CUPE organizing Ontario strike to protest pension law
Angered at proposed legislation affecting the pensions of municipal workers in Ontario, the Canadian Union of Public Employees is organizing a province-wide strike if the government passes the law as planned this month. The legislation would change the way the OMERS pension plan is governed and also opens the door to more generous supplementary benefits for police and fire employees than for other members of the plan, including childcare workers, janitors, garbage collectors, and librarians.
“We’re telling the Premier, listen to the municipalities, the school boards, and the unions who are all opposed to Bill 206 and the way it discriminates against women and lower paid workers,” said CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan.
Strike votes across the province have yielded strong support for strike action.
Heart disease linked to unfair treatment at work
A recent study found that workers whose employers treat them unfairly are 30 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease than other workers. The study, conducted by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, tracked 6,400 make workers over ten years and controlled for other risk factors, such as age, socioeconomic status, cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption and physical activity.
UPS challenges Canada Post
The futrue of Canada’s public post office is being decided by a private trade tribunal operating from the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., which is looking at a complaint filed by the United Parcel Service. The private courier company is using Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement to demand $185 million in compensation from the Canadian government, claiming its investments are being limited by Canada’s publicly funded network of mailboxes and post offices.
“If UPS wins, Canada Post may opt to get out of the courier business, which would spell disaster for the longer term financial viability of Canada Post,” says Canadian Union of Postal Employees national president Deborah Bourque.
Trade lawyer Stephen Shrybman, who represents CUPW and the Council of Canadians, adds that, if the claim is successful, “the case is likely to open the floodgates to claims by other U.S. companies seeking tobreak into the health care or water service markets in Canada.”
Microsoft shuts down Chinese strike supporter’s blog
Associated Press reported in early January that Microsoft shut down a blogger in China who had written sympathetically about a one-day strike at the Beijing News. Microsoft was complying with a request from the Chinese government. “When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms,” company spokesperson Brooke Richardson told AP. Meanwhile, Google has launched a censored version of its search engine in China, AFP reported in February.