ON THE LEVELApril 99
April 16, 1999 excerpts
Advocate, Educate, Organize
...our union represents workers from all cultural backgrounds. The issue of gender also is very mainstream in our union. Not only do we have an increase in female construction carpenters, but an increase in industrial organizing means a much more representative membership as far as gender is concerned.
Considering that the government initiatives around the province all include some form of employment equity as well as minimal skill levels to be eligible for employment, it seems fairly obvious that our union has to do a better job of educating our members on these issues. Couple this with the fact that some of the government agencies have been somewhat reticent to date in enforcing their own policies, and it makes our responsibility even greater.
It seems to me that our union not only has to advocate these issues on behalf of our present members but also, if we hope to have real success in organizing that huge cross section of unemployed workers, has to carry our responsibility into that sector as well. To that end, the Education Committee is looking at expanding the harassment and human rights section of steward training as well as including a diversity component in other training courses offered by the Union.
Thats how we see it from this corner,
Len Embree, President, BC Provincial
Council of Carpenters
April 28th: LABOURS OFFICIAL DAY OF MOURNING
In 1984, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Executive Council formalized the trend of observing an annual day of remembrance for workers killed and injured on the job. The aim of the Day of Mourning is to remember our commitment to fight for the living as well as mourn for the dead.
In the United States, the AFL-CIO has adopted April 28th as the Workers Memorial. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) has organized the fourth International Day of Mourning in Madrid, Spain, April 28, 1999, and is encouraging other European countries to plan their
own events. The ICFTU will be focusing this year on the plight of female workers in workplaces around the world.
Did you know:
-1 Canadian worker out of every 15 is injured at work
-1 occupational injury occurs every 9.2 seconds of time worked
-1 worker out of 32 is injured severely enough to miss at least one day of work
-1 worker in 18,210 died from an occupational injury
-3 occupational fatalities occur every working day
-The ICFTU estimates that some 334,800 workers die and 160 million others contract diseases each year throughout the world
Lost time injury claims have jumped from 38 percent of all claims in 1970 to an all time high of 51 percent in 1995, meaning that injuries on the job have become more severe.
New rates set for HCL agreement
For the first time since the Highway Constructors Ltd. agreement was first negotiated in early 1984, the Highway and Related Construction Council has been successful in negotiating an increase to the wage package. The trades have agreed to accept 5 per cent over the next 3 years, or as Dave Flynn, BC Provincial Council secretary treasurer terms it, Five per cent over eight years on a decidedly inferior package to begin with.
For Carpenters, the Fair Wage rate is 21.62 per hour. With the HCL pension/benefits contribution of $2.985 it made an initial package of $24.605 per hour for carpenters working on highway projects--which came into effect in 1994.
The current Carpenter standard agreement pension/benefit contribution is $3.535 and the standard agreement wage rate has climbed to $24.46 per hour, totaling $27.995, nearly $3.40 more than HCL.
Say No to Corporate Greed
Carpenters, Teamsters, CUPE, IWA, Longshore, Steelworkers, BCFL, are all helping the tiny Projectionists Union IATSE Local 348 in their fight with corporate giants Sony and Viacom.
Sony-Viacom, in an obvious move to crush the union locked out all 64 of their projectionists when the workers refused to knuckle under to a demand for a 60 per cent rollback over three years. The owners are demanding elimination of the union security and job security provisions of the contract. They are even demanding the elimination of Boxing Day as a stat holiday. These two companies have successfully broken their unionized workers in the US and in Eastern Canada and are trying hard to crush their western counterparts. Please support the strike effort and respect the picket line. Dont go to the movies at Famous Players or Cineplex Odeon unless you go to help out on the picket line.
Union grabs projectionist war chest
Vancouver Province, Friday, June 4, 1999
by Christina Montgomery
Sixty B.C. projectionists locked out of their jobs for six months were staggered yesterday to learn the massive defence fund they've been using to bankroll their fight has been taken over by the U.S. headquarters of their union. The men, who earn between $18 and $31 an hour, have refused a wage cut of 60 percent proposed to them by movie giants Cineplex Odeon and Famous Players.
And they've banked on what are believed to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds contributed by local members to see them through the battle.
The prolonged action by members of Local 348 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees has put them at odds with their New York-based international, which has seen other Canadian locals settle for similar cuts in the past decade and has said the holdout by B.C. members has created problems for talks elsewhere.
Yesterday a temporary, week-long trusteeship declared by the international was made official - formally moving control of the defence and benefit accounts out of the hands of the local, unpaid officers.
The international is now also in a position to negotiate a contract without the members' approval.
Although lockout cheques are being issued, members attempting to be reimbursed for benefits - dental bills for example - can't collect. Also at risk are some $12 million in pension funds. Concern about the international's intentions prompted the prospect of a run on the fund.
Local president Damon Faulkner - who would say only that the defence fund is "substantial" - also said that without access to their money, members are now personally footing the legal bill for a B.C. Supreme Court suit filed against the international.