IKEA Demanding a Two Tier Wage Structure
- Published on Thursday, 18 July 2013 18:11
Please Don't Shop at IKEA
- Published on Tuesday, 18 June 2013 22:07
Below is an important and informative announcement from the BC Federation of Labour.
Bosses have been trying to implement two tier wage schedules for years and they always lead to problems. The RWU has consistently told the bosses at bargaining that two tiers are nonstarters for collective bargaining.
To: Ranking Officers
RE: Do not patronize IKEA in Richmond or Coquitlam
Sisters and Brothers:
On May 13, 2013 management at the Richmond IKEA locked out the nearly 350 members of Teamsters 213 who work at that location.
IKEA has shown its determination to succeed and a willingness to break the Labour Law, having already been found in violation of the Labour Code provisions, preventing the use of replacement workers.
IKEA is not a franchised company. The Richmond and Coquitlam IKEA locations are both owned by the parent company, whose owners are among the wealthiest 100 families in the world.
I am writing today to make it be clear that customers choosing to patronize the Coquitlam location, while the strike is on at the Richmond location, are assisting the company in breaking the strike.
The issue is the imposition of a tiered wage structure. Despite the Richmond location being highly profitable, management is seeking to impose significant wage cuts on the majority of its work force. Five years ago, the Teamsters fought the tiered wage structure and won.
Tiered wage structures such as the one proposed by IKEA poison work sites, creating resentment between co-workers. Moreover, they contribute to the part-timing of work, as management seeks to take advantage of the new, lower wage categories.
Please inform your members of this ongoing dispute and ask them to not patronize either BC IKEA location until the dispute is resolved fairly and to the satisfaction of the Teamsters and its IKEA members.
I will notify you if the dispute changes significantly or a settlement is reached.
Sent by: Marisha Zuckerman, Executive Secretary
B.C. Federation of Labour
#200 - 5118 Joyce Street
Vancouver, BC V5R 4H1
visit our website at www.bcfed.ca
Unions Under Attack
- Published on Thursday, 13 June 2013 22:54
It should come as no surprise to any working person that Unions are increasingly being targeted by right wing governments and company sponsored think tanks.
In the United States we have seen the emergence of draconian legislation that seeks to further erode hard won bargaining rights. We have started to hear rumblings that governments in Canada are prepared to follow suit. Unfortunately for many workers both Union and nonUnion there is a disconnect between politics and work. We regular hear our members refusing to get involved at any level. The simple act of ordering a lawn sign is a brdge too far. Lawn signs can be ordered from a candidate's office online. Volunteers put the sign on your front lawn during the election campaign and then come and pick it up after voting day. How much simpler could it be?
Unfortunately many nonUnion workers mistake the attack against Unions as an isolated fight. There is no doubt that when working conditions decline for organized workers the results will be even worse for those who don't have any rights at work. Union members can help the cause by being proud of their Union and telling others that they are proud to be part of the Retail Wholesale Union.
There are plenty of interesting and amusing websites that can provide inspiration and amusement for anyone interested in learning more about Unions and what can be done to support them.
The best way to fight back against the attack on Unions is to get involved at some level. Whether it is ordering a lawn sign over the internet or just discussing the benefits of being in a Union with friends and family those who make the effort to get involved will find the process very empowering.
Please make an effort to help out where you can.
Thanks to Labor411 for the cartoon below.
Colombian Sugar Workers
- Published on Thursday, 28 March 2013 22:23
Take Action Today: Sugar Cane Workers in Colombia in Jeopardy
Hundreds of sugar cane workers at the Cabaña plantation and sugar mill in Colombia face new threats of violence and murder. Take Action Now.
Workers have faced threats of violence ever since they formed the union in November 2012. A key leader of the union, Juan Carlos Perez Muñoz, was murdered on January 28, 2013.
Workers reported this week that plain clothes security guards, employed by the company, have boarded buses that carry workers to the plantation, and with guns in hand, have threatened to kill workers if they support the union and join a peaceful protest that started on March 6.
The company has military installations on its premises. Its own armed private security guards were recently bolstered by the arrival of anti-riot national police.
