Archive for the ‘Canada’ Category

Moving Forward With a Minority — Power to the Workers!

Canada’s unions are calling on all levels of government to provide adequate support for workers and their families as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic reverberate in communities throughout the nation. As the dust settles on an unnecessary and uncalled-for federal election, the message couldn’t be any clearer. Canadians have sent a concise message to get to work on the issues that matter. As we know, minority governments only last if they have the confidence of the House. This election demonstrated that Canadians want the government to work together.

During this election we asked our members to get involved in the Let’s Build Canada campaign. Your participation in the surveys and letter-writing campaigns enabled our issues to be heard and placed into the party platforms. Issues such as labour mobility tax credit, building green and a stronger workforce were our main focus. As the Canadian Building Trade Unions (CBTU), we were able to get commitments from the parties on issues that matter to our members during this election.

Due to your activism, the CBTU was able to get commitments from the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP on the workers’ mobility tax credit.

Over 70% of those in the skilled trades identified travelling for work as a common necessity. 75% said there isn’t always work available where they live, and shortages are common. 70% have taken a job outside of their region in the last five years. Due to your activism, the CBTU was able to get commitments from the Liberals, Conservatives and the NDP on the workers’ mobility tax credit. Now it is up to us to make sure that we get this legislation introduced, and by getting members involved we can push the issue over the finish line. The trade mobility tax credit will be beneficial to all members as they travel across their provinces and the country for work.

On the question of building Canada’s green future, two-thirds of respondents have given some thought to what that transition to a green economy means for them. They have some idea of what that will mean and whether they’ll need to be re-skilled. Retraining will be a key concern as job opportunities transition towards those in the green economy and renewables. 47% say that there have been a growing number of opportunities for the current skill sets in renewable green infrastructure and retrofitting industries. Concerns about the financial impact of the transition outweigh the concerns about retraining itself. 76% are concerned that jobs in the renewable green sector will not pay as well, whereas 71% are concerned about the cost they will have to incur regarding retraining. We must ensure that the government prioritizes a “just transition” for workers in affected industries as we move forward.

When it comes to building a stronger workforce, we must push for Employment Insurance (EI) reform and representation on federal EI working groups, boards and committees.

When it comes to building a stronger workforce, we must push for Employment Insurance (EI) reform and representation on federal EI working groups, boards and committees. 93% surveyed agreed that there should be a dedicated skills trade representative or advisor on the federal employment insurance working group when it comes to reforms. 92% agree that EI should have a greater flexibility, for example, removing age limits and being able to receive EI when retraining and upskilling and to permanently remove the clawback on separation monies. A majority demonstrated a desire for more government support on apprenticeships and a transition to a green economy, and 92% preferred to see more government support for oil and gas workers during the transition to a green economy. 84% would like Community Benefit Agreements (CBA’s) to increase the opportunities for unrepresented groups on federal infrastructure and projects.

So, as we move forward with this minority government, it is up to all of us to stay actively involved. We must continue to push this government and our elected representatives on the need to support our initiatives. To see progress, we need to continue these discussions and stay involved. By scanning the QR code on the previous page, you can stay involved and up to date on the issues that affect SMART members across Canada. Your say and vote matters! Workers are the recovery. Power to the Workers!!

In solidarity,

I remain, fraternally yours,

Chris Paswisty
Director of Canadian Affairs

T&I Chair DeFazio challenges proposed CN and KCS merger trust

Rep. DeFazio

WASHINGTON – Chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board (STB) opposing the approval of a trust for the proposed merger of the Canadian National (CN) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroads. In his letter, DeFazio stated that approving the trust is not in the public interest and would reduce competition.

“A single holding company responsible for this traffic would likely change rail traffic patterns in the significant areas of parallel service overlap and that would reduce the rail service options these 300 customers currently enjoy,” Chair DeFazio wrote in his letter. “I am also troubled that this combination of Class I railroads serving all three nations in North America will exacerbate U.S. job losses from cross-border trade agreements that prioritize profits over people and inflict harm on worker’s rights, consumer safety, and the environment.”

In April 2021, Chair DeFazio issued a statement after Canadian Pacific (CP) and CN each made separate multi-billion dollar offers to buy KCS, warning that the bidding war that ensued for the railroad threatened to usher in a new round of consolidations in the rail sector, ultimately threatening jobs and affecting shipping in the U.S.

