Shared Risk? OMERS indexing dispute fits pattern of attacks

The Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System (OMERS) Sponsors Corporation Board of Directors will be voting on whether or not to scrap guaranteed indexing for members in favour of a proposal they call “Shared Risk,” on June 24.

OMERS is a defined benefit plan for about half a million municipal workers in Ontario, including school board and Children’s Aid Society employees, library workers, police, firefighters and paramedics. This is not the first time the plan have tried to push this cut on Ontario workers. In 2018, reported on a previous attempt by the pension fund to push for conditional indexing. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) campaigned against this change then, and they are fighting again now.

CUPE members represent 45% of the OMERS pension plan membership. spoke to the CUPE about their current campaign and what this change would mean for Ontario municipal workers.

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Essential but precarious: Toronto bike couriers fight for a union

Since Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced restaurants would stay open for takeout and delivery during the COVID19 pandemic, bicycle couriers have ben deemed “essential” workers.

Already a dangerous job, bicycle couriers working for food delivery apps like Foodora, Uber Eats, Doordash and Skip the Dishes have no sick leave, no health insurance. Now they’re part of a newly front line fleet of workers whose job helps people stay at home, and therefore contain the spread of the coronavirus. spoke with two Toronto couriers about what it’s like to work at this time.

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Ontario teachers begin one-day strike against Ford’s cuts

Today, members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) walk off the job to protest ongoing attacks to the education system by Doug Ford’s government. Key issues for the teachers’ job action include preserving jobs, lowering class sizes and rejecting mandatory e-learning courses for students.

The one-day province-wide walk-out will close secondary schools across the province. Though this is only a one-day strike, further job action is still “on the table” if an agreement is not reached with the province.

According to the OSSTF, this strike has been a long time coming.

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Ontario’s education workers inch closer to strike position

Last week, negotiations between the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ (CUPE) bargaining agent the Ontario School Board Council of Union (OSBCU) and the province move to mediation as bargaining makes no progress for the 55,000 education workers CUPE represents across Ontario. spoke with OSBCU President Laura Walton about the role of the government and Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) in the lack of progress in negotiations.

“We have done as much as we possibly can,” she says. “We have come up with solutions, we have heard concerns, we have offered alternatives. But we’re not willing to take less for our members who are already making less than they were making five years ago. We’re not willing to do that. And I don’t think the public undervalues us in the same way that we’re seeing from the government and or from the [CTA].”

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Bargaining stalled for Ontario’s education workers

On July 31, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) filed for conciliation after 10 days of bargaining with the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the provincial government. spoke with Laura Walton, President of CUPE’s provincial bargaining agent, the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), to discuss bargaining so far and the issues at stake for the 55,000 education workers they represent across Ontario.

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JFAAP to launch report on the rights of temp workers

Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP) will be launching their new report, Permanently Temporary, at an event in Toronto this evening. The community-led report details experiences of community members working with temporary employment agencies and the challenges they face as a result of their precarious working status. The report includes the anonymous accounts of current and former temporary workers along with analysis and recommendations from JFAAP.

JFAAP is a grassroots community organization operating in the ‘Jane and Finch’ area of northwest Toronto centered around the intersection of Jane Street and Finch Avenue West.

Read the full story at Rank and File.

Labour council presidents across Canada #UniteAgainstRacism

Thirteen labour council presidents from across Canada have signed onto an open letter calling for the theme of Labour Day 2019 to be #UniteAgainstRacism.

The letter was released by the Migrant Rights Network (MRN) as part of their ongoing anti-racism campaign. It calls for the labour movement to endorse the campaign by making #UniteAgainstRacism the theme for their Labour Day events, as well as participating in trainings and webinars about racism and migrant justice made available by MRN, and taking part in a national day of action on June 16.

Read the full story at Rank and File.

Human rights support centre workers fight back against provincial cuts

“Our thing is that, as front line work is being cut, overall it affects the people of Ontario being served. I mean, what are they to do? If they’re being discriminated [against] in a human rights matter, what do they do? It’s not just impacting our front line people, it’s impacting the people of Ontario. That’s why our slogan is Human Rights Matter because it should matter. It should matter to all Ontarians, to all people.”Angela Huynh-Chew, Legal Case Coordinator at the Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC), in an interview with

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Workers at Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto are fighting for decent pay

“The best thing about this whole process has been an awakening among the workers,” said Local 518 President Elizabeth Wickwire in an email to Rank and File. “It is from small moments like this that I think the broader movement for workers’ rights is built. So, when people talk about fighting ‘Doug Ford’ or other larger foes, I always think it begins here, in supporting the workers, even at an agency as small (but fierce) as ours.”

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Injured migrant workers: no healthcare and a ticket home

“Nobody cares about you”: Ongoing case of migrant farmworker Ralston Maise shows how system treats migrant workers as disposable.

During Injured Workers Week in Ontario, reports ran detailing the complete failure of the Workers’ Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to address the needs to injured workers. spoke to Ralston Maise about his experience with a workplace injury as a migrant farmworker in Ontario.

Read the full story at Rank and File.