Monday 30 November 2009

Kiefer Sutherland pledges his support for Medicare

Sign the Medicare Pledge here:

As a Canadian, I believe access to quality health care must be based on need, not ability to pay.
Our public health care reflects those values of equality and fairness.
We must improve our public health care for everyone, instead of expanding private for-profit services that benefit only a few.
I pledge my support for the protection and improvement of public health care in Canada.

Canada's reputation being destroyed by corporate greed

An article posted on The Guardian web-site written by George Monbiot should be of significant concern to every person in Canada. The article, entitled: Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling is a scathing indictment of Canada's horrid position and reputation when it comes to climate change, pollution, and action to curb an impending global environmental catastrophe.

A once proud, and highly respected country on the global stage - has been reduced to country that is off-side with almost everyone else on the planet. We are seen as being completely and totally controlled by the excesses of the corporate elite, and our Prime Minister is seen as their lackey. How embarassing. The first few paragraphs of Monbiot's article are reproduced below:

"When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world's peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country's government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee's tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become, and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this fight, that I've broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to Toronto.

So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.

Until now I believed that the nation that has done most to sabotage a new climate change agreement was the United States. I was wrong. The real villain is Canada. Unless we can stop it, the harm done by Canada in December 2009 will outweigh a century of good works."
Read full article by clicking here....

Dark Side of Dubai's Boom Town - Dubai's dirty little secret

Dubai - mecca for the rich. Everything that right-wing governments dream of. Run by a dictator, built by slavery. No rights for workers, and laws to make unions illegal. The Sask. Party vision.

Building Towers, Cheating Workers

Check out this report by Human Rights Watch: (It's a bit dated, but very disturbing). This is the Sask. Party government's vision of how workers should be treated.

"Building Towers, Cheating Workers

Exploitation of Migrant Construction Workers in the United Arab Emirates

Based on extensive interviews with workers, government officials and business representatives, this 71-page report documents serious abuses of construction workers by employers in the United Arab Emirates. These abuses include unpaid or extremely low wages, several years of indebtedness to recruitment agencies for fees that UAE law says only employers should pay, the withholding of employees’ passports, and hazardous working conditions that result in apparently high rates of death and injury."

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Public perception of unions is misguided

Gary Engler, vice-president of CEP local 2000, recently blew the lid off the situation at Canwest Global, Canada's largest media conglomerate. The corporation is filing for court protection against creditors.
What he revealed at is a startling picture of corporate greed.
Workers at Canwest are being 'restructured', meaning laid off, with no severance pay, as previously promised. Eighty retirees will lose medical, dental and life insurance benefits. One hundred and twenty retirees face reduced pensions. Stock has plummeted from $20 a few years ago to about $0.25 per share. Shareholders will be getting just a few cents on the dollar.

But what about the three directors, four top executives and 13 other senior managers at Canwest? They're walking away with over $9.8 million in bonuses, and retirement benefits for life. Yes, bonuses, on top of already exorbitant salaries.

Canada's legal system allows for this to happen.

So what does this have to do with unions? Well we've all heard the accusations that unions are greedy, either in the media or from people in our lives. Unions have even been blamed for the recent economic meltdown.

The reality is something totally different. The people who run the large corporations, the executives, and their friends in government who make ther rules, are those ultimately responsible for the meltdown. They wanted to get richer, and they did.

Unions advocate for those without much power or wealth. And we believe workers deserve to share in the wealth that they help to create. Every time union members receive a raise, they pay more taxes, and they spend their money locally, supporting Saskatchewan's economy.

Unions push for fair laws, for public services like rural post offices, and for industry regulations to keep products and services safe.

Let's respond to those falsehoods. The answer is found in our trade union principles: "An Injury to One is an Injury to All." Be proud to be union.

Monday 16 November 2009

Companies kill (at least) 16 workers every day of the year

Every Page Blacked Out - Secrecy in Saskatchewan

Check out the blog posting over on the Owls and Roosters Blog entitled: Secrecy trumps transparency as Wall gov’t denies five FOI requests on wage mandate and SAHO negotiations with health care provider unions.

Citizen blogger, Joe Kuchta, exposes the stunning actions of the Brad Wall government related to recent Freedom of Information requests Kuchta made respecting ongoing Health Care Bargaining between SAHO and the provider unions (SGEU, SEIU, and CUPE)

Astonishingly, Kuchta was provided with 10 pages of apparent documentation related to his request with every page completely "blacked out".

The photos above are a composite of the actual 10 pages of "blacked out" material that was forwarded to Mr. Kuchta.

These anti-democratic and secretive actions certainly make a lie of the government's worn out and meaningless slogans including:

“promises and fulfill the commitments of the election, operating with integrity and transparency, accountable to the people of Saskatchewan.”
and to
“demonstrate leadership for good governance, transparency, and accountability across government.”

Saturday 14 November 2009

20 days - 20 ways to end violence against women

The Canadian Labour Congress is asking people to send postcards to the prime minister telling him to take action now to end violence against women, including keeping the gun registry. Barbara Byers, CLC Executive Vice-President, says, "We want the government to keep the long gun registry and to take action on a range of issues that will help to keep women safe."

On November 16th, send the 1st of 20 postcards to the prime minister online!

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Like Father, Like Son

In 1989 the province of Saskatchewan was nearly bankrupted by an incompetent and corrupt government under the leadership of then Conservative Premier, Grant Devine.

20 years later, and 2 short years into the first term of Grant Devine's protégé, we appear to be headed down that same slippery slope. Where did all the money go?

NDP slams minister for missed deficit signals - CBC

Saskatchewan likely facing recession (weasel word for deficit) by end of fiscal year: finance minister - Leader-Post/StarPhoenix

Deficit talk rises in Saskatchewan as potash revenues fall to unprecedented low - P.A. Herald

Friday 6 November 2009

Bargaining against a backdrop of anti-worker legislation

CUPE Health Care Saskatchewan negotiators Mike Keith and Gordon Campbell talk about the current round of collective agreement bargaining in Saskatchewan.

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Voices of Union - Voices of Young Workers

"Young people talk about the importance of Union for them and how Unions can better serve youth in the coming years. This is a preview of a longer documentary that is now in production that will give many youth an opportunity to talk about their relationships to Unions." - Wolf Sun Productions

Monday 2 November 2009

2009 LabourStart Photo of the Year

2009 LabourStart Photo of the Year

"A Bangladeshi boy works in a shipbuilding factory in down town. These factories employ young boys as apprentices without pay for the first few years. They work in extreme conditions without safety tools like gloves, goggles, and other protective gears. In exchange, they learn the skills of the trade. But this costs them loss of health and education."

Sunday 1 November 2009

Brad Wall signing TILMA despite promising he would not

Wander over to the "Owls and Roosters Blog" and read a recent posting entitled: "Sask. Party gov’t refusing to release draft Western Economic Partnership Agreement; Crowns and municipalities consulted, but not public".

It appears from recent refusals by the government to comply with Access to Information requests made by Owls and Roosters owner Joe Kuchta that the secretive Sask. Party Premier and his equally secretive cabinet and caucus have something to hide from the citizens of the province.

We are seeing the Saskatchewan government, under the leadership of Brad Wall practice an anti-democratic, back room, closed door, non-consulative, secretive type of government that shows complete and total contempt for the citizens of this province that he was elected to serve.

Brad Wall said he would not sign the anti-democratic TILMA. Now, despite his promise and assurances, he's doing it - behind closed doors, in secret, with his ideological sole mates - Gordon Campbell (BC) and Ed Stelmach (AB).