In this issue:
• Holiday greetings and wishes for the year ahead
• Upcoming 2023 events
• Unionized Telus workers take action across Canada for a fair contract
• Employers and governments must act to end gender-based violence at work
• New council to help build more resilient forestry communities
• Thousands of workers are demanding better
• Happy retirement to Dorothy Lampshire and Denise Manz
• 121 food banks across Canada receive $242,250 from the Steelworkers Humanity Fund
• Skate to where the puck is going
• Welcome Sarah Hall!
• David Ellis Scholarship Recipient 2022
• Be the Change YYC: Steelworkers answer the call
• Lethbridge West Starbucks workers file application to join Steelworkers union
• In pictures: District 3 school in Kimberley, B.C.
• Federal initiative on anti-scab law is good news for Canadian workers: Steelworkers
• 2022 CFLPA and USW Grey Cup kids camp
• Steelworkers lobby for change for workers
• Remembering Troy Cook
• In pictures: District 3 Staff & Leadership Education Conference
• & more!
Holiday greetings and wishes for the year ahead
Sisters, Brothers and friends,
This year, we have done a lot across District 3. We tested our democracy, and it passed the test. We started to engage local leaders and members in new ways. We lobbied and achieved legislative gains for workers and our members. We are bargaining good contracts and winning in the workplace to ensure members are safe and their rights respected. We have organized in new sectors, like Starbucks, and in traditional sectors like mining and sawmilling. And, we are engaging in discussions about the future of our jobs, our industries and our economy, with workers at the centre of those discussions.
We have a great, growing and evolving staff. Added to the strong local leaders and representatives in our local unions, we are collectively making a difference in our workplaces, communities and in our provinces and country as well.
Looking forward, there are many things to do. In addition to bargaining good contracts and defending the rights of our members day-to-day, there are things that are critical to achieve in 2023.
We have to continue to organize workers at Starbucks, so we have enough members to allow them to find a place in our union and establish bargaining on a scale that will transform and sustain those jobs as safe and able to support people in the face of rising costs of living.
Across the District, we are working on our organizing plan for next year, but also looking forward 2, 3 and 5 years at mining and other major targets that will be part of the future economy. Forestry, healthcare, telecommunications and other sectors where we have existing membership continue to be the foundation of our organizing plans.
Another important goal for 2023 will be to build new relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities and nations across Western Canada. We have seen this can make real, meaningful economic progress for working people, and for rural and resource-based communities. To help us engage, understand and work with Indigenous communities, we are proud and pleased to be adding an Indigenous Engagement Coordinator position in District 3, starting January 1.
In 2023, Steelworkers will work hard to elect worker-focused governments in Alberta, under Rachel Notley, and in Manitoba, under Wab Kinew. I recently had the privilege to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new B.C. NDP Premier, David Eby. Workers in B.C. have seen the value in having a government that cares about working people and I’m confident that will continue under the new Premier. And, we need that kind of government – one that will enhance worker rights, improve worker safety and health laws and take steps to make life more affordable for our families – in other provinces.
In the New Year, District 3 will establish a vibrant and active Human Rights Committee. We need more voices from the 2SLGTBQIA+ community and more racialized workers in leadership positions. More diverse USW members need to be able to take space and take the stage to help us move ahead, stronger, more inclusive and more united.
Finally, it is important that we increase our efforts to keep our workplaces healthy and safe, free of injuries, harassment and bullying and certainly free from work-related deaths. This is not a new goal, but one that we have to continue to set: no worker should ever be seriously injured or killed for doing their job.
The strength of our union is our history, our fight and our solidarity. We all know there are challenges and setbacks. We don’t win every time, but there is every reason to believe that we are back on the right path, and making progress.
Next year will be better than last and if we keep up the fight and stick together, we can make life just a little bit better for our members and all working people, in 2023 and beyond.
Happy holidays and the best of the season to all Steelworkers in District 3, to your families and loved ones, and to working people everywhere.
Scott Lunny, Director
Unionized Telus workers take action across Canada for a fair contract
Unionized Telus workers, who are members of USW Local 1944, are rising up to demand a fair contract and held a series of public awareness actions across Canada.
“After the last few rounds of concessionary contracts with Telus, our members have had enough. Members are taking action right across the country to demand a fair contract,” said Donna Hokiro, USW Local 1944 president.
USW members leafleted Telus stores in Vancouver, Burnaby and Calgary to bring awareness to their bargaining and the work members do here in Canada. In Vancouver, USW members were joined by other labour activists attending the B.C. Federation of Labour convention.
