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News Release

Transportation Safety Board recommendations miss the mark

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Toronto—The union representing 45,000 transportation workers in Canada says that the federal Transportation Safety Board (TSB) recommendations released today are weak and will not adequately protect the public from future accidents. The TSB’s Railway Investigation Report reviewed the Lac Mégantic rail disaster and was to provide guidelines to prevent future loss of life.

“We’re very disappointed with the recommendations in the TSB report,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, “Public safety has to be the top priority for rail transport reform. The Board wasted an important opportunity to make our rail system safer.” Unifor supports a public inquiry into what went wrong at Lac Mégantic and how it can be prevented in the future.

According to Dias, the union believes the key recommendations of the report—audits and physical mechanisms—put too much emphasis on existing measures that are not effective or enforced. Instead, the union recommended increasing the regularity of full safety and maintenance inspections and closing loopholes that allow companies to seek exemptions to safety rules.

“People die when governments shirk their responsibility to monitor the movement of dangerous cargo. This is not an area where we can afford to cut corners,” said Dias. “The bottom line is that our rail safety system needs better enforcement of the rules, and that means more trained professionals on the job.”

There have been 10 reported runaways since the Lac Megantic disaster.

Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector.

For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) orIan.Boyko@unifor.org


 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 

Unifor Nation President Jerry Dias Addresses the 2014 Women's Conference


 
 
 


 
 

OTTAWA ― The president of the Canadian Labour Congress has renewed his call for a national jobs strategy, following the latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada that show nearly 60,000 full-time jobs were lost in July, only to be replaced with 60,000 part-time jobs.

“The jobs market is stuck. It needs help to get back on the road to economic recovery. But our governments continue to let the tires spin and tell us we're not stuck as deeply as the Americans. They do nothing, as more workers give up hope,” says Hassan Yussuff.

“It's particularly unfair to young Canadians who can't find the full-time work they need to get their lives started and build for the future – Canada's future. The longer we wait while governments refuse to act, the longer Canada spins its wheels without leadership and a clear plan to get out of the mud and back on the road, the further we let the next generation fall behind,” says Yussuff.

Quick Analysis from CLC Senior Economist Sylvain Schetagne

Despite claims of action as part of a “plan,” little has been done to stimulate the labour market in recent months and the latest data from Statistics Canada confirm that the labour market is flat, and more precarious.

If Statistics Canada had included their estimate of labour under-utilization in Canada – people who have stopped looking for work because they've given up or because they've had to take whatever work they could find – Canada's real under-employment rate would be at least double the official rate published by the Government of Canada.

In July 2014, no jobs were created. 59,700 workers lost their full time jobs, replaced by 60,000 part time jobs. All of the jobs created over the last 12 months were part-time and the unemployment rate has barely moved. Meanwhile, 35,400 Canadians left the labour market last month, including 14,000 workers aged between 25 and 54 years old, mainly discouraged by the weakness of the job market. Since there were fewer workers looking for a job, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.0% in July, from 7.1% in June.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.3 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada’s national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 111 district labour councils

Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Follow us on Twitter @CanadianLabour

Contact:   Jeff Atkinson, CLC Communications: Tel. 613-526-7425

Cell-text: 613-863-1413. Email: jatkinson@clc-cc.ca

 
 
 


 

 
 
 



 
 
 
 


 
 

CRTC Ruling Upholds Rogers' Responsibilities to Multilingual Programming Says Union

 

2014-08-01

A Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruling rebuffed Rogers Broadcasting Limited's request for sweeping regulatory relief for its OMNI ethnic television chain in spite of recent financial losses at those five stations.

In the same decision, the CRTC will require Rogers to enhance its commitments to original local programming broadcast from its national chain of City stations.

"Multiculturalism is part of what makes Canada great, and we fought to keep ethnic and third language services alive in Rogers' licence," said Unifor Media Sector Director Howard Law. "Rogers Communications is a very profitable corporation and can easily afford to maintain the current level of programming at OMNI, diminished as it is."

Rogers applied for a renewal of their City and OMNI licences in the fall of 2013 with a proposal to reduce commitments to ethnic and Canadian programming, particularly during the prime time evening period. Unifor testified before the Commission in April 2014, arguing that Rogers' claims about revenue problems at the OMNI stations were over-reaching and under-documented.

"This ruling is a victory for growing newcomer communities who rely on this programming," said Law. "We are very pleased the Commission stood firm. But we feel strongly that Rogers can do even better for ethnic and local programming in the future."

 
 
 
 
 


 

TORONTO, July 23, 2014 /CNW/ - Unifor will be keeping a close eye on the BCE's plan to buy up the shares in Bell Aliant that it does not already own.

