คา สิ โน ออนไลน์ poker

November 8, 2018

Nation-Wrecking in the Retail Sector

U.S. Lowe's Consolidates Its Empire


Nation-Wrecking in the Retail Sector
U.S. Lowe's Consolidates Its Empire
For Your Information

Reducing Fatigue Among Transportation Workers
Practical Actions Are Needed, Not Rhetoric

Precarious Faculty Jobs at Canadian Universities
Crisis in Relations of Production Extends to Intellectual Work

Northwest Territories
Public Service Workers Wage Determined Fight for Their Rights and Dignity

Serious Concerns About Automation of Mining Processes - André Racicot, President, United Steelworkers Local 9291, Abitibi, Quebec
Drivers of Concrete Mixer Trucks Demand Increased Safety for Themselves
and the Public

Rotating Strikes at Post Office
Postal Workers Confront Government Intransigence on Major Issues

Nation-Wrecking in the Retail Sector

รหัส ทดลอง เล่น sbobet_เล่นสล็อตออนไลน์ ให้ได้เงิน_คาสิโนฟรีไม่มีเงินฝาก 2016

The U.S. retail conglomerate Lowe's has announced the closure of 31 facilities that are part of its home improvement and hardware operations in Canada along with the firing of hundreds if not thousands of workers. The Lowe's press release did not give an accounting of the number of workers to be fired. The closures include 27 retail stores, mostly RONA stores located in small towns or on land in large cities that offer speculative profits from rising land prices. Two of the stores to be closed are under the Lowe's brand. The U.S. oligarchs say the regional administrative and support centres in Mississauga, Ontario and St. John's, Newfoundland will also be closed. Lowe's currently has 630 facilities in Canada. It will also be closing a number of locations in the U.S.

Lowe's gained control of its competitor Quebec-based RONA home depot chain and its workers in 2016, consolidating 630 stores and 52,000 workers in Canada into its empire. The U.S. giant controls 2,390 stores across North America, daily buying the capacity to work of 310,000 workers to operate its business.

Canadians had no control over the decision to sell the RONA chain to Lowe's or the current one to close 27 stores. The U.S. financial oligarchy has the power over these decisions abetted by its political representatives in government. The decision of what stores will remain or be eliminated is based on the narrow consideration for maximum return on the invested social wealth of the private interests in control. No consideration is afforded to the well-being and security of the workers involved and the broad requirements of nation-building such as the retail and construction needs of the surrounding communities. Small construction firms in particular may rely heavily for their supplies on the RONA stores slated for closure, especially in smaller communities. Closing a nearby RONA may have the effect of forcing buyers of construction material to travel farther to meet their needs or pay more for what they require.

The press release coldly speaks of closing "27 underperforming corporate stores across the country, representing approximately 3 per cent of its total retail network square footage" but says nothing of the insecurity and worry this brings to the human beings involved or to the wrecking of the economies of many of the small towns affected by the decision. The financial oligarchy uses the term "underperforming" in the narrowest way, judging performance on the number of customers and volume of sales per square feet and the profit involved. The stores in fact may be performing an extremely valuable retail service for the surrounding communities. To determine this would require a human-centred investigation.

The Lowe's takeover of RONA in 2016 and the further concentration of wealth and power in the hands of U.S. oligarchs represent a consistent trend of the U.S. financial oligarchy gaining greater control over all aspects of Canada's economic, political and cultural life.

The financial oligarchy in control of the country's social wealth, its means of production and circulation discourages any economic activity based on the needs and well-being of the people and nation-building. In fact, the downgrading of economic and cultural opportunities in the smaller centres is a deliberate policy to force people to congregate in the largest metropolises. The oligarchs see the outlying areas of Canada as mostly temporary targets for resource exploitation, not as viable communities where the value workers produce is reinvested to make the local economy all-sided and sustainable with the highest level of culture available to residents.

