Thursday 23 December 2010

Fiacco and crew give Mosaic a 5-year free ride

Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and Councillor Michael Fougere
So, does a huge global multi-national corporation really need Regina taxpayers and individual home-owners to pick up the property tax tab for them?  How can any politician say they are acting responsibly and in the interests of the citizens when they hand over 1.5 million dollars of taxpayers money to a corporation that never expected to receive the grant in the first place?

Don't let anyone spin it to you in any other way, Mosaic had already decided to set up their corporate headquarters in a new downtown Regina office tower before the brain trust over at Regina City Council got generous and voted to give them an early christmas present. 

According to an article in the December 15, 2010 Regina Leader-Post, the city, school boards, and libraries will all feel the pinch so that Mosaic corporate executives can enjoy their nice new offices. 
"Mosaic is to save about $326,000 in taxes annually for five years. The city's annual share works out to nearly $128,000 a year and $134,000 for schools and about $64,000 to the library."
A check of Mosaic’s October 2010 investor fact sheet from their website will reveal that the company is doing quite nicely already.  In fact, their net assets are stated to be $13.1 billion.

The President and CEO of Mosaic is James T. Prokopanko. According to Forbes, his base salary for 2010 was $933,333.00 plus stock options of $2.4 million plus other compensation for a total of $6,255,588.00. Not bad, eh?

So there you have it, this company can afford to pay their CEO more than $6 million a year, but Fiacco, Fougere, and the rest of them, think they need a tax-payer funded subsidy and a 5 year free-ride.  Has your street been plowed yet?

p.s.  Mosaic was formed in 2004 by IMC Global and Cargill. Cargill holds 64% of Mosaic shares.

Economic Hitmen

Saturday 18 December 2010

Saskatchewan women send News Talk radio a Dear John letter

Below are the most recent BBM ratings (released December 2010) for several Saskatoon and Regina radio stations.  The charts represent the demographic of female listeners aged 18 - 54. 

Enough said!
(click images for larger view) 

Tuesday 14 December 2010

We need open and transparent government

█████ ██ █ ████ everything ███ █████ is█████ ████ ████ fine ████ ███ █ ██████ love. █████ ███████ ███ your █████ ████ government...

Sunday 12 December 2010

Corporate greed is eroding foundations of a just society

The following opinion piece is by John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council it was published by the Toronto Star on Saturday, December 11, 2010.

Corporate greed is eroding foundations of a just society
John Cartwright

President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council

Not long ago, a wealthy stockbroker drives by nine men who have been locked out of their jobs at the First Canadian Place. He stops his luxury car, gets out, and utters the words that explain his attitude to their plight.
“The watch I’m wearing is worth more than you earn in a year. Get out of my way!"
Real estate giant Brookfield Properties decided to reduce the conditions of work for these employees. When they would not agree, they were locked out and put on the street.

This cavalier attitude is not just displayed by one company.

Across the country, corporations are engaging in an unprecedented series of lockouts of their employees, demanding that workers’ standard of living be reduced.

Sears in Vaughan, U.S. Steel in Nanticoke and now Hamilton, St. Mary’s Cement in Bowmanville, Genpack in Peterborough, Cadillac Fairview in downtown Toronto, the list goes on.

Hard-working families are seeing their standard of living undermined by the actions of CEOs whose salaries count in the millions or tens of millions.

Does Brookfield really need to save a few thousand dollars in order to keep its profit margin? Not at all. It’s doing this because it has the power to, and today that’s all that counts.

The 21st century corporate culture demands that pension plans be gutted, benefits weakened and jobs outsourced wherever possible.

While the driving force is made up of international companies that have taken over Canadian icons like Inco, they aren’t the only culprits.

Cadillac Fairview is owned by Canadian pension funds, and it had no qualms about destroying the careers of 61 employees who wouldn’t buckle under to its demands.

Even Mayor Rob Ford promises to outsource city cleaning services to contractors who pay poverty wages. And he claims to be “standing up for the little guy.”

There is clearly something wrong with this picture. For generations, people have come to this country to find a better life for themselves and their families. They have helped build a prosperous nation, where most people had access to a decent job and reasonable income.