"We will be vigilant in maintaining our members' rights as this process plays out in the coming months," Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

Unifor represents technicians, clerical and other workers at both Bell Aliant and BCE, which today announced a $3.95-billion plan to privatize Bell Aliant. Dias was notified of the move this morning.

Unifor will meet with BCE and Bell Aliant officials as soon as possible to discuss the impact of the move on Unifor members at the two companies. Today's announcement makes no specific mention of job cuts, beyond eliminating what it calls redundant costs.

"We will be discussing just what the employer means by redundant - and any other impacts this will have on workers at the two companies," Dias said.

Dias stressed that collective agreements will not be affected by the privatization, saying the contracts remain fully in effect and that Unifor will represent its members interests to the fullest, while working to ensure that service to the public is not hurt.

"Our members are committed to providing top-notch service to the public, and we will work to ensure that continues," Dias said.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, including more than 27,000 in telecommunications. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.

SOURCE Unifor

For further information:

please contact Unifor Communications National Representative Stuart Laidlaw at Stuart.Laidlaw@Unifor.org or (cell) 647-385-4054


 
 
 


 
 
 
2014-07-02

The stage is set for regulatory hearings that could reshape the way Canadians watch and pay for television.

In its public proceedings and scheduled Let’s Talk TV proceedings, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has opened up industry policy and regulator activity for discussion, debate and revision.

CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais says major changes should be expected as a result; the regulator will hold hearings in early September; its decisions on the future of TV in Canada are expected in early 2015.

The CRTC has fuelled discussion on various aspects of the future of TV broadcasting, with much of the focus on the so-called ‘pick-and-pay model’ for cable television, as well as the future of local television and who should pay for it.

Along with members of the public and industry lobby groups, Canada’s biggest media companies have now responded, and they have come up with competing programs to enhance consumer choice and support local programming.

Some industry observers say the pick-and-pay concept could increase the price of individual channels, driving consumers to buy specialty channel packages anyway.

Bell says it supports pick-and-pay and believes Canadians "shouldn't have to pay for channels they don't want just to get the channels they do. In addition to the extensive range of TV packaging options we make available, we seek to offer pick and pay as an option to consumers," said Wade Oosterman, President of Bell Residential Services.

Shaw Communications says it wanted the CRTC to ensure that consumers aren't forced to purchase certain high-cost services, like sports, as part of their basic cable packages. It has proposed a set of guidelines, called Market Guidelines to Maximize Customer Choice and Flexibility, to help consumers get the most out of their cable or satellite services.

Telus says it stands behind consumers having the option to choose which channels they want, but that for consumers to benefit "those choices must be reasonably priced."

Rogers says it is open to pick-and-pay options beyond that and suggests offering more than half its non-basic channels à la carte.

"Delivering more choice for customers depends on the CRTC banning unreasonable contracts that prevent TV providers from offering channels on a pick and pay basis," explained Ken Engelhart, senior vice-president, Regulatory, Rogers Communications. "The CRTC is taking a look at this barrier to choice and we're confident they'll do the right thing for consumers."

Rogers has previously trialed flexible packaging, in London, Ontario, offering nearly 1,000 customers channel bundles and an option to build their own packages.

Shaw's proposed guidelines support greater choice and flexibility, and come with provisions that ensure a majority of services are available on a pick-and-pay basis.

Shaw describes already offering more than 90 individual pick-and- pay channels available to Shaw Cable customers and more than 70 for Shaw Direct customers. Further, all Shaw Media specialty channels may also be offered by cable and satellite providers on a pick-and-pay-basis, reflecting Shaw's ongoing commitment to value and flexibility.

Among Shaw’s proposed guidelines – consumers would not be forced to purchase high-cost services, like sports, as part of their basic package.

Bell’s support for pick-and-pay options for television channels not included in basic packages comes with suggestions to ensure the long-term sustainability of local programming in a commercial marketplace that enables negotiations between broadcasters and distributors for any channel without carriage rights.

Bell proposes to convert local conventional TV stations into local specialty services, carried as part of basic packages, and subject to local programming requirements and be.  The locals would be able to charge wholesale rates to broadcast distributors, subject to existing CRTC must-carry regulations. The combined revenue from advertising and wholesale fees would support and sustain local programming, the company described.

However, Rogers has said it would not support the plan for the new expenses, which it says will be passed along to cable customers.

Bell, Rogers and Shaw are also calling for a reduction in or removal of requirements for airing Canadian content, pledging instead that they will focus production money on higher-quality Canadian shows.


 
 
 


 
 
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