The ruling oligarchs normally complain of the "high cost" of doing business in the small centres and sing high praise to the "over-performing" prospects for maximum profit and speculative big scores in the big cities, such as is now occurring in housing and land prices, but also in all features of the retail sector. Projects of nation-building from the past such as a national airline, railway, the Petro Canada oil extraction and distribution company, the Canadian Wheat Board, Canada Post and others, which served the country as a whole and not just the largest metropolises have either been privatized and abandoned or are under serious threat.

The issue facing Canadians is how to gain the political power to deprive the financial oligarchy of its power of control over the economy and politics of the country, and begin a modern nation-building project with the working people in command.

Haut de page

For Your Information

The Lowe's website says its stores serve "more than 18 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With fiscal year 2017 sales of $68.6 billion, Lowe's and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,390 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 310,000 people.... Lowe's Canadian business, together with its wholly owned subsidiary, RONA inc., operates or services more than 630 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores.... In Canada, the companies have more than 28,000 employees, in addition to nearly 5,000 employees in the stores of RONA's independent affiliate dealers."

The November 5 press release from its North Carolina headquarters says by the end of 2019, Lowe's will close a total of 31 locations, including 27 Lowe's and RONA stores in BC, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador, and 20 locations in the U.S.

The stores in Canada to be shut:

British Columbia

RONA Columbia Square 105-1015 Columbia Street, New Westminster


RONA Calgary Douglasdale, 11520 -- 24th St. SE
Reno-Depot Calgary West, 12330 Symons Valley Rd. NW


RONA Mississauga Westdale Mall, 1133 Dundas St. W.
RONA Mississauga Lakeshore, 1692 Lakeshore Rd. W.
RONA Sault Ste. Marie, 132 Black Rd.
RONA Sudbury, 943 Barry Downe Rd.
RONA Peterborough, 1575 Chemong Rd.
RONA Kingston, 1452 Bath Rd.
RONA Lakefield, 178 Water St.
Lowe's North York, Centerpoint Mall, 6600 Yonge St.
Lowe's Sault Ste. Marie 248 Northern Ave.


RONA Ste-Clotilde, 335, Route 209, Sainte-Clotilde-de-Chateauguay
RONA Iberville, 870, boulevard d'Iberville, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
RONA L'Assomption, 723, boulevard L'Ange-Gardien
RONA Granby Moeller, 788, rue Moeller
RONA Ste-Rose 134, boulevard Sainte-Rose, Laval
RONA Rivière-des-Prairies, 9200, boulevard Maurice-Duplessis, Montréal
RONA Rouyn-Noranda, 1200, rue Mantha, Rouyn-Noranda
RONA Ange-Gardien, 194, rue Principale, Ange-Gardien
RONA Saint-Elzéar, 100, rue du Parc Industriel, Saint Elzéar


RONA Conception Bay South, Killigrews, 825 Conception Bay Highway
RONA Goulds, 53-59 Main Highway
RONA St. John's, 1297 Topsail Rd.
RONA St. John's, 60 O'Leary Ave.
RONA St. John's, 710 Torbay Rd.
RONA Bay Roberts, 239 Conception Bay

The company says it will also shut regional support centres in Mississauga, Ontario and St. John's, Newfoundland along with a truss plant in St. John's and a block plant in Kamloops, BC. Aside from the RONA stores, Lowe's Canada will also close two Lowe's stores, Réno-Dépôt, Ace Canada, Dick's Lumber, and Contractor First corporate and affiliated dealer locations within its Canadian retail network, as well as its online offerings and parcel delivery service.

Haut de page

Reducing Fatigue Among Transportation Workers

Practical Actions Are Needed, Not Rhetoric

On October 29, the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), the federal government agency responsible for transportation safety in Canada, released its Watchlist 2018.

Every year, the TSB publishes a Watchlist which identifies key safety issues it has determined need to be addressed to make Canada's transportation system safer. The inclusion of issues on the list is determined by investigation reports and the TSB's safety concerns and recommendations.

The TSB investigates accidents and makes safety recommendations concerning four modes of transportation: aviation, rail, marine and pipelines.

The TSB has included the issue of workers' fatigue among aviation, rail and marine workers in Watchlist 2018. This is a problem which has become rampant and is one of the main aspects of the fight of transportation workers for their health and safety, which is intrinsically linked with the health and safety of the public.