Governments created laws that struck a balance between the power of corporations and the rights of working people. Most of us were able to find respect for our skills and knowledge, and to be paid accordingly.

In recent years, however, much has changed. The immense greed that fed the global financial markets has seeped into the core values of Canadian business.

Nowadays companies are only happy if there are tax cuts, subsidized profits and a pliable workforce. The same powerful actors who nearly wrecked the world economy are now shamelessly demanding that governments and workers do their bidding — or suffer the consequences.

There’s no doubt that a lot of these guys wear quality timepieces worth more than the rest of us earn in a year. The gap between rich and poor in this country has grown tremendously in recent times.

And unless something happens, it will only grow wider as mid-level incomes disappear from the reality of many families.

Extreme disparity is nothing new. That’s just how things were for centuries. But after the last Great Depression we learned that tough rules are needed to restrain the worst aspects of corporate greed.

A legal framework was put in place that guaranteed workers some basic rights, and allowed a growing labour movement to play a key role in raising the standards of all Canadians. Now, however, the balance of forces has changed dramatically.

It’s time to review the rules and fix them. Companies shouldn’t be allowed to lock out their employees and bring in replacement workers. Nor should they be allowed to utilize temp agencies to create a new form of indentured servitude where people don’t have a right to a stable job.

Labour laws need strengthening so that ordinary people have a fair chance for collective representation. And the loopholes that allow companies to violate employment standards need to be closed.

How long will it be before governments act on these issues? I don’t know. But one thing is certain. If they don’t find a way to stop the abuse of workers that is quickly becoming the norm, the next generation will be worse off than ours.

In the interim, many decent people will suffer for trying to hold on to what they believe is fair. And Canada will not be the kind of country we were once proud to build together.

Sunday 5 December 2010

Let’s do something about poverty! - Poverty Free Saskatchewan

"Let's do something about poverty!


Poverty Free Saskatchewan (PFS) is a new network of individuals, organizations, governments and businesses working toward poverty elimination. PFS recognizes there have been anti-poverty groups working hard for decades in all regions of our province and we wish to support a province-wide movement.
PFS believes people living in poverty are key to all our work and should be involved in all our decision making.

All regions of the province should be involved because everyone has valuable insights into their own unique situations – from northern First Nation communities to urban neighbourhoods and existing local anti-poverty groups.

Poverty elimination will require involvement and commitment from governments, business, community organizations and individuals. PFS values and promotes respect for all perspectives in its poverty elimination campaign."  more....
read more and please support....

Thursday 2 December 2010

Government fails to consult on changes to Human Rights Code

For Immediate Release     Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Government fails to consult on changes to the Human Rights Code

Without conducting any known prior consultation, and in contravention of international law, the Government of Saskatchewan introduced Bill 160 to the Legislature yesterday. The bill will abolish Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Tribunal, the province’s dedicated Human Rights adjudication body and appears to make it more difficult for society’s most vulnerable citizens to protect their Human Rights.

“Bill 160 represents the latest example of a provincial government that ignores international law and refuses to consult prior to introducing legislation affecting everyone in Saskatchewan,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President Larry Hubich. “Human Rights are the fundamental rights of all citizens and the Human Rights Code overrides all other laws in Saskatchewan. Thorough, public, and transparent consultations should be conducted before changes to the Code are even considered.”

The effects of the Bill are far-reaching and appear to consolidate with the Chief Human Rights Commissioner a number of unsettling powers. The proposed legislation seems to, for example, give the Chief Commissioner the power to dismiss Human Rights complaints at a whim and to force complainants to accept settlements offered by offenders.

“It is especially disturbing that consultations with the people of Saskatchewan were not conducted prior to the introduction of Bill 160, because it seems to make significant changes to the Human Rights Code of our province,” said Hubich, “changes that will impact the ability of many in Saskatchewan to have their stories heard.”

The amendments, if passed, will impose unreasonable deadlines for issuing a complaint on society’s most vulnerable. Requirements before a complaint can be heard have also been made more stringent. “It is unclear to us that any of the amendments will actually benefit victims of Human Rights violations,” said Hubich.