Members also leafleted the Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto to highlight the need to keep telecom jobs in Canada. The famous USW International Bat Light was prominently projected on landmarks in the Greater Toronto area, including the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower, as well as at the Canadian Telecom Summit and on the Telus towers in downtown Toronto and Scarborough.
In December, members took their message to Parliament Hill in Ottawa while meeting with Members of Parliament about the Canadian telecom industry and the work USW members do across the country. In the weeks to come, there will be more actions at Telus stores in communities across Canada.
“I strongly believe that we can secure a fair contract – but it’s really up to Telus to remove their unfair concessionary demands. At a time when the company is pulling in massive profits, Telus can afford to give their workers more job security and wage increases,” said Hokiro.
The two parties have been in negotiations since October 2021, and members have been without a contract since December 31, 2021. In early October, Telus workers overwhelmingly voted to give their union a 97% strike mandate.
It’s time for Telus to do right by its workers. Sign on if you agree at usw.ca/telus.
Employers and governments must act to end gender-based violence at work
At this time of year, we remember the 14 women murdered at l’École polytechnique de Montréal on December 6, 1989, and all others who have lost their lives to gender-based violence.
The USW is joining with unions and social-justice organizations around the world to mark the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 10 – including Dec. 6, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women – we amplify our demand for an end to the violence.
We demand that governments act to end gender-based violence at work. This violence often takes the form of harassment and disproportionately impacts women, two-spirit, trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming workers.
Employers must ensure a safe and healthy workplace. And the federal government must put in place a concrete plan to ratify and implement the new international convention, C-190, to eliminate violence and harassment from the world of work.
An injury to one is an injury to all!
For more resources, visit: usw.ca/dec6-2022
New council to help build more resilient forestry communities
Earlier this fall, the B.C. government convened a new advisory council in support of forestry workers and communities.
“As someone who has worked in forestry and lives in a forestry community, I know personally how vital the sector is for our province,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests at the time. “It is a foundation of the B.C. economy, providing good, well-paying jobs for over 55,000 people. As the major employer in many communities, it is the lifeblood of rural economies. Our vision is to build stronger, more resilient forestry communities and create new economic opportunities through innovative, value-added manufacturing. The council will help ensure we get this right.”
The Forestry Worker Supports and Community Resiliency Council will advise the Province on improvements to existing programs and the development of new, forward-looking initiatives aimed at supporting forestry workers and the economic resiliency of rural communities. The council will assist government in ensuring programs are targeted, effective and responsive to community needs and priorities.
Chaired by the Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, the council includes 18 members from broad sectors of B.C., including local government, Indigenous communities, forest industry and labour representatives, academics, and non-governmental organizations.
USW District 3 Director, Scott Lunny, has been appointed to the advisory council.
Read the full release at usw.to/4bz.
Thousands of workers are demanding better
Working people are Alberta’s greatest resource – and, now that all the political players are in place, the concerns and issues of workers need to be the focus of all parties in the upcoming Alberta provincial election.
The Alberta Federation of Labour’s “Workers Demand Better” campaign aims to force all political parties to stop talking endlessly about fights with Ottawa and the grievances of fringe extremists and, instead, focus on the issues that really matter to Alberta workers.
The list of worker priorities championed by the campaign will include: jobs and the economy, especially in the context of the unfolding global energy transition; inflation and the cost of living; quality public services, including health care and education; worker rights, including the freedom to join unions, bargain collectively and strike; and workplace health and safety in the context of COVID-19.
It’s time for workers in Alberta to get a better deal. WorkersDemandBetter.ca
USW District 3 wishes long-time staff members Dorothy Lampshire, Secretary to the Director, and Denise Manz, Support Staff in Regina, a very happy and well-deserved retirement. Thank you for all you have done for our members.
121 food banks across Canada receive $242,250 from the Steelworkers Humanity Fund
The Steelworkers Humanity Fund is contributing $242,250 to 121 food banks and community organizations across Canada. This includes $77,500 donated to food banks and community organizations across USW District 3 in Western Canada.
Soaring inflation rates have left many struggling to make ends meet. Food banks all over the country are reporting increasingly high numbers of new users. Many of them have no other choice in order to feed themselves and their families.
“The use of food banks in Canada is becoming more and more common, even in this era of record low unemployment rate,” said Marty Warren, President of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund. “This new normal should not be acceptable.”
“The multiple causes behind the spiralling price of daily staples, especially food, can only be tackled with bold action in favour of social justice. This is why our union and our allies will continue to push tirelessly for decent living and working conditions for everyone,” Warren added.
