Tbnewswatch Local News
Sunday July 5 2015
12:25 AM EDT
2014-01-29 at NOON

Under attack?

Unifor national president Jerry Dias says working people in Canada are under attack.
Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
Unifor national president Jerry Dias says working people in Canada are under attack.
By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

Working Canadians are under attack by the federal government, says the president of a national union.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias was in Thunder Bay Wednesday morning at the Finlandia Club for the union's Canada-wide Rights at Work campaign, a protest against the federal government's Bill C-525.

The bill, also known as the Employees' Voting Rights Act, proposes changes to the rules for forming and dissolving unions.

Dias called it a political crisis.

"This is really about what our country is going to look like. This is about jobs for young people. This is about making sure we preserve the middle class," he said.

Thunder Bay is one of 19 cities Unifor is taking the campaign to and Dias said they need to go to all these communities to mobilize the leadership and get people talking about the issue.

He questioned the recent closure of the mill in Fort Frances, asking why do mill closures keep happening in a country where forestry is a key resource.

"We don't even have a forestry strategy in Canada," Dias said. "This is about the working class and the standard of living we're going to have for the short and long term. This is critical."

As a nation rich in resources, Dias asked why so many jobs are outsourced and why pipelines are built to ship resources to the U.S. and overseas.

"Why don't we have any sort of an economic strategy that utilizes our strengths as a nation?" he said.

Local 1075 president Dominic Pasqualino said unions are the backbone of society.

"The (federal government) is trying to take away our rights to unionize, trying to take away our health and safety rights," he said. "I think it's really important we all fight for those things," he said.

"I think people are realizing you can't just leave big business to take care of things because at the end of the day, they're just going to take care of their own interests."

The Canadian Auto Workers Union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union merged last spring to form Unifor. The union represents 300,000 people across Canada in more than 20 sectors.



Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
YellowSnow13 says:
Perhaps some people should go and read the changes to the act at:
Just because a union can be dissolved doesn't mean it will happen. But it seems union members fear it. Why. If you are already happy with the way things are done what makes you think it will change. And what about all those people that didn't want to be in a union but were forced to because it was a union shop? Now they have a chance to make changes. Personally, I wouldn't join if I didn't have too. Guess that's why I own my own business.
1/30/2014 9:50:59 AM
Greenstoner says:
Why is it that union leaders (and NDP leaders) consider that the only "working people" in Canada are those who belong to a union? I spent 10 years of my career belonging to a union and 30 not. I didn't consider myself any less of a worker when I was not a union member.
1/30/2014 12:21:30 AM
Tachyion says:
In another twenty or thirty years the word union will only appear in marriages and plumbing......remember the "Union of Soviet Socialists Republic". It's an unneeded dinosaur in an age of a global economy. Now lets have some fun with that one.
1/29/2014 10:24:00 PM
Today1 says:
To all the union people out there. Think China. Then think of all of those sweatshop people that are so well taken care of by the corporations. Now if all you union people weren't so greedy, you could also live the dream.
1/29/2014 10:22:26 PM
nat.tbay says:
You only have to look at our local Bombardier plant and the success story it is. It is this Union that lobbied hard in many ways including on the Provincial content legislation that brought investment and jobs to our community.Look at our decimated forestry sector and ask why? Do we not use lumber anymore? Where did those jobs go and again why.
Union now more then ever!
1/29/2014 9:47:19 PM
wrenchman says:
Oh I see the union for canada post is working well. They go on strike and the Government orders them back to work.The union had no say.Now to get rid of the mail carriers where is the union here,again no backing and no were to go so really union dues all those years for nothing. Somebody got rich, so in my opinion it is a huge waste of money. I'll bet everyone of them could use all those wasted due paid now, Had they banked all that money they would have quite a bank account to use now after all those years. Just my opinion
1/29/2014 7:31:52 PM
brooky says:
Union dues are tax deductable, so they got roughly 40% back each year courtesy of you, the tax payer.
1/29/2014 9:11:19 PM
RelaxinginMurillo says:
Im not sure of your math brooky,
If they're higher paid (union, on avg), they might pay ie $15,000 in tax. To deduct $400 or such from that would mean they're still paying $14,600 in tax. Where this other "taxpayer" comes from, I dunno.
Unionized people pay more than their fair share of taxes, and spend their remaining money "locally" for the most part.
1/30/2014 7:00:00 AM
pylon says:
The only thing a Union ensures for a young worker that the government doesn't is a quick layoff when times are tight.

Here's my suggestion to young workers.

Try to work yourself out of a job, because if you work like that you will be rewarded. It might not be today. It might not be in a week. But SOMEONE will see you working hard and notice and you will have an opportunity to advance. Don't be afraid to take that opportunity even if you have to part ways with your employer. Remember that you are your own safety person, think about your actions and ask questions.

Also be polite and say thank you to people, it's the sort of thing that people remember and you never know who is coming through the door next..
1/29/2014 7:28:30 PM
S Duncan says:
excellent advice!

People need to develop a positive reputation of their work habits. It takes years of a healthy attitude and hard efforts. It means not running for the door the first chance you can. It means socializing with coworkers and bosses, it means knowing when to keep your mouth shut and when to open it. (waiting for smart remark on that one)

If a person invests in themselves both in appearance, attitude, performance and social skills that investment will carry you much further than any grade transcript, education, or bs degree ever will.

You can be the best qualified person but if nobody wants to work with you then you are no good to the employer.

but if youre in a union, all of that goes out the window but you will just be a name on the seniority list. Things that make you the best person for the job will take a back seat to someone who isn't. Then the company loses and you end up working where everybody is unhappily waiting for the clock to run out.
1/30/2014 11:18:07 AM
corvette says:
Dear NowayJose and S Duncan
Why don't you check your facts? Have you ever heard of bill C4. Yes they are trying to take away safety rights! Check out http://psacunion.ca/c-4-