In her remarks to the press to present Watchlist 2018, TSB Chair Kathy Fox said, among other things:

"I'll close today with a brief look at an issue that has appeared in over 90 TSB investigations over the years: fatigue. It's pervasive, especially in a 24/7 industry like transportation, where rail, marine, and flight crews can work long and irregular schedules -- sometimes in challenging conditions or across multiple time zones. That, in turn, means crews don't always get enough restorative sleep, which can impair human performance. To fix this, there needs to be a profound change in attitudes and behaviours, both at the management and operational levels. That means taking steps such as: awareness training; fatigue-management plans; modernizing duty-time regulations for train crews, marine watchkeepers, and pilots; and making sure that, in general, work-rest rules are based on science -- and not just the way things have always been done."

Transportation unions responded positively to the TSB's recommendations. In an October 30 press release, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) endorsed the inclusion of pilot fatigue on the Watchlist.

"For years, our pilots have been advocating for stronger rest rules that will protect Canadian passengers and crew from fatiguing work conditions," said Captain Matt Hogan, Chair of ACPA's Master Elected Council. "Between this Watchlist and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board findings that fatigue was a contributing factor in its investigation into Air Canada Flight 759, it's time for the government to take action."

Air Canada Flight 759 was involved in a potentially tragic incident at San Francisco's main airport in July 2017 when an Air Canada plane arriving from Toronto nearly landed on a secondary runway where four large carriers filled with passengers were awaiting takeoff. Only four metres separated Air Canada's Airbus A320 and one of the four airplanes parked on the runway. The pilots were able to divert their plane at the last second to avoid a collision, which, according to the experts, would have been one of the greatest catastrophes in Canadian airline history. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found Air Canada pilot fatigue to be a main factor in the near disaster (notwithstanding the mental acuity displayed by the pilots to avert the imminent collision). The NTSB report stated that the pilot in charge of the flight had been awake for 19 consecutive hours and his co-pilot for 12. Neither had napped during the flight, contrary to Transport Canada's current regulations.

"With the 2018 Watchlist, Canada's Transportation Safety Board puts the government on notice," said Milt Isaacs, CEO of the ACPA. "It's not enough to pay lip-service to aviation safety. The government must take real action to close the two-hour gap between its proposed rest rules and the limits recommended by NASA science."

The pilots are highly critical of Transport Canada's proposed regulations which would allow pilots to fly up to 10.5 hours at night on long-haul flights. The proposals compromise sleep, both when workers are returning to home base after an overseas flight and for duty periods that begin at night. Pilots have demanded that duty periods for flights in the evening be set at 8.5 hours of flight time.

Canada's Federal Minister of Transportation, Marc Garneau, did not show any statesmanship in his response to the TSB's recommendations. Far from it, he responded in the typical fashion of the cartel parties in Parliament when responding to questions or criticism, by saying:

"The Transportation Safety Board plays a very important role in ensuring that Canada's transportation sector remains one of the safest in the world, and I welcome the publication of their 2018 Watchlist. I am pleased to see that the hard work done by Transport Canada has resulted in good progress on many fronts since the last edition in 2016.

"Transport Canada continually examines existing fatigue management requirements to determine if amendments are required to update the regime and works in partnership with key federal partners and stakeholders in developing any options. The department is proposing new pilot fatigue rules to make air travel safer for Canadians, with the intent of publishing the final regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II, in 2018....

"The Department is improving safety management and oversight in all modes by evaluating its oversight tools to ensure their continued effectiveness. Transport Canada works actively to enhance the safety of all Canadians by improving the safety of air, rail and marine sectors and the transportation of dangerous goods."

This rhetoric diverts from the seriousness of the situation which the TSB has identified. It specifically diverts attention from the sharp criticism by transportation workers, including pilots, of the so-called safety management system which is non-prescriptive and is part of the self-regulation of the transportation industry, and of the new pilot fatigue rules that Transport Canada is planning to impose. Rhetoric does not make real life and real problems disappear. It makes problems worse as those in positions of authority are sweeping problems under the carpet and caving in to the demands of the private monopolies narrowly seeking their maximum profit at all costs, including putting air transport workers, passengers and the public at risk of injury and death.