Not only does the introduction of Bill 160 continue the Government’s pattern of ignoring international law, but it also continues a pattern of striking against the most vulnerable in our society. The underprivileged victims of Human Rights violations will only face more obstacles.

“The Government should take Bill 160 off the table so that meaningful consultations can be conducted prior to any proposed change to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code.”
- 30 -

The SFL represents over 98,000 unionized workers across the province in 37 affiliated unions.
For more information, contact Heath Smith at (306) 539-6469

Download PDF version here....

CCPA: The Rise of Canada's Richest 1%

Check out the CCPA's newest publication by Armine Yalnizyan entitled: The Rise of Canada's Richest 1%.

"Richest 1% income shares at historic high

National Office
News Release
December 1, 2010
TORONTO – Canada’s richest 1% are taking more  of the gains from economic growth than ever before in recorded history, says a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
The Rise of Canada’s Richest 1% looks at income trends over the past 90 years and reveals the  46,000 privileged few who rank among the country’s richest 1% took almost a third (32%) of all growth in incomes between 1997 and 2007.
“That's a bigger piece of the action than any other generation of rich Canadians has taken,” says Armine Yalnizyan, CCPA senior economist and the report’s author.
“The last time Canada’s elite held so much of the nation’s income in their hands was in the 1920s. Even then, their incomes didn’t soar as fast as they are today. It’s a first in Canadian history and it underscores a dramatic reversal of long-term trends.”
Post-war, Canada became more equal with the rise of the middle class but by 2007, the richest 1% reversed equality trends, amassing incomes gains reminiscent of the 1920s."   Read more here....

Download complete report here....

Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership"


Gearing Up for the Big Issues

Gearing up for the big issues

At the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour’s 55th annual convention in October, nearly 1,000 delegates debated issues, expressed concerns, and reaffirmed the need for people to be active in their communities, promoting the values of those that live and work in our province.

On the heels of the largest convention in the history of the SFL, we have pulled together information on a number of issues important to people in our province.

Since the 2007 provincial election, the government has consistently made the lives of working people more difficult. They have:

• Made it harder for people to participate in democracy and to join unions.
• Taken away the rights of many working people to negotiate fairly with their employers.
• Taken away many people’s freedom to join a union of their choosing.
• Dissolved the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal.
• Ignored the United Nations’ directives to repair legislation that robs working people of their rights.

In order to shed some light on some of the issues that face working people, the SFL continues to conduct the labour issues campaign.

The 2010 portion of the campaign focused on four issues: the profitization of Saskatchewan’s crown corporations and public services, education, human rights, and healthcare.

Inside the December 2010 issue of the Labour Reporter you will find details about the labour issues campaign, including how to request information booklets and presentations for your local, organization, or group, as well as information about the track record of the provincial government on the issues important to people who live and work in Saskatchewan.

You will also find more details about the SFL’s 55th annual convention and an interview with newly-elected treasurer, SEIU-West’s Lori Johb.

I am honoured to have been elected to a fifth term as SFL president, and I will continue to act on the concerns of working people in Saskatchewan.

In Solidarity,
Larry Hubich

Friday 5 November 2010

Defending our Crown Corporations and Public Services

"For more than a century the Saskatchewan way of life has embraced public services and Crown Corporations. This includes parks, power, highways, and so much more.

Similar to the qualities of an oak tree, known for strength and versatility, Saskatchewan history is rooted in our Crowns and public services, which are owned and operated by the people."
Saskatchewan citizens need to know the facts about the government's intentions and actions to destroy these publicly owned institutions. Our Crowns and public services make our province the best place in Canada to live, work and raise a family.

Check out the SFL's new labour issues booklet entitled: Defending our Crown Corporations and Public Services

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Education: What's Happening in Saskatchewan?

The government is making serious changes and cuts to our public education system that target vulnerable children:
     - 75 % cut in Educational Assistant positions.

Government changes and cuts to our public education system are hurting Aboriginal people and students:
     - First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) funding: cut.
     - Aboriginal Employment Development Program: cut.
     - Tuition freeze lifted.
     - School contingency funding: cut.
     - School capital funding: cut.

What happens to the quality of education when it's handed to private business?

What happens to public health and safety when the government downgrades skills training?

