Friday 23 September 2011

Know the issues, act on the facts.

In the October edition of the Labour Reporter you’ll find details about some of the things that we’ve been up to over the summer. You’ll have a chance to read about the recent SFL Summer Camp, the progress of Station 20 West, and the recent memorial for Nick Schaack. You’ll also find details about important issues including water, greenhouse gases, and other things to think about prior to the provincial election.

As the next provincial election swiftly approaches, it is extremely important for those of us that live and work in Saskatchewan to consider the issues that are important to us, and important to our families. An election is an important opportunity to discuss ideas and to make decisions about what we want our province’s future to look like.

There are some that say that in Saskatchewan unaccountable, unelected CEOs and their corporations should decide how our province is managed. Those same individuals believe that environmental standards aren’t as important as corporate profits, that regulations protecting working people’s safety aren’t as important as dividends for shareholders, and that the widening gap between the rich and everyone else isn’t as important as the bottom line.

There is another way, and it’s a proud part of our history in Saskatchewan. Instead of handing the keys to the province over to corporations, we can insist that our government keep our province in our own hands! We can insist that we decide what happens with our potash, our water, our conservation lands, and the rest of our beautiful province. The coming election is an opportunity for us to elect members of government that represent our shared values: cooperation, public ownership, and practical local solutions to complicated problems.

In order to help inform people about just some of the issues facing the people of Saskatchewan today, the SFL has ramped up our Labour Issues Campaign. Our sixth Labour Issues booklet, which deals with issues of the environment and the economy, is now available. In the coming days it will be increasingly important to order Labour Issues booklets, to send members to training sessions, or to order presentations. On November 7th let’s demand, with one clear voice, a government that puts the interests of Saskatchewan people first!
Download the October 2011 SFL Labour Reporter here.

Thursday 15 September 2011

Federation of Labour files legal argument in massive law suit against Sask. Party government

Over the summer months, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and 25 additional plaintiffs (SFL et al) filed their legal argument in the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench related to the Charter Challenge by the SFL et al against the Sask. Party government's unconstitutional anti-worker and anti-union legislation.  Legislation which the Wall government introduced and passed in late 2007 and early 2008.

In what is arguably the largest lawsuit ever filed by working men and women against a sitting government in Saskatchewan (and quite possibly Canadian) history, the SFL filed its 230-page legal argument and tendered thousands of pages of evidence.

In support of the SFL et al's case, three additional intervenor unions filed thousands more pages of argument and evidence.  The arguments of the intervenor unions re-inforced that the ill-conceived Bill 5 and Bill 6 violate workers constitutional rights as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The intervenor unions are:  Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE); Service Employees International Union - West (SEIU-West); and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN)

In addition to the Charter Challenge, the SFL and the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU) won a case in March 2009 wherein the Sask. Party government was found guilty of violating Saskatchewan workers international human rights by the United Nations International Labour Organization . 

The ILO requested that the Sask. Party government take action to repair the offending legislation in consultation with representatives of the labour movement.  The government has steadfastly refused to comply with the ILO ruling and refuses to meet with the labour movement to discuss the matter.

This historic Charter Challenge case will be heard in the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench from November 14 - 25th, 2011.

Download PDF's of the unions' legal arguments below:

1.  SFL et al argument
2.  CUPE argument
3.  SEIU-West argument
4.  SUN argument

Monday 5 September 2011

Saskatchewan People Set to Celebrate Labour Day - 2011

News Release

Saskatchewan People Set to Celebrate Labour Day

On Monday, September 5th, people across Saskatchewan, of many backgrounds and traditions, spanning several generations, and representing a variety of occupations and professions, will gather together to celebrate Labour Day. Originally a day to commemorate the struggle of working people to reduce the workday to eight hours, Labour Day is an important opportunity not only to celebrate, but also to renew commitments to improving people’s quality of life.

“Labour Day is an extremely important day,” said Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, “not only for the women and men that work in Saskatchewan and across the country, but for all people who now benefit from the efforts of working people. Working people from Saskatchewan have been instrumental in creating many of the things in our society that all people hold dear today: Medicare, pensions, quality education, and laws regarding health and safety, just to name a few.”

First observed as a Canadian national holiday in 1894, Labour Day is now observed in a number of countries across the globe every year. Celebrations typically include barbeques, picnics, and parades, complete with singing, storytelling, and speeches from community leaders.

“As important as it is to celebrate what we have achieved as working people and as a society, it is also important to view Labour Day as an opportunity to renew our commitment to improving the quality of life for the people of the province. We believe that it is always possible to improve upon what we’ve already achieved in our province, and Labour Day is an opportunity to recommit to making those improvements. As the economic gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to strive to improve upon the things that make Saskatchewan a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

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The SFL represents over 98,000 unionized workers across the province in 37 affiliated unions.