When Minister Garneau speaks of "good progress on many fronts" he is referring to the TSB's decision to remove some issues from the Watchlist, such as the issue of transportation of flammable liquids by rail. This is a questionable recommendation by the TSB which actually shows how pervasive the neo-liberal dictate is. The recommendation flies in the face of the broad discourse in society on issues of safety. The concern of the people over transportation of highly flammable liquids by rail remains very strong and is actually growing as rail transport of such materials is growing.

In any case, the inclusion of transportation workers' fatigue on the Watchlist is significant because transportation workers are waging a serious fight on that issue at this time.

Workers are demanding practical action on the issue of fatigue reduction, based on science and their own experience and the solutions they are putting forward to deal with the problem.

Haut de page

Precarious Faculty Jobs at Canadian Universities

Crisis in Relations of Production Extends
to Intellectual Work

Ontario community college faculty participate in October 15, 2018 rally against Bill 47 which will remove equal pay for equal work provisions for part-time and contract workers contained
in current Ontario labour legislation.

A recent study reveals that precarious work among university faculty is now 53.60 per cent of all positions. In 2016-17, 38,681 faculty appointments, or 53.60 per cent, were contract positions compared to 33,490 tenured and tenure-track appointments. Among contract faculty part-time appointments predominate, accounting for nearly 80 per cent of all contracts in 2016-17.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives obtained the data through Freedom of Information requests sent to 78 Canadian universities and produced the report "Contract U -- Contract faculty appointments at Canadian universities."[1]

The data reveals Quebec relies on contract faculty more than any province, with 61 per cent of faculty on contract followed by BC at 55 per cent and Ontario at 54 per cent. The study found 13 universities in Canada use contract appointments for more than two-thirds of all faculty appointments.

The report writes that many contracts are limited in scope and very short in duration comprising a single course for one semester or a month to four months, depending on the terms. "Other contracts are full-time and cover longer periods, such as two to three years. But all of them are characterized by long-term uncertainty for the people in these positions," the report states.

Irregular work for many is a precarious arrangement, which has become a norm throughout the Canadian working class with multiple types of irregular insecure paid relations of employment: part-time, temporary, casual, and contract either arranged between an individual worker or their collective and an employer, or indirectly through an employment agency. In addition are the multiple insecure forms of self-employment. Precarious work more often than not results in low pay, few to no benefits, and little stability or security for the worker.[2]

Proportion of contract faculty by province (CUPE)

"Our findings suggest the significant reliance on contract faculty in Canadian universities is a structural issue, not a temporary approach to hiring, and we know that impacts workers in the sector and the quality of education students receive," says Chandra Pasma, co-author of the study and a Canadian Union of Public Employees researcher. Pasma added, "[The high rate of contract work] may be a labour relations strategy, in that you not only keep wages and benefits low when people are on contract, but it's sort of a disciplinary measure. When people have tenure it's very difficult to let them go. When people are on contract, you don't even need to fire them; you just don't renew their contract."

For university faculty, the insecurity and prevalence of this type of employment, the report highlights, is having a negative impact on workers and on the quality of education students receive. Contract work frequently means poverty and economic insecurity. The report reads, "Per-course rates can be as low as $5,000, which means that an individual can teach a full course load at some universities and still be living in poverty. A survey of contract faculty in Nova Scotia found that the insecurity of employment was the number one challenge and source of stress for contract faculty.

"Similarly, a survey of contract faculty in Ontario revealed that two-thirds experienced 'considerable personal strain' due to the short-term nature of their employment. A national survey of contract faculty found that more than half say their ability to make long-term plans such as having children or purchasing a home is impacted by the contract nature of their employment. Without job security, contract workers can have difficulty obtaining a bank loan, signing a rental agreement, or getting a mortgage. Contract faculty are frequently excluded from professional development, collegial opportunities, and institutional support for research, which can leave them feeling isolated and unsupported.[3]

"When instructors are only informed a few weeks -- and in some cases, only a day or two -- before the semester begins that they will be teaching a course, it is difficult for them to ensure that course material is up-to-date and that all necessary resources, such as textbooks, are in place for students."