Find the answers to these questions and more.  Download the SFL's new labour issues booklet:  Education: What's Happening in Saskatchewan

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Privatizing our highways is Dangerous Business

Heathcare... What's Happening in Saskatchewan?

The government is shifting healthcare services like surgeries into private hands 

Check out the SFL's new Labour Issues Booklet on Healthcare in Saskatchewan.

The government is contracting out surgeries to private, for-profit clinics like the Omni Surgery Centre in Regina.

Health Minister McMorris says the government is paying Omni about $1,500 per surgery performed at the clinic — he also claims it costs $1,700 for that same surgery to be performed in our hospitals.  The fact is that it costs $997 for day surgery in our hospitals, not $1,700. (Interprovincial Out-Patient Rates, April 1, 2010, Ontario Health Ministry).

Some people raise concerns that public healthcare is too expensive to administrate; however, contracting out surgeries to private clinics is going to add another whole layer of administrative responsibilities to the health regions. For example, health authorities have to assess who will be chosen as third-party deliverers, negotiate and manage contracts with those companies, and oversee budgets. (Third-Party Delivery Framework: Outpatient Surgery and Specialized Diagnostic Imaging, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, June 2010)

In CUPE’s legal challenge against contracting out surgeries and diagnostics in Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, Arbitrator Dan Ish ruled that, “Even if additional capital expenditures have to be made in the long term there is little doubt that the internal costs of carrying out both surgical and CT procedures would be less than the costs associated with the provision of those services by a third party if the costs are similar.” Arbitrator Dan Ish, September 29, 2010

Read more from the new SFL Healthcare booklet here.....

Private for-profit clinics

Monday 18 October 2010

Walmart Lobbies to Keep Factory Wages Under Two Cents |

Reproduced below is an article that appears on

Walmart Lobbies to Keep Factory Wages Under Two Cents

by Amanda Kloer October 14, 2010 02:00 PM (PT) Topics: Slave Labor.
Ever wonder how Walmart can afford to sell a pair of jeans for eight bucks? It's because workers at the factory in Bangladesh where the jeans are made earn a measly one-and-a-half cents for each pair they sew. To make matters worse, Walmart has been lobbying against a government-supported wage increase, which would bump the workers up to 35 cents an hour. It's time Walmart stopped exploiting the workers who make the clothes they sell.
The 2500 workers at the Anowara Apparels factory in Bangladesh spend all day sewing jeans, primarily for the Faded Glory brand of clothes sold at Walmart. They are 90% young women, some with families to support and others trying to simply scrape a living together. The women make between 11 and 17 cents an hour sewing jeans, and they're expected to produce at least ten pairs an hour. That means they make less than two pennies for each pair of jeans they sew. Recognizing the gross underpayment of these workers, the Bangladeshi government has suggested raising the minimum wage to 35 cents an hour. Walmart has responded by lobbying against Bangladesh's efforts to fairly compensate workers and decided to keep their staff living in abject poverty.
The employees of Anowara Apparels can't afford even basic living expenses on their salary of pennies an hour. They live in make-shift shacks, suffer from malnutrition, and have no source of heat other than burning wood. Dozens of workers and their families use a communal water pump for all their sanitation needs, from washing clothes and their bodies to drinking. The extra 17 cents per month would double these workers' salaries, and according to them, make a huge difference in their lives. Yet Walmart is trying to make sure that doesn't happen, so they can keep selling you $8.00 jeans at a high profit margin.
The story of Anowara Apparels is an example of the high price workers often pay for your discounts. Walmart isn't able to sell jeans for $8.00 because they're magical. They are able to sell jeans for $8.oo because they pay the women who make them less than two pennies a pair. So when you see a dirt cheap t-shirt, bargain basement shoes, or any other deal that's too good to be true, remember that it probably is. And what might be a great deal for you often ends up being a pretty raw one for someone else.
Tell Walmart that it's time to stop exploiting factory workers in Bangladesh and start paying them the minimum wage. Because some bargains come at far too high a human price.
Amanda Kloer has been a full-time abolitionist for six years. She currently develops trainings and educational materials for civil attorneys representing victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence.

