
BC University Workers Stand Up to Global
Food Service Monopoly
Food service workers at the University of Northern BC
in Prince George, members of UNITE Local 40, organized a rally on
November 8, to protest their low wages, restricted benefits and
unsatisfactory working conditions. The workers reject with contempt
their employer Chartwells' wage increase of 20 cents an hour.
Workers at UNBC with 15 years seniority presently receive as
little as $14 an hour in payment for their capacity to work often
within precarious work schedules. UNBC contracts out food services to
Chartwells, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Compass Group PLC, a British
imperialist monopoly with billions of dollars of gross income
and net company profit.
About 100 people attended the vigorous rally held
outdoors in the courtyard of the university. A number of students came
out to support the workers, as did members from the Faculty Association
of UNBC, CUPE, Prince George District Teachers' Association, Stand Up
for the North Committee, a UNITE HERE! Local 40
member from Simon Fraser University, and others from the community. The
workers chanted, "20 cents won't pay the rent" and other slogans as
they marched with picket signs around the courtyard.
During the course of the rally several people spoke,
including students, faculty and other union members. One student noted
that food service staff work extremely hard, calling the 20 cents
an hour offer from Compass "insulting."
At the conclusion of the rally, the UNITE HERE!
Local 40 organizer, Harley Augustino announced that more actions
would be forthcoming, including a petition to be circulated amongst
1. The British monopoly Compass Group PLC is the largest
contract foodservice company in the world with operations in
over 50 countries buying the capacity to work of 500,000
workers. It has contracts for foodservice, cleaning, property
management and support services worldwide. In 2016, Compass
reported a global gross income of $33 billion and company profit
of $1.7 billion.
Compass holds large contracts for food and other
services with governments and their agencies throughout the imperialist
system of states. Of particular importance to Compass are contracts
with various militaries, prisons, schools, health care facilities and
a United Nations registered food vendor with contracts to supply UN
most areas where U.S. imperialism has waged wars for regime change or
has caused significant civil unrest and destruction.
Food Terminal Workers in Ontario Strike for Better
Wages and Working Conditions
Some 25 workers organized in Teamsters
Local 419 have been on strike at the Ontario Food Terminal in
Toronto since November 7 for a first contract. They are warehouse
workers for a food distribution company called Ippolito Produce, one of
the terminal's tenants. A solidarity picket was organized at the
November 13, the date that their negotiations were set to begin
with their employer.
The workers are on strike
for increased job security, fair wages and scheduling, paid sick leave,
and better treatment by management. They state, "Our boss demands that
we speed up our work, and does not give us enough time to finish tasks.
He threatens to punish people for not finishing these tasks on time. We
work with a lot of big
machines, and it is dangerous for us to be going too fast. We are
worried this is unsafe." They point out that they are constantly told
that there are lots of people outside looking for work and that the
company could fire them easily with impunity. The workers also point
out they are often sent home without notice if there is a slow day. The
workers work a six-hour day. They would like to have regular,
predictable hours so that they can plan their lives with their families
accordingly and be paid overtime when they work on Sundays.
The strikers point out: "We made the decision to form a
union this summer and are now negotiating our first contract. We have
had a lot of support from other workers at the Food Terminal. About
half of the companies at the Food Terminal are unionized now." They
point to the example of the workers from Fresh Taste, another food
warehouser, who organized a successful strike last year and won a wage
increase -- their first in 14 years.
At the solidarity picket Jamyang Yeshi, a member of the
union bargaining committee, stated that the striking workers will
continue their struggle till they get a just contract and thanked
everyone for their support.
The workers are calling on other unions and workers to
support their just struggle by emailing or calling Joel Ippolito, the
owner of the company, to urge him to settle with the workers. He can be
emailed at email@example.com or by phone (905) 631-7700.
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