DeFazio’s full letter to STB can be found below and here.

 


 

July 26, 2021

Ms. Cynthia Brown
Chief, Section of Administration
Office of Proceedings
Surface Transportation Board
395 E Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20423

Re: Finance Docket No. 36514, Canadian National Railway Company, et al. – Control – Kansas City  Southern Railway Company, et al.

Dear Ms. Brown:

I am writing to express opposition to the voting trust proposed by Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in its proposed merger with Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCS). I am concerned that this proposed trust is not in the public interest. The trust would reduce competition and prejudice the outcome of the Surface Transportation Board’s merger proceeding.

In its May 14, 2021, submission to this docket, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice explained how voting trusts reduce competition both in general for railroad mergers and in particular to the consideration of a voting trust for CN and KCS. In general, putting two formerly competitive businesses under a single holding company immediately reduces the parties’ incentives to engage in competition. While the Surface Transportation Board regularly allowed railroad trusts throughout the many railroad consolidations of the 1980s and 1990s, the board has made the requirements to approve a voting trust more stringent since 2001 as part of an overall reform of merger rules. Now, according to 49 CFR 1180.4(b)(4)(iv), applicants must demonstrate that trusts would be in the public interest. Approving a CN-KCS trust would signal to the rest of the rail industry that the STB is engaging in business as usual, despite the requirement to consider the public interest, and could launch a new round of mergers.

Specifically with regard to the potential for a CN-KCS trust, I am concerned that approximately 300 current customers overlap on the CN and KCS networks. A single holding company responsible for this traffic would likely change rail traffic patterns in the significant areas of parallel service overlap and that would reduce the rail service options these 300 customers currently enjoy. I am also troubled that this combination of Class I railroads serving all three nations in North America will exacerbate U.S. job losses from cross-border trade agreements that prioritize profits over people and inflict harm on worker’s rights, consumer safety, and the environment.

I trust that the Surface Transportation Board will look at the specific facts of this action and conclude that approving a trust is too much, too soon. Too much authority in one company to somehow keep two companies competing against each other that have significant service overlap and too soon because allowing the trust creates a new floor purchase price for any other potential competitive bidders for KCS railroad. 

Sincerely,
Peter A. DeFazio

Moving Forward Together

Brothers and sisters,

As lockdowns are lifted and pandemic restrictions are eased across Canada, we must continue to remain vigilant. With this in mind, Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) have joined together with the broader labour movement and businesses to launch “Faster Together,” a campaign to encourage Canadians to get vaccinated. The goal is to work together to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and help accelerate the recovery from this pandemic.

The recent discoveries of human remains at or near Indigenous residential schools for children in British Columbia and Saskatchewan have shaken the country. These horrific discoveries call out for a full reckoning with Canada’s colonial history.

We are closer to the end than we are to the beginning. The faster we get vaccinated, the faster we can get back together. As vaccines are distributed across the country, we will be encouraging our members to get whatever vaccine may be available in their areas. We all want to resume the gatherings we took for granted prior to the pandemic. The resumption of some semblance of normalcy cannot come too soon.

We need to move forward in other ways as well. The recent discoveries of human remains at or near Indigenous residential schools for children in British Columbia and Saskatchewan have shaken the country. These horrific discoveries call out for a full reckoning with Canada’s colonial history. The residential schools and the crimes that were committed there are a stain on our collective conscience.

We must come to terms with our past in an honest and compassionate way, and we must seek justice for those who have suffered. We must call on our federal, provincial and territorial governments to prioritize their commitment to truth and reconciliation for Indigenous peoples and to complete a full investigation into all Indigenous residential schools in Canada. Committing to reconciliation means confronting the atrocities of the past so that they are never allowed to happen again.

The CBTU has taken its own first steps down the path to reconciliation. As part of the CBTU’s “Building Together” program, Virtual Indigenous Training has been developed to help increase awareness of Indigenous peoples and their culture. Since its launch, hundreds of union leaders across the country have taken the training. SMART’s leadership is committed to promoting this training, as well as honouring the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports. We remain steadfast in our commitment to building a better Canada with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.

The truth about our nation’s history needs to be fully acknowledged and addressed. The time for action is now. We must move forward together!

If you or someone you know needs help, contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society for counselling support available at 1-800-721-0066, or the National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line available 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419.