Sunday 10 October 2010

One Day On Earth

Join us on 10.10.10 for an unprecedented event. Every Nation, 24 hours and You.

On October 10, 2010 (10.10.10), across the planet, documentary filmmakers, students, and inspired citizens will record the human experience over a 24-hour period and contribute their voice to the largest participatory media event in history.

Founded in 2008, ONE DAY ON EARTH is creating an online community, shared archive, and film. Together, we will showcase the amazing diversity, conflict, tragedy, and triumph that occur in one day. We invite you to join our international community of thousands of filmmakers, hundreds of schools, and dozens of non-profits, and contribute to this unique global mosaic. Through the One Day on Earth platform, we will establish a community that not only watches, but participates.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Sask. Party government thumbs its nose at United Nations-ILO

Six months ago the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) found the Sask. Party government guilty of violating the international human rights of Saskatchewan citizens by their introduction and passing of the anti-worker Bills 5 & 6.

In it's decision, the ILO called on the Wall government to (amongst other things):

- Hold full and specific consultations with unions at an early stage of considering any labour legislation...

- Take the necessary measures in consultations with unions to amend the Public Service Essential Services Act and Regulations...

- Consult with unions to ensure that a process is put into place to ensure that all social partners have confidence restored in the Labour Relations Board (LRB)...

To date, the government has complied with none of the recommendations and it's inaction continues to sully Saskatchewan's reputation on the international stage.

Recently, the government responded to a number of written questions about the ILO's recommendations which were tabled by the NDP opposition in the spring session. A summary of those questions and responses is reproduced below:

Question 1648: Has the Premier read the International Labour Organization decision?
Response: The Premier and cabinet have been briefed by the Minister responsible for Labour on the ILO Recommendations.

Question 1649: Has the Government of Saskatchewan been contacted by the federal government regarding the ILO decision and the request for the Government of Saskatchewan to report on its progress torwards implementing the recommendation?
Response: The Government of Saskatchewan will respond to the International Labour Organization through the Government of Canada in due course.

Question 1650: Has the Government of Saskatchewan informed the federal government of its intention to comply with the ILO decision?
Response: The Government of Saskatchewan is considering the non-binding recommendations of the International Labour Organization and will prepare a response in due course.

Question 1651: Will the Government of Saskatchewan comply with the ILO decision?
Response: The Government of Saskatchewan will reply to the non-binding recommendations of the International Labour Organization in due course.

Question 1652: Has the Government of Saskatchewan contacted the ILO to inform them of the government's intentions regarding the ILO decision?
Response: No. The Government of Saskatchewan will reply to the non-binding recommendations of the International Labour Organization through the Government of Canada in due course.

Question 1653: Has the Government of Saskatchewan contacted the union complainants to invite them to work with the government in complying with the ILO?
Response: No.

Question 1654: (1) Has the Premier given instructions to the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General to comply with the ILO decision? (2) If so, when? (3) If not, why not?
Response: (1) No. (2) N/A. (3) The Government of Saskatchewan remains confident that the various challenges now before the Labour Relations Board and the Courts will result in decisions that will confirm the Government has acted in a lawful manner.

Question 1655: What is your advice to this Legislative Assembly on whether we are going to be complying with the rule of law and international law as decided by the United Nations' ILO governing body?
Response: The Government of Saskatchewan is considering the non-binding recommendations of the International Labour Organization and will prepare a response in due course.
Would the Sask. Party government be ignoring a decision of a NAFTA panel, or the WTO if Saskatchewan was found guilty of violating an international trade agreement? I doubt it. So why the double standard when it comes to our international obligations respecting worker rights and human rights?

Privatization: The wrong direction for patients

Saturday 4 September 2010

Two-tier minimum wage discriminatory - young workers oppose training wage

Young workers speak out against a training wage
The Wall government recently implemented the Minimum Wage Board’s recommendation to freeze the minimum wage at $9.25. It will remain frozen until December 31st, 2011 when the next review takes place. So far Minister of Labour Relations & Workplace Safety Don Morgan is silent on one of the other Board recommendations: the proposed introduction of a training wage, set at 10 per cent lower than the current minimum wage. Under the recommendation, new hires would receive the lower wage for the first six months of each new job they start.