“In the meantime, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund tries to address some of the most pressing needs in communities from coast to coast to coast through its annual donations to food banks and community organizations.”
Donations made within District 3:
Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs – Armstrong Food Bank. $1,500
Samaritan House Ministries $1,000
Union Protein Project $7,000
Calgary Interfaith Food Bank $3,000
Community Harvest Food Bank Castlegar $2,000
Cranbrook Food Bank $2,000
Crowsnest Pass Food Bank Society (Blairmore) $750
Edmonton Gleaners Assocation $3,000
Elkford Food Bank $2,500
Salvation Army Fernie, BC $750
Lord’s Bounty Inc. Flin Flon $1,000
Golden Food Bank $1,000
High Level Native Friendship Centre $1,000
Salvation Army Houston $1,000
Columbia Valley Food Bank $1,000
Kamloops Food Bank and Outreach Society $3,000
Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank $1,000
Lac du Bonnet and Area Food Bank $1,000
Salvation Army (Langley) $1,000
Moose Jaw & District Food Bank $1,000
Prince Albert Food Bank $1,000
Salvation Army Port Alberni $2,000
Powell River Action Centre Society $1,000
St Vincent De Pauls Food Bank Prince George $3,000
Regina and District Food Bank $3,000
Saskatoon Food Bank $1,500
Selkirk Food Bank $1,000
Sparwood Food Bank $2,500
Surrey Food Bank Society $2,000
Salvation Army Food Bank – Thompson Corps $3,000
Salvation Army Food Bank Tisdale $1,000
Salvation Army Food Bank (Trail Corps) $2,000
Trail United Church Food Bank $2,000
New Life Assembly Tumbler Ridge $1,000
Greater Vancouver Food Bank $3,000
Salvation Army Williams Lake $1,000
Winnipeg Harvest Inc. $3,000
Salvation Army Weyburn $1,000
Campbell River Food Bank $1,000
Comox Valley Food Bank $1,000
Cowichan Valley Basket Society $1,000
Ladysmith Food Bank $1,000
Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes $1,000
Port Hardy Harvest Food Bank $1,000
Terrace Churches Food Bank $1,000
100-Mile House Food Bank $1,000
Skate to where the puck is going
Earlier this fall, the Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL) released “Skate to Where the Puck is Going,” an industrial blueprint that re-imagines the province’s energy economy and offers a bold vision for creating 200,000 good-paying jobs while maintaining significant employment in the oil and gas sector.
The report describes seven “missions” that will transform the Alberta economy. The most significant is transitioning the oil and gas sector from producing feedstock for refining fuels like gasoline to producing feedstock for materials manufacturing like carbon fibre. This includes manufacturing products from captured CO2. Other missions include a huge build out of the Alberta power sector, needed because abundant, clean, low-cost electricity is the foundation of the 21st century economy; establishing a battery metal refining and processing sector for the North American EV industry; and building a world class hydrogen sustainable fuels sector that will support innovation in other industries while providing a new export product.
“It is also time for other stakeholders to sit at the table when decisions are made,” said Gil McGowan, president of the AFL. “Labour, Indigenous communities, civil society leaders, landowners, all make an important contribution to the economic life of this province and they deserve to have a say for a change.”
“With this report, the AFL is not just tweaking the status quo. We are calling for the provincial government to lead a substantive re-engineering of the Alberta economy. The global energy system and the international economy are changing at breakneck speed and we must keep up, we must compete, and we must create a better life for the working men and women of this province.”
Read the full report here: usw.to/4bL.
Be the Change YYC: Steelworkers answer the call
Be the Change YYC is a street outreach organization in Calgary that helps people who are homeless or living in precarious situations. They hand out supplies to people living on the streets in downtown Calgary ranging from food and drinks to tents and sleeping bags and pretty much everything in between.
Recently, the organization had a mouse problem that destroyed thousands of donations. They put out a callout to the community that they were in desperate need of shelving.
Home Depot donated some gift cards and the USW Southern Alberta Labour Council donated the remainder of the money needed to purchase three large shelving units. Members from Evraz, USW Local 6673, volunteered to assemble them.
During the Southern Alberta Area Council meeting and Holiday Dinner, USW raised over $5,000 for Be the Change YYC including $2,500 from SAAC, $2,500 from District 3 and the rest through a 50-50 draw.
Welcome Sarah Hall!
USW District 3 is pleased to welcome Sarah Hall to the Burnaby office. Sarah is our new Executive Administrative Assistant replacing Dorothy Lampshire. In her role, she will provide integral administrative and operational support to the Director and Assistant to the Director.