In solidarity, I remain, fraternally yours,

Chris Paswisty
Director of Canadian Affairs

Statement by Canada’s Building Trades Unions on Canada Greener Homes Grant

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Today, Executive Director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, Sean Strickland, released the following statement on the Federal Government’s Announcement on the new Canada Greener Homes Grant:

“Canada’s Building Trades Unions appreciates the support of the Federal Government to invest in residential retrofits through the new Canada Greener Homes Grant. This is a positive step forward to create retrofit job opportunities in the residential sector. CBTU sees this as part of a continuum to build a retrofit economy, followed by further investments in retrofitting both the commercial and industrial sector. This will help Canada meet its climate goals and create opportunities for skilled trades workers in the residential sector to practice their craft, gain apprenticeship hours and open opportunities for those looking to get into the skilled trades.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Federal Government’s ongoing commitment to invest in our members and we look forward to continuing to work with government to invest in supporting and growing Canada’s skilled trades workforce.”

 

Déclaration des Syndicats des métiers de la construction du Canada sur la Subvention canadienne pour des maisons plus vertes

Aujourd’hui, le directeur exécutif des Syndicats des métiers de la construction du Canada, Sean Strickland, a publié la déclaration suivante au sujet de l’annonce du gouvernement fédéral sur la nouvelle subvention canadienne pour des maisons plus vertes:

“Les syndicats des métiers de la construction du Canada apprécient le soutien du gouvernement fédéral pour investir dans des rénovations résidentielles grâce à la nouvelle subvention canadienne pour les maisons plus vertes. Il s’agit d’un pas en avant positif pour créer des emplois de rénovation dans le secteur résidentiel. SMCC considère cela comme faisant partie d’un continuum pour bâtir une économie de rénovation, suivi par d’autres investissements dans la modernisation du secteur commercial et industriel. Cela aidera le Canada à atteindre ses objectifs climatiques et créera des occasions pour les ouvriers des métiers spécialisés du secteur résidentiel de pratiquer leur métier, d’acquérir des heures d’apprentissage et d’ouvrir des débouchés à ceux qui cherchent à accéder aux métiers spécialisés.

L’annonce d’aujourd’hui démontre l’engagement continu du gouvernement fédéral à investir dans nos membres et nous sommes impatients de continuer à travailler avec le gouvernement pour investir dans le soutien et la croissance de la main-d’œuvre des métiers spécialisés du Canada.”

 

Canadian Building Trades Unions Join ‘Faster Together’ Campaign to Encourage COVID Vaccinations

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Canada’s Building Trades Unions have joined with other labour organizations, businesses, industrial and education sectors to launch Faster Together, a campaign focused on encouraging Canadians to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Faster Together is a voluntary effort of a wide variety of people working together to promote COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and help speed a recovery from this pandemic. CBTU is proud to partner with Faster Together and advocate for skilled trades workers to get their vaccines so they can protect themselves and each other.

We encourage you to utilize the creative materials created by Faster Together – on your website, social media channels, in your newsletter or through emails to your members to help spread the word. You can find materials to use here.

We’re closer to the end of this, than the beginning. And the faster we all get vaccinated, the faster we can get back together.

Thank you for your support for this important initiative.

 

 

Les syndicats des métiers de la construction du Canada se sont joints à d’autres organisations syndicales, entreprises, secteurs industriels et de l’éducation pour lancer Plus Vite, Tous Ensemble, une campagne visant à encourager les Canadiens à se faire vacciner contre le COVID-19.

Plus Vite, Tous Ensemble est un effort volontaire d’une grande variété de personnes travaillant ensemble pour promouvoir l’acceptation du vaccin COVID-19 et aider à accélérer le rétablissement de cette pandémie. SMCC est fière de s’associer à Plus Vite, Tuos Ensemble et de plaider pour que les travailleurs des métiers qualifiés obtiennent leurs vaccins afin qu’ils puissent se protéger et se protéger les uns les autres.

Nous encourageons à utiliser le matériel créatif créé par Plus Vite, Tous Ensemble – sur votre site Web, les canaux de médias sociaux, dans votre newsletter ou par e-mail à vos membres pour aider à faire passer le mot ici.

Nous sommes plus près de la fin que du début. Et plus vite nous sommes tous vaccinés, plus vite nous pouvons nous remettre ensemble.

Merci pour votre soutien à cette importante initiative.