Young workers, aged 13 to 16, at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Summer Camp took a close look at the training wage recommendation, and produced the following petition and letters to the Minister.

Dear Members of the Legislative Assembly,

We the undersigned believe the recommendation allowing 90 per cent of pay for six months to minimum wage earners violates workers’ rights by discriminating against this group. This recommendation takes advantage of new workers, immigrants and low income families. These groups of people already live below the poverty line. If this recommendation were to pass, these groups would be further impoverished, leading to an increased separation between those who have money and those who do not.

Another problem with this recommendation is that it encourages employers to turn over their staff just before the six month period. The threat of being dismissed or laid off just before the six month period could be abused by the employer.

By putting this recommendation into place, what would our province be telling minimum wage earners? Is their labour less valuable than others? Are they second class citizens? Why do our leaders feel we can further exploit these groups?

By definition, the word minimum is as follows:
Minimum: the least quantity or amount possible, assignable, allowable, or the like.

By offering minimum wage earners less than the lowest possible amount, the Government proposes, by definition, a conceptual impossibility. We have the word ‘minimum’ in place in order to safeguard against lower wages. Please, as the Government of Saskatchewan, honour the standard you have put in place.

Sincerely, Avery and Darby, on behalf of the 53 SFL Summer Campers
Letter 1

Dear Mr. Minister of Labour,

My name is Shelby Z. I am 14 years old and I do not agree with the recommendation to create a lower training wage. I honestly believe that this recommendation could potentially let employers take advantage of new young workers. For example, the employer could hire new workers, wait until just before the six months is over, fire them, and then hire a new group of kids.

Another problem I have with this is the fact that you are going below minimum wage. Last time I checked, minimum is the minimum. It's the bottom. Why is the government going backwards? This recommendation has the possibility of putting off young people from working. Who would work for less than minimum? I know that I sure wouldn't.

What about single parents? It’s hard enough to have to juggle working and having a child. It's even harder to do that with less than minimum wage for the first six months. You also have to consider people looking for just a summer job. Summer lasts three months.

This also greatly affects new immigrants. As of right now, immigrants have a hard enough time living on minimum wage. Don't ask them to live even more poorly.

Please, sir. Consider the position of those whom this recommendation would affect. Don't tell them that the work they do is 10 per cent less valuable than others.
Sincerely, Shelby Z.
Letter 2

Dear Mr. Minister of Labour:
The SFL Summer Camp does not favour the recommendation of the Minimum Wage Board to create a training wage that is 90 per cent of the minimum wage. Minimum wage is minimum and should not be compromised. The wage is called minimum for a reason. The minimum wage was increased in March to meet rising costs in the economy. It should be left alone.
It definitely seems like this recommendation targets young people and/or immigrants working for minimum wage. These people are the most vulnerable because it may be their first job or their lack of English. You’re kicking them while they’re down.
The recommendation would greatly benefit the employer, so what are the employers giving back to the employees? A lot of teenagers are only looking for a summer job and summer is not six months. The proposal may say to some people that they are second-class citizens. It may be an insult to immigrants and young people. I hope you honour these requests, opinions, and ideas from the SFL Summer Camp.
Taylor G.
The young workers at SFL Summer Camp have interesting stories to tell about the kind of training they receive at work. Most had received very little on-the-job training; some had received no occupational health and safety training whatsoever. We know from Workers’ Compensation statistics that our youth are working in dangerous jobs. Thanks to the Wall government, they are also working as young as age 14. Let’s not further exploit our young workers, and our minimum wage earners who are already the lowest paid in the province, by implementing a discriminatory training wage.
Larry Hubich
SFL President

To download a copy of the Petition against the training wage, click here....

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Struggles span decades

Struggles span decades

(This is the lead article from the September 2010 issue of the SFL Labour Reporter)

What makes someone stand up for their rights?

For the unemployed men 75 years ago, it was relief camps that offered no ‘relief’. No work, no wages, and little hope of turning around their own situation, the On to Ottawa Trekkers made their way across the country. It was an act borne of destitution, riding on the coattails of courage.