The conditions in which contract faculty are forced to work can have an impact on their ability to deliver the highest quality education. For students, the precarious situation for their professors often means less access to faculty. The report states, "Sometimes contract staff are not given access to an office on campus, requiring them to hold meetings with students in borrowed or public spaces."

The data reveals a majority of contract faculty are women who "tend to be younger but for the most part are no longer students themselves. Between one-half to two-thirds of contract faculty have a Ph.D. The majority have been teaching on contracts for five years or more. For many teaching part-time or on contract is solely because they can't find permanent, full-time academic employment. According to a recent national survey by the Canadian Association of University Teachers, more than half of contract faculty want a tenure-track or permanent appointment. Cutting off contract faculty email addresses the moment the semester ends or not being able to track down a contract professor whose contract was not renewed also makes it more difficult for students to get reference letters."

The report also says, "The increase in the number of contract positions also has an impact on permanent faculty. Reducing the number of faculty who are involved in committee work or administration means that the burden of service work is disproportionately higher on the remaining faculty members. For permanent faculty and other academic workers, such as lab instructors and teaching assistants, the lack of presence by contract faculty (who may have no office space on campus or who have to leave for another job immediately after class) can also mean increased workloads responding to student questions and concerns."

The report does not give a definitive answer as to why contract work has grown exponentially in recent times venturing only to suggest a variety of reasons. These include public funding cuts for post-secondary education during the anti-social offensive and an antagonistic stance of university administrations towards their employees including faculty. This period corresponds with a rapid rise of tuition fees.

Those in charge of buying the capacity to work of employees have introduced myriad ways to decrease the claim of workers on the value they produce. Forcing contract work on those who sell their capacity to work puts them in a weak position in terms of organizing their fellow workers to demand a price for their capacity to work that meets modern standards and can give them cultured living and working conditions and allow them to do their work at the highest level of quality.

The situation exposes a general sharp deterioration in the relations of production between those who sell their capacity to work and those who buy it. The growing prevalence of contract work reveals the necessity for the working class to step up its organizing and resistance in defence of its rights and claim on the value it produces within the existing relations of production. It reveals also the need for renewal of the ensemble of human relations including importantly the necessity for new relations of production to empower the working class as the human factor and decision-maker at the workplace with a decisive say on terms and conditions of employment.


1. For the complete report click here.

2. The CCPA writes, "No Safe Harbour: Precarious Work and Economic Insecurity Among Skilled Professionals in Canada shows professionals across the country are not immune to the hallmarks of precarious work: no steady income, no pension, no benefits, no sick pay.

"Even full-time work isn't a buffer against precarity: 26 per cent of precarious professionals work full-time, though most go contract-to-contract (37 per cent) or work part-time (34 per cent). The majority (60 per cent) of precarious professionals don't have a pension plan or RRSP, nor do they get sick pay.

"The report finds precarious professionals in both the private (40 per cent) and public (30 per cent) sector. Precarious professionals are in all professions, but they're concentrated in three occupational categories: education (28 per cent), health care (18 per cent), and business, finance and administration (19 per cent). The majority of precarious professionals are women (60 per cent) and there is a higher incidence among professionals aged 55 and up."

"For more than two decades," the report reads, "academic workers, unions, and faculty associations have been raising concerns about a shift within universities from full-time, permanently employed faculty to faculty hired on contracts. Some of these contracts are limited in scope and very short in duration: a contract for a single course for a single semester (or a month to four months, depending on the terms). Some of these contracts are full-time and cover longer periods, such as two to three years. But all of them are characterized by long-term uncertainty for the people in these positions."

"A growing number of precarious workers are in highly skilled, professional positions. The post-secondary sector reveals trends that are taking place in the broader labour market."

For the complete report, click here 

3. For reports on the struggle of Ontario College teachers for their rights and terms of employment agreeable to themselves click here for past issues of Ontario Political Forum.

