November 1, 2021 - No. 102

Defend Public Interest by Upholding Workers' Rights!

Stop Anti-Social Assault on Locked Out New Brunswick Education Workers!

CUPE NB mobile office travels to Miramichi, October 30, 2021

Opposition to Pay-the-Rich Schemes
Injured Workers Hold Halloween Lobby Actions
• Hilton Metrotown Workers’ “Come Back Stronger” Day of Action

Defend Public Interest by Upholding Workers' Rights!

Stop Anti-Social Assault on Locked Out New Brunswick Education Workers!

On October 31, the New Brunswick government locked out some 3,000 striking education workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE NB). Approximately 20,000 workers who are members of the union are currently on strike for wages they deem acceptable and essential to solving the problem of retaining and attracting workers in public services.

In its October 31 press release, CUPE NB wrote:

"The Government of New Brunswick has locked out the education workers of CUPE 2745 and CUPE 1253. At 11:20 am, the Ministry of Education gave notice to CUPE that, effective immediately, the government will lock out school bus drivers, custodians, janitors, educational assistants, student intervention workers, student attendants, speech therapy assistants, school administrative assistants and clerks, district administrative support and library workers. Workers in positions designated are being placed on leave without pay. This is clearly a move by the government to try to divide CUPE and create chaos. Premier Higgs can choose to end job action by paying public sector workers the fair wages we deserve. Instead, the Premier and Minister Cardy have chosen to lock out education workers and prolong the withdrawal of services. Our union is stronger, and a fair deal is more likely when we are united. The government is choosing to dig in and we now expect they are planning more divisive actions to come. CUPE members will remain united and in solidarity across sectors and classifications in this fight."

Even though the union had reached essential services agreements to maintain services in all affected sectors, the government has closed schools until the strike is over and imposed home-based online learning. Education workers designated as essential have been placed on unpaid leave. Since the strike began, the government has issued daily press releases, blaming workers for creating instability amongst the population and negatively impacting the delivery of health services and the pandemic response. It continues to claim that the workers' strike actions are unpredictable, even though the workers gave the government 100 days' notice before going on strike.

The lockout of 3,000 education workers is yet another abuse of power and refusal to sort out problems in a peaceful manner that respects hardworking people with families without whom the schools do not function. For the government to resort to online learning for students is also unacceptable. It suggests that schools are no longer needed for children. It disrupts parents lives as if parents too are disposable. It is an unconscionable abuse of government power. This abuse of power is doubly wrong as it comes after the lack of social contact between children as a result of the pandemic and the harm that has caused young people. The cause of the education workers is just and the government's action of locking them out and resorting to online learning is immoral. The government deserves to be truly condemned for this abuse of power. 

Workers' Forum calls on the people of New Brunswick to let the government know they condemn this anti-social assault on all the people of New Brunswick. 

(Photos: CUPE NB, B. Watson)

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Opposition to Pay-the-Rich Schemes

Injured Workers Hold Halloween Lobby Actions


Injured workers and their allies held some 50 actions on October 29 across Ontario at the offices of members of the provincial legislature (MPPs). They left signs on their doors and copies of a letter from the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG). The actions highlighted that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board's (WSIB) so-called surplus of funds came from cuts to the benefits of injured workers mandated by successive governments. They demanded the funds be used to restore these benefits to the workers who need them very badly, not to rebate employers. On the eve of Halloween, injured workers do not need more trickery but justice, organizers said.

Photos show activists at the offices of MPPs from Thunder Bay and Sudbury, to Hamilton, Niagara, Mississauga, and Toronto, and Peterborough, among others.

Justice for Injured Workers!

The government's corruption is very obvious when it gives what it calls a surplus to employers when the entire so-called unfunded liability that was used as the justification to slash injured workers’ benefits was an accounting fraud in the first place. Despite being powerless within their parties and within the Legislature and government, MPPs should have to answer for what is going on. They should take responsibility for their presence in the Legislature and answer for legislation which is passed. It will not do to keep blaming rival cartel parties and pretending they would do things differently. These pay-the-rich schemes are dictated by the rich and it is high time MPPs stopped permitting them by remaining silent.

Thunder Bay--Superior North

Thunder Bay--Atikokan



Beaches--East York; Scarborough Southwest

Toronto University; Toronto--Danforth

Mississauga Centre; Mississauga Erin Mills

Hamilton area riding of Flamborough-Glanbrook

Hamilton West--Ancaster--Dundas

Hamilton Mountain

Niagara West; St. Catharines

(Photos: ONIWG, P. Stacho, R. Siddiqui)

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Hilton Metrotown Workers’ “Come Back Stronger”
Day of Action

On October 28, members of Unite Here! Local 40 organized a picket action as part of a continent-wide "Come Back Stronger" day of action. The “Come Back Stronger” actions were organized by the union to defend jobs and working conditions in the hospitality industry that are under attack by the conglomerate owners of hotels, who are using the excuse of the pandemic to fire workers and to attempt to reduce wages and eliminate hard won working conditions.

Undaunted by the cold rainy day, the Hilton Metrotown workers erected tents at the main entrance of the hotel, and then marched back and forth while the drums beat time. The main slogan for this action was "Housekeeping every day!"; "Hotel rooms need to be cleaned every day!"

A union organizer explained to Workers' Forum that hotel management in hotels all over are trying to cut down on the amount of cleaning they do in each room, and thus cut down on the number of employees: for example the clerk at the desk of a hotel may be required to ask an incoming guest if they want to be disturbed by having someone come in to clean. Having had it put that way, many a guest agrees not to have the cleaning done. This is not only a matter of saving jobs — and many of those workers have been there for 22 years, he said, but it is also a matter of maintaining proper standards of cleanliness and public safety.

A statement by the union on Facebook, in announcing the October 28 action, said

"During the pandemic, DSDL [the offshore corporation that owns the Hilton Metrotown hotel in Burnaby] locked out Hilton Metrotown workers in April after terminating 97 workers this spring. Many of those fired were women who had worked at the hotel for years. The BC Federation of Labour issued a boycott of the hotel, and we held a sit-in protest this past August. What Hilton Metrotown is doing to its workers isn't a single incident. Hotels are using the pandemic to get rid of their long-term workforce, many of them women." The union statement continues, "But the industry is making a comeback and workers need their jobs back. Bosses may use the pandemic to try to cut services & jobs but the union will come back stronger! It's time to come back stronger and say NO more unequal women in the hotel industry!"

(Photos: WF, Unite Here 40)

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