The state resorted to using force to beat back the Trek’s progress, culminating in the Regina Riot. It is still aweinspiring 75 years later to recall the deep roots of workers’ uprising, right here in our province.

Because of workers’ struggles in the past, we can celebrate that we have decent work, and unionized jobs. But does the work pay the bills? Listen to the voices of the workers from Casino Regina, whose strike story reminds us all that an anti-worker government is determined to keep wages low in our entertainment industry and across the public service.

Indeed, public sector workers in healthcare and in all of our Crown corporations are facing substandard wage offers and concessions at the negotiating table. What lessons can we draw from the past about how to turn this around?

Let’s also pay close attention to the voices and experiences of our youth. Thanks to our government’s erosion of labour standards, children as young as 14 and 15 can now work. The teenagers at the SFL summer camp have concerns about getting proper training and working in a place where the employer plays by the rules. As parents, are we confident that our children’s health and safety rights are respected and enforced at work?

Can we count on employers to abide by labour standards, especially in the service industry where so many start out? The stories of our youth should renew our commitment to build the labour movement.

Past, present, future … the workers’ movement continues on. Let’s stand proudly on the shoulders of the workers who faced destitution and violence. Let’s build solidarity between all of us who are fighting a government who puts profit before people. Let’s empower our young workers to create safe workplaces and to advocate for fair and enforced labour standards and living wages for all.
Download complete PDF Version of the September issue by clicking here...

Monday 19 July 2010

Brad Wall government refusing to release recommendations of Minimum Wage Board

Check out the newest posting over on the Owls and Roosters Blog entitled: Wall government refusing to disclose latest Saskatchewan Minimum Wage Board report and recommendations.

As has become their signature, once again the secretive and anti-democratic Sask. Party government are making a lie of their often stated commitment to provide "open, transparent and accountable government".

Saskatchewan citizens (through their tax dollars) have paid for Brad Wall's "new" Minimum Wage Board to conduct a review of the minimum wage, and to make recommendations. We paid for it, and we have a right to see it.

We also have a right to full disclosure of all submissions made to the "Board" along with a complete and total disclosure of all costs associated with and incurred by the "Board" in holding meetings, hearings, and research and assistance in carrying out their function.

If Brad Wall is prepared to attempt to trot out some phoney excuses, or assert that the recommendations of the "Board" contain priviledged and confidential material - then he's trying to hide something. One can only conclude that there are things in that report that will embarass Brad Wall, his cabinet, his caucus, and his hand picked puppets on the Minimum Wage Board.

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Toronto G20 - The Shape of Things to Come - The Real News

Financiers back in their private jets, while peaceful citizens remain in cages: Linda McQuaig

Reproduced below (from is a column on the recent G20 meetings in Toronto by award winning author, journalist, and columnist Linda McQuaig:

(View source article here....)

Financiers back in their private jets, while peaceful citizens remain in cages

By Linda McQuaig

The violence of the mob was considerable, with hooligans smashing windows, looting stores and setting police cars ablaze.

I'm referring, of course, to the hockey riots in Montreal in April 2008, after the Montreal Canadiens' playoff victory over the Boston Bruins.

If you don't remember this thuggery -- or similar Montreal riots last month following another hockey victory -- it's probably because that violence wasn't used as an excuse to justify a massive police clampdown on a city.

What went on in Toronto last weekend -- as this usually vibrant city was put under virtual police lockdown -- went far beyond any necessary measures to preserve public order and protect world leaders at the G20 summit.

Could this massive display of force be an example of Stephen Harper's intense desire to control things, from the PMO right down to street protestors?

Certainly, when it comes to those who openly protest his policies, the Prime Minister appears determined to smother dissent at any cost, with little regard for their legal or civil rights.

Before the summit even began, Harper was clearly gearing up for a crackdown, with plans to spend $930 million on 19,000 police for the G20 (and smaller G8 summit in Huntsville).

This was stunningly out of line with how other big cities have handled G20 summits. Britain spent $28.6 million on 5,000 police to host the G20 in London in April 2009, while the U.S. spent a paltry $12.2 million on 4,000 police for the Pittsburgh G20 summit last September. Yet no world leaders were roughed up in London or Pittsburgh.