Haut de page

Northwest Territories

Public Service Workers Wage Determined Fight
for Their Rights and Dignity

The 4,000 public employees employed by the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) are waging a determined fight for significant improvements to their working conditions to meet their needs in this northern environment where the cost of living is much higher than in southern Canada. They are also tackling the problem of attracting and retaining workers. These workers provide services that are essential to the functioning of society -- health care, various trades, road maintenance, highways and infrastructure, health and safety programming for the Territories, staffing the colleges, etc. While they contribute immense value to the economy and their work is essential for the well-being of society, they are not recognized as such by the GNWT. Instead, they are actually considered a "cost" and an impediment to the funding of infrastructure projects under consideration by the GNWT.

The GNWT has declared an operational surplus of $200 million for this year and over $100 million in operational surpluses in the last three years, surpluses that have largely been achieved through an anti-social offensive against public services. This includes, according to the Union of Northern Workers (UNW) which represents these workers, the elimination of 150 public service positions in the last three years and the extension of the use of relief workers who do not have scheduled hours of work and do not have leave banks (accumulated paid time off contributed by other workers) or pensions. The President of the UNW Todd Parsons told Workers' Forum that the GNWT has declared that every penny of its declared operational surplus would be spent on infrastructure while those who actually provide the infrastructure would get nothing.

The union has been negotiating for over two-and-a-half years, with a period of mediation at the end of October, but very little progress has been made at the bargaining table on the two most important issues for the workers, wages and job security.

The UNW proposed a three-year agreement with a three per cent wage increase per year while the government wanted a four-year agreement with zero per cent, zero per cent, one per cent, and 1.1 per cent wage increases over the four years. The union reports that the GNWT is now asking for a five-year agreement, still with zero per cent increases in the first two years.

In terms of job security, the union is asking for consolidation of layoff language and for the conversion of term positions that extend past 24 months into fulltime indeterminate positions. The GNWT wants to replace fulltime indeterminate positions with relief workers. This is what it is already doing in Corrections and Health. The GNWT also wants to be allowed to use relief workers in all areas of the GNWT, which the UNW does not accept.

Also, the Northwest Territories have what is called a Northern Allowance. This is an allowance that is being paid to employees in NWT Communities to offset the higher cost of living and travel. The allowance is part of the UNW-GNWT Collective Agreement. According to the union, the Northern Allowance has not increased in Yellowknife in over 11 years, while in a lot of the communities it has even gone down. The union is asking for a significant increase in the allowance. The union is also asking that there be no contracting out of bargaining unit work.

Workers are pointing out that the cost of living in their region, especially the costs of housing, are significantly higher than in Southern Canada. The refusal of the GNWT to improve their living and working conditions makes it much harder attracting and retaining public service workers.

The union is now in a legal position to strike, and has served 48-hour notice to the employer.

"We have said to our members that we are going to do what we can to avoid going on strike before Christmas in order to allow them to prepare," said Todd Parsons to Workers' Forum. "We are not going to go on strike unless we are being provoked and we have given a definition of what it would mean to be provoked. We are going to go on strike if the Minister responsible for the public service changes our terms and conditions, and under the legislation up here they can unilaterally do that. They cannot lock us out, but they can unilaterally change our conditions. We also said that we would go on strike if the employer starts disciplining our members for showing support for the bargaining team. Our members have started to wear orange laces and high visibility lanyards, and we heard that the employer recently told our members that they were not allowed to wear these things in support of the bargaining team. This kind of job action is perfectly legal. If the employer starts disciplining our members for that, this could drive us to go on strike."

Todd also explained that the process governing labour relations is very peculiar in the Northwest Territories. "The process up here is very lengthy. We do not have a Labour Board in the NWT and do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code either. We can make our complaints only to the Minister responsible for the public service. We do not have a provincial labour code. We have territorial employment standards that govern minimum standards for everybody except the public service. We are kind of in limbo land here, and this is the first time in almost 50 years that we have been in a legal strike position and members have confirmed that with an almost 70 per cent strike mandate."