Sarah comes to the USW from MoveUP where she worked as the Administrative Work Leader, leading a team of admin staff and previously worked with CUPE 391 as an Administrative Assistant.
David Ellis Scholarship Recipient 2022
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to express my gratitude to you for choosing me as one of this year’s recipients of the David Ellis Scholarship. I was very excited to learn of my selection for this award and I appreciate your support throughout my academic journey. I will be using this award towards my education. It will help me accomplish my dream of becoming a pharmacist someday. I will continue to apply and promote these health and safety measures as I continue my academics and in future employment opportunities.
Lethbridge West Starbucks workers file application to join Steelworkers union
USW Local 1-207 applied with the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) for a certification vote on behalf of Starbucks workers at the Lethbridge West Starbucks store.
“Despite the barriers that Starbucks and the UCP government have put in the way of workers trying to join a union, the baristas at the Lethbridge West Starbucks store have been persistent in their effort to achieve better working conditions,” said Pablo Guerra, a USW organizer for Western Canada.
“I’m very proud of these workers for holding the line and not backing down after their first unionization vote. It’s been a long road to get here today, but I am confident these workers will finally have a union that will work for them. This application sends a clear message to Starbucks management that it’s time to listen to their workers and involve them in decision-making processes that impact workers and their livelihoods,” added Guerra.
The certification application applies to 24 workers at the Lethbridge West store (store #4628), located at 550 University Dr. West. This application has been filed as a single-site certification. Previously, the Lethbridge West store was part of five stores that filed for certification in May 2022. After weeks of delay and a mail-in ballot vote, the vote ended in a tie and the workers were unable to secure union representation rights.
A vote was conducted on December 3 and ballots were sealed by the ALRB pending a hearing in early January.
“A big ‘thank you’ to everyone for their support with our effort. Thank you to our union organizer for their tireless work on the campaign over the past few months. Thank to USW District 3 for your words of wisdom and encouragement, and thank you to all partners who voted,” said a worker from the Lethbridge West store.
In early December, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh met with unionized Starbucks workers in Alberta.
The bargaining committee members spoke to Jagmeet about paid sick leave, fair wages, and respect – all things that are made possible by joining a union!
Federal initiative on anti-scab law is good news for Canadian workers: Steelworkers
The federal government’s commitment to enact legislation banning replacement workers in labour disputes is welcome news for workers and unions, says the United Steelworkers union (USW).
“Our union has advocated federally and provincially for years for laws like this,” said Marty Warren, USW National Director. “Experience shows that implementing a federal ban on replacement workers would improve labour relations, reduce the number and length of conflicts and lead to better working and living standards for Canadian workers.”
While encouraged by the announcement of a short consultation period and a commitment for action, the USW is calling on the federal government to reduce the lengthy timeline being proposed to pass the legislation.
“We were happy the NDP included anti-scab legislation in its agreement with the Liberals and will gladly take part in the consultations. However, there is no justification to delay the legislation until the end of 2023,” Warren said.
“This legislation already exists in two provinces and has been studied and debated numerous times over a period of decades. It can and should be passed quickly.”
In B.C. and Quebec, where laws banning replacement workers exist, there has been a reduction in days lost due to strikes or lockouts and an increase in workplace stability, which is good for employers as well as workers.
“This government announcement demonstrates how NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and his caucus are using their power in Parliament to make positive change for workers,” said Warren. “The Liberals and Conservatives repeatedly voted against anti-scab legislation in the past. It’s gratifying to see the Liberals finally acknowledging this legislation is needed. Now, let’s get on with making it law.”
2022 CFLPA and USW Grey Cup kids camp
The CFLPA and USW hosted a Grey Cup Kids Camp on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Regina, Sask.
Children had the opportunity to play non-contact football and learn from current and former CFL players.
It was a wonderful opportunity for Steelworkers’ families to participate in Grey Cup festivities, meet and learn from players and get autographs.
Steelworkers lobby for change for workers
This fall, the district conducted “Lobby Days” at the B.C. and Alberta Legislatures and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Members represented mining, manufacturing, forestry, health care, steel, telecommunications and SOAR.
Members participated in training on how government works, why the union is involved in politics and legislative action, and best practices when lobbying. The delegations had opportunities to attend Question Period in Victoria and Ottawa and were taken on tours of the Parliament and Legislative buildings.
Meetings were held with several Ministers, MLAs, MPs and key government and opposition staff.
Remembering Troy Cook
USW District 3 is sad to learn of the passing of Brother Troy Cook. Troy was a dedicated labour activist and a great friend to those around him. Condolences to his family, friends and local union family. Rest in power.Download
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