With Torontonians enraged by the exorbitant cost of arming their city to the teeth, the Harper government seemed determined to make it look necessary.

On Saturday afternoon, a number of black-clad hooligans broke from the peaceful march and began an outrageous rampage of vandalism through downtown Toronto. Despite a massive presence of police in the city core, hoodlums were able to smash shop windows unimpeded and leave police cars burning in front of TV cameras, creating the impression the city was dangerously under siege.

Police then moved forcefully, swooping up hundreds of people -- many of whom were obviously peaceful protestors, including some singing O Canada -- and holding them in deplorable conditions in cages at a makeshift detention centre.

As the Star reported, a veterinarian was woken at 4 a.m. by police pointing a gun at him in his High Park bedroom, as they searched for a protest organizer.

And Sunday evening, dozens of people who weren't even protesting -- including some whose apparent crime was waiting for a bus at Spadina and Queen Streets -- were detained on the street for four hours, much of it during a torrential downpour.

Meanwhile, even as his government hemorrhaged close to a billion dollars on "security" over the weekend, Harper pushed an agenda of austerity and deficit cutting at the G20.

This will mean brutal belt-tightening around the world, even though the deficits are clearly the result of the global recession triggered by the 2008 Wall Street meltdown. This connection is not lost on the G20 protestors, who see great injustice in the world's people being made to tighten their belts because of Wall Street's financial speculation.

With the top 25 hedge fund managers earning a combined $25.3 billion last year, Wall Street's bailed-out financiers are clearly back in their private jets -- while peaceful citizens protesting such injustice are locked up in cages.

Linda McQuaig is author of It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Trade unionists routinely murdered

It's clear to me that the right-wing, anti-union, hate based, shout radio type, media has desensitized many in the population to the routine murder of trade unionists. Last year, according to the newest release of the ITUC, 101 trade unionists were murdered.

And, unless I missed it, there is zero coverage of this in most of the mainstream media. You can bet if 101 bankers, or 101 CEOs were murdered last year this would be the lead story for a month.

Friday 11 June 2010

I will never buy another sandwich from Subway, EVER!

Photograph by: Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen

As a result of the firing of an employee from her job at a Subway in Dartmouth, N.S for giving her free employee lunch submarine sandwich to the vicitms of a fire, I will never buy another thing from Subway, EVER!

You can not treat decent hard-working folks this way and face no consequences.

StarPhoenix coverage see here: Subway employee fired for feeding fire victims

Friday 28 May 2010

Fostering intolerance and hatred

I rarely listen to Newstalk Radio, and equally rarely check their website, but recently I have been contacted by folks concerned about the hateful, demeaning, biased, and angry rants of one talk show host by the name of John Gormley.

Particularly, people have been raising his constant and relentless attack on unions as organizations, on their elected leaders, on their staff, and on their members. So, this past week, I've tuned in his show a couple of times, and I've been browsing the and websites.

The reports I have received are true. Mr. Gormley appears to be incapable of rational or respectful dialogue when it comes to the subject of unions. His comments are inflammatory, based on rhetoric and unsubstantiated stereotypes. It is obvious to me that he has an intense dislike of people exercising their constitutional right of freedom of association.

Mr. Gormley also does periodic segments called "60 Seconds with John Gormley". Reproduced below is a copy of the "" webpage with links to one such segment:

60 Seconds With John Gormley- May 25th, 2010
Play this Episode

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About this Episode

We can expect unions to break the law, but the government?

Even the caption is misleading and dishonest. "We can expect unions to break the law"? What evidence does Mr. Gormley or his station have to support such a conclusion or such a broad and sweeping statement? Unions don't break laws. Mark my words, if unions did routinely break laws as implied by Mr. Gormley the jails would be full of union leaders. The courts would be bogged down with case after case of unions violating the law.

But it simply is not true. The statement is a lie.

Sure, from time to time, someone who is a member of a union, or someone who works for a union will run afoul of the law - but that doesn't make every union, or every union member a law breaker. Or justify such an outrageous and inflammatory statement.

Mr. Gormley, and the station he works for are engaged in a campaign of inciting hatred against unions, hatred against union members, and of fostering intolerance.

Perhaps the RCMP should be investigating them.