Todd said that besides wearing high visibility laces and lanyards, workers are involved in a campaign of media and radio ads, along with putting up signs, similar to election signs, on people's homes, as well as talking to members of the Legislative Assembly.

"It is really a big fight. We are fighting on behalf of our members to obtain a fair deal which provides stability for their families so that they can thrive in this northern environment."

Haut de page


Serious Concerns About Automation
of Mining Processes

Demonstration September 19, 2016 demands the reinstatement of André Racicot who had been suspended by mining company Iamgold in Abitibi for defending the health and safety
of mining workers.

One of our major concerns right now is the issue of the automation of machinery in underground operations in the mining sector. Our concern is two fold. There is a lack of government regulation regarding this new technology. There is also the issue of the jobs that will be taken away from mine workers.

We have been talking to the Labour Standards, Pay Equity and Occupational Health and Safety Commission (CNEEST) for two or three years now. We have argued with them that the lack of regulations concerning this equipment is worrisome. These operations include teleoperated equipment as well as autonomous and semi-autonomous equipment. These different processes involve a high level of automation. In the case of teleoperated equipment, we are referring to equipment operated by means of remote controls. The problem we are facing right now is that the technologies are advancing but the regulations are not keeping pace. This situation is preferred by the mining companies because they like to have a free hand and not have too much regulation in the way that would restrict what they can do. They want to decide for themselves what changes will be made. In the past, when these things were left to the employers, the workers paid a very high price, particularly in terms of their health and safety.

In the case of autonomous or semi-autonomous equipment, what happens if the equipment does not stop when it is supposed to stop? Is it going to detect a worker who is in its way? If an accident occurs it can be fatal. It must be understood that there is always human intervention somewhere. Take the example of semi-autonomous equipment where the operator controls the underground equipment from the surface. In theory, there are no human beings who should be in the path of the equipment in the pit. We know very well that it is impossible to ensure that there is no human being in the areas in which the equipment operates. It takes mechanics to fix these machines. It takes electricians. It takes human beings to fix that equipment. The worker must enter a danger zone and the worker must approach the machine. The equipment has a brake system that is operated from the surface but what guarantee is there that the brake system will work? At the moment, we are kind of at the mercy of the big multinational companies that use this equipment everywhere and who decide themselves the protocols that govern their use.

In the case of teleoperated equipment, you can have an operator who is thousands of kilometres away from the mining operation; someone in India or Bangladesh can be operating equipment in a mine in Abitibi. If we get a regulation it will not be a regulation that applies in the country where the operator is located. This creates a legal vacuum. The union raised this issue with CNESST and the Commission so far does not seem to know what to do with such a problem. We have started to put pressure on the government to have the operation of this equipment regulated in Quebec and, if operated from another country, to have the operator subject to the same regulations.

The technology that makes these long-distance operations possible exists. We just have to think of U.S. drones that are used to drop bombs in Iraq or elsewhere that are operated from Arizona.

We have serious concerns about health and safety, regarding the interaction of this equipment with humans.

The other concern is jobs. The dream of the mining companies is to operate the mines without human beings. They dream of it because they would have no wages to pay, no pension plans to fund, etc. In addition, equipment does not speak out. It does not present demands. It does not take sick leave. We are very concerned about job losses. Mining companies say that this is true, there will be fewer mining workers, but there will be more people repairing and operating the equipment. We know very well however, in light of what is happening in the world, that the strategy of mining companies is to use operators who are no longer mining workers. These are people who have never set foot in a mine in their lives. They are able to operate technology, much like a video game. We believe that over time the people who will operate this equipment will more and more be people who have no connection with the mining industry.

We are proposing regulatory changes to ensure that qualified people, who have knowledge of miners' work underground, operate this equipment. There is a case in Fermont, in northern Quebec, where semi-autonomous drilling machines are being used. The operator works from the head office while the drilling machine is in the pit. When the operator leaves his post to go for lunch the machine is teleoperated while he is away. This process with this kind of automation already exists in the mines in Quebec.

The unions are there to protect the health and safety of workers and to protect their jobs.

Haut de page

Drivers of Concrete Mixer Trucks Demand Increased Safety for Themselves and the Public

Concrete mixer truck drivers working for the five sections of Demix Concrete in Montreal area
hold an extraordinary general meeting, October 8, 2018 in Laval.  (FIM-CSN)

Since June, the 200 concrete mixer truck drivers working for the five sections of Demix Concrete in the Greater Montreal area have been calling for measures to correct problems created through the implementation of a new "Optimizer" computer system. The system is aimed at managing concrete deliveries to construction sites. The workers are members of five unions affiliated with the Manufacturing Industry Federation (FIM-CSN). Demix Concrete is a division of CRH Group Canada Inc., itself a division of CRH plc, a global building materials monopoly based in Ireland, with facilities primarily in Europe and North America.

The recently activated Optimizer system connects each concrete mixer truck driver to a distribution plant via an electronic tablet. Optimizer analyzes in real time the routes to be taken and the response times required for the delivery of concrete by dictating which routes the drivers are to take. In some instances the system proposes routes through densely populated neighbourhoods, without any regard to zone designations such as "No Trucks," or to actual restrictions under the Highway Safety Code.

The Optimizer system experiences regular breakdowns, which prevent workers from doing their work and, in particular, from contacting the dispatch centre, thereby increasing their stress levels.

In addition, the system regularly requires that workers exceed their maximum 50 hour work week, further undermining their vigilance and the reflexes needed as drivers of heavy loads, besides having to sacrifice time with their families. The workers are demanding that they be able to stop for an hour for a sorely-needed break, in accordance with the law. However, the Optimizer system actually prevents them from doing that.

Concrete mixer truck drivers are denouncing the fact that the Optimizer system was implemented without consulting them, even though it directly affects their working conditions, including their health and safety. During a general assembly meeting in early October, the workers unanimously rejected the corrective measures proposed by the company as being entirely inadequate. They have mandated their union leaders to directly call on senior management in Toronto to find solutions to the problem, which reflect the views and experience of the drivers themselves.

It should be noted that the drivers are not currently in negotiations for their collective agreement. Such significant and detrimental changes for them and for the population have simply been imposed by the company. This is unacceptable and the workers reject these unilateral changes.

Haut de page

คา สิ โน ออนไลน์ poker

Rotating Strikes at Post Office

Postal Workers Confront Government
Intransigence on Major Issues

Tri-Town (Cobalt, Haileybury, New Liskeard), Ontario

Thousands of postal workers across the country continue to press their just demands for working conditions commensurate with their work in the face of government intransigence.

"After more than ten months of negotiations, the intervention of two mediators and two weeks of rotating strikes, Canada Post's true colours are emerging," said Mike Palecek, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) National President. "The lofty rhetoric of wanting to work with us to reach fair agreements for our workers is turning out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. It needs to be said: Canada Post talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk."

CUPW has called on a national overtime ban for both of its major bargaining units at Canada Post. Postal workers, no matter what their job at Canada Post, will not work more than an eight-hour day and not more than a 40-hour week. "Overburdening, overtime and overwork are all major issues in this round of bargaining. Until Canada Post negotiators' address it, we can solve it for ourselves," said Palecek.

CUPW members are still without agreements for the Urban Postal Operations and Rural and Suburban Mail Carriers (RSMC) bargaining units after almost a year of negotiations.

The union also informed on November 7 that Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu has extended the appointment of Morton Mitchnick as a mediator, for a period of four days.

St. John's, Newfoundland.

St. John's, Newfoundland; Chanel-Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland

Gander, Newfoundland

Chateau Richer, Quebec

Gananoque, Ontario

Welland, Ontario

St. Catharines, Ontario

Solidarity rally at city hall, London, Ontario

Timmins, Ontario

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

North Bay, Ontario

Thunder Bay, Ontario

Edmonton, Alberta solidarity picket.

Nisku, Alberta, RSMC picket

Calgary, Alberta

(With files from CUPW. Photos: CUPW.)

Haut de page

คา สิ โน ออนไลน์ poker | HOME

Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  office@คา สิ โน ออนไลน์ poker www.artclowns.com