An Update on G4S Guard Outreach

Over the last few weeks, organizers from UFCW have been speaking to G4S guards across the north and hearing about many of the unacceptable conditions their employer is forcing them to accept.  Poor living conditions, substandard wages, lack of overtime pay, frequent and unapologetic payroll errors, and unreasonable shift turnarounds are just a few of the concerns that we've heard about. These issues are not camp specific, but rather point to a systematic problem that G4S refuses to address.

G4S guards have made difficult sacrifices to come up north with the hope of making a decent wage and providing for themselves and their loved ones. But what those guards have come to discover is that the opportunity they sought is much different from the reality they now face.

It shouldn’t matter at which camp they work, if guards are sitting in a guard shack, flagging out in the cold, or working on a site, every guard should all be able to make a decent living and put food on the table at home. This is why UFCW Local 401 has been reaching out to all G4S guards in the Fort McMurray area.  We want to make sure your voices are heard and respected at work.  We want you to have a say in your working and living conditions. We want to help you achieve a fair contract with your employer that sets out everything to which you are entitled in black and white.

UFCW locals across the country represent over 6,500 security guards. And more specifically, UFCW locals represent every single G4S worker in Manitoba and Ontario. What this tells you is that G4S has an existing relationship with UFCW and has dealt with us for many years in other regions.

It is absolutely illegal for your employer to take any sort of action against you for talking to or supporting a union.  Exploring the benefits of joining a union is your right under Canadian law and we will defend this right to the end. You cannot be disciplined, fired, or even threatened in any way for looking into unionization.

If you have not already spoken to someone at UFCW Local 401, please contact us confidentially and we can arrange to meet with you and answer any questions or concerns that you might have:

Devin Yeager
National Representative - UFCW Canada
cell - (403) 680-4184
toll free -1-866-977-0772 ext 4

The quicker the process is, the sooner you can cast your vote and tell your employer that -- together with UFCW Local 401 -- your voice will finally be heard.

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Reaching Out To G4S Guards

UFCW Local 401 is actively involved in negotiations with PTI to reach a new collective agreement for its membership.  Part of this process has been stressing to PTI the importance of dealing with a unionized security company in camps where UFCW Local 401 members live and work. 

A number of workers from G4S, the primary security provider for PTI, have seen the commitment that UFCW Local 401 has shown to their members and have expressed an interest in joining our strong union.  UFCW Local 401 would like to reach out to the guards at G4S and give them more information about the benefits of unionization as well as how joining a union can help improve their working conditions and give them a voice in their workplace.

In order to do this, we need the help of our PTI stewards. 

Stewards are on the front lines and have access to a number of the guards that work and possibly live in their camps.  If PTI stewards could attempt to speak with interested guards and let them know that there is help out there and that through UFCW Local 401, they can have a say in their working conditions and do not need to fear speaking out against an injustice or unfair treatment.   Stewards can share their personal experiences with how Local 401 has helped them and the benefits that they have seen from belonging to a strong Union.

If any of the guards would like more information, we would ask stewards to get their contact information and forward it to Devin Yeager or Chris Dennis of UFCW Canada so that they can speak to them as soon as possible.  Any information that stewards could provide about the guards would also be helpful (i.e. their shifts, turnarounds, wages, number of guards at your camp, where they reside, etc.)

Yeager and Dennis will be scheduling information meetings for the G4S guards at a number of PTI locations over the coming weeks, but until then we need help getting the word out to the guards that UFCW Local 401 is here to help. 

For more information or to pass information from guards along, please use the following contact information:

Devin Yeager
National Representative - UFCW Canada
cell - (403) 680-4184
toll free -1-866-977-0772 ext 4
www.ufcw.ca

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2013 BDM Scholarship Winner: Arsen Busel, Local 832

Arsen Busel is one of eighteen UFCW Canada Beggs-Dowling-Mathieu (BDM) Scholarship winners for 2013.

Brother Busel works at Real Canadian Superstore 1506 in Winnipeg and is a proud member of UFCW Canada Local 832. He is currently enrolled full-time in the Bachelor of Arts and Science Degree Program at the University of Winnipeg, where he is studying chemistry.

"Thanks to UFCW Canada, I am one step closer to reaching my educational goals and pursuing my dream of becoming an environmental scientist," says Arsen. "I would personally like to thank the union for its generosity and support. I plan to work very hard in the coming years and eventually give back to others," he adds.

Arsen was recently presented with the $1,000 union scholarship cheque by UFCW Canada Local 832 President Jeff Traeger and Secretary-Treasurer Beatrice Bruske, who are pictured to the left and right of Brother Busel, respectively.

Every year UFCW Canada offers a total of eighteen union scholarships worth $1,000 each to members, their spouses, and dependants for post-secondary education.

Applications for the 2014 BDM Scholarship are now open. To find out more about this renowned union scholarship, or to apply online, click here.