Workers organized the union last fall to protest long days, wages below prevailing local wage, no vacation pay, and no overtime. The company responded by effectively firing nearly 100 union members, including the entire executive committee of the union. More workers have since been fired and another 500 have been forced to disaffiliate in order retain their jobs.
The Cabaña mill is one of the two last hold outs among a dozen sugar mills in the Cauca region that have not ended the practice of using third party contractors, a key abuse targeted in the Colombia Labor Action Plan signed in April 2011. Following a major strike in 2008, most other sugar mills in the region agreed to hire their workers directly. The Cabaña sugar mill, however, has continued to use intermediaries who employ workers on short-term contracts under far worse conditions, prompting the formation of the union last fall.
The union reports that for nearly four months it had been asking the Ministry of Labor to enforce laws banning intermediation but there was no response even as workers were being fired, forced to disaffiliate to keep their jobs, and threatened with violence and intimidation. Only when the union threatened in early March to strike did the Ministry respond, with the Vice Minister convening a meeting on March 4 at which the government asked for more time and failed to take any concrete action other than promise to investigate the situation within one week. As of March 20, the workers had not heard anything from the Ministry of Labor.
On March 5, the union voted overwhelming to strike but the serious threat of violence and lack of confidence in the government have forced most union members to stay on the job while peaceful protests are carried out by the fired workers.
The union is affiliated to Sintrainagro, the largest private sector union in Latin America, which represents thousands of other sugar workers in the region.
Take Action. Contact the Colombian Government to urge it to end violence against these workers and ensure respect for their basic rights.
RWU Loses Brother Tod Brucker
- Published on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 19:52
The Retail Wholesale Union suffered a big loss on February 21st when long time shop steward Tod Brucker passed away. Brother Brucker had been battling cancer since last year and he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Tod worked at Viceroy Homes since shortly after the Union was certified in 1998 and during that time he served as a shop steward and on numerous bargaining committees.
Tod was also a family man. As a devoted husband and father of six you didn't have to speak to Tod for very long before the conversation turned to his family and what they were up to.
I had the privilege of working closely with Tod over the years and I always looked forward to being entertained and enlightened by his wonderful sense of humour.. He was the type of person who could lighten up a room just by strolling in.
Current Local 580 Outside Guard and Viceroy Plant Chair Keith Halovich was also lucky enough to have worked with Tod for many years. Since his passing Keith and I have shared many stories regarding Tod's exploits. As sad as we are our conversations have invariably ended in laughter and we know Tod would be delighted to know that he is keeping us entertained even after his passing, The rest of the Viceroy Committee and the RWU office staff also have their favourite Tod stories.
The entire RWU staff would be laughing when Tod would call up and ask to speak to the "Hammer". Only once did he have to explain the he meant Shawn "the Hammer" Lakusta. After that I acquired a new nick name. He always had a kind word for the staff when he called.
Tod was fiercely loyal to the RWU. One of the enduring memories that I have of him is when during some very difficult bargaining another Union came sniffing around looking to raid the RWU. Tod called me immediately after having told the raiders where to go. On my next visit to Viceroy the raiders in their distinctive green jackets were still hanging around. I'll never forget the sight of Tod charging out of the front doors camera in hand and yelling "there they are" as he attempted to get their pictures. The raiders turned tail and ran to their car never to be seen again.
Tod loved to golf and he was really at home on the course. He registered for the RWU's Shop Steward Appreciation Golf Tournament last year but he had to withdraw when struck by illness. He called me and expressed a desire to attend just to hang around and he was advised that his presence in any form would be more than welcomed. Unfortunately he was not well enough to attend on that day and his absence was felt by all who knew him. Plans are already under way to honour Tod in a suitable way at this year's tournament.
Tod at home on the golf course with good friend and caddy for the day Local 580 Outside Guard and Viceroy Homes Plant Chair Keith Halovich.
Thanks for being a great friend and Union brother. You will be missed by all the people whose lives you touched.
Solidarity Forever Brother,
RWU Provincial Representative