 

Original article: http://ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_multicategories&view=article&id=3815%3A2013-bdm-scholarship-winner-arsen-busel-local-832&Itemid=98&lang=en

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International Migrants Day – December 18

International Migrants Day – December 18, annually commemorates the adoption of the International Convention on the Protection of Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families by the United Nations on December 18, 1990. In this upcoming holiday season, migrant workers can only hope that their ability to access to Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits is restored in Canada.  In 2012, the Harper Conservatives took advantage of the most vulnerable workers in our great country and curtailed access to Parental Leave and other special leave benefits; the only benefits that had ever been available to migrant worker under EI — all of this while the Harper government continues to annually collect millions of dollars in EI premiums from migrant workers.

This shameful injustice cannot be left unchallenged, and just a month ago our efforts showed that WE can make a difference. Working with community allies, we were able to convince a federal court that the arbitrary denial of Parental Leave EI benefits to migrant workers was not only shameful but illegal. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Office of the Umpire would be mandated to re-hear 102 cases pertaining to EI benefits sought by migrant workers throughout the 2012 qualifying period. Most cases comprised of Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) members. The Court of Appeal cited that migrant workers are at a “unique disadvantage” with respect to their ability to file EI claims in the first place.

For decades, UFCW Canada has been the leading voice and advocate for migrant and temporary foreign workers in Canada. December 18, International Migrants Day serves as a reminder that while we have advanced, the struggle for migrant workers’ rights continues. So does our commitment.

On this 23rd anniversary of International Migrants Day, let us remember that Canada was built on the backbone of migrant Labour. While facing tremendous struggles herself, one migrant worker recently commented that, "in spite of the challenges and obstacles we face, to improve our lives and those of our families back home, we should not keep our problems and abuses to ourselves.  We need to work together to make a difference. Beautiful pictures are developed from negatives in a dark room."

History has shown that we can light a candle in a dark room and in doing so we too can be the change that brings fairness back to our great Canada.

In Solidarity,

Paul Meinema
National President

 

Original post: http://www.ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_multicategories&view=article&id=3802:international-migrants-day-december-18&Itemid=98&lang=en

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Migrant Workers Receive New Hope for Reunion

A major update from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be welcome news to many migrant workers in Alberta. The Parent and Grandparent Sponsorship Program, which was temporarily suspended approximately two years ago, will be re-opened and begin accepting applications again on January 2, 2014.

The Program, which reunites workers who migrate to Canada in the hopes of carving out a better life for themselves and their family with their parents and grandparents, was suspended due to an overload of applications. One of the most challenging aspects of migrating to another country for work, as evidenced by the overwhelming number of applications submitted to CIC, is leaving ones family behind. Often times, it is parents and grandparents one has migrated to support.

So the re-opening of this Program will provide much needed hope for reunion to thousands of working migrants throughout Canada and in Alberta.

Some requirements of the Program have changed:

•     Only 5,000 applications will be accepted in 2014

•     The minimum necessary income to qualify as a sponsor (based on the Low-Income Cut-Off) has been increased by 30 per cent (for more information http://www.canadavisa.com/necessary-income-levels-for-family-sponsorship.html)

•     Applicants must prove they meet the income threshold for 3 consecutive years now, instead of the previous 1 year

•     The maximum age for dependent children has been reduced from 22 to 18 years

•     The sponsorship term has increased from 10 years to 20 years.

It is worth noting that the completeness and correctness of application is very important. Any applications that are either incomplete or filled out incorrectly will be returned to the submitter.

The 5,000 application limitation applies to all migrant workers in Canada, so workers wishing to make use of the Program will need to get their applications filled out and submitted as quickly as possible. For more information about the Program, visit Citizenship and Immigration Canada at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/index-can.asp

Information about Program changes from http://lmlawgroup.com

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Doral Holdings Security Guards join the union, UFCW 333

Security guards at Doral Holdings' Seaway Mall in Welland, Ontario are the newest members of UFCW Canada Local 333 following a successful unionization campaign this fall.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board recently certified the union as the workers' official bargaining agent and a collective agreement has since been negotiated and ratified.

The newly welcomed Local 333 members perform security and patrol duties at Seaway Mall, a 120-store shopping centre located in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula. They joined the union to obtain financial security and have a say over their working conditions.

"We are excited to welcome this group of workers to Canada's best union," says Local 333 President Richard McNaughton. "The Doral employees have chosen to stick up for their rights and improve their workplace standards by joining the union, and I'm happy to report that Local 333 has negotiated a fair and competitive first contract for these members," Brother McNaughton adds.  

To find out more about UFCW Canada Local 333, visit their website at www.ufcw333.ca. You can also connect with the Local Union on Facebook by clicking here.

 

Original: http://ufcw.ca/index.php?option=com_multicategories&view=article&id=3758%3Adoral-holdings-security-guards-join-the-union-ufcw-333-&Itemid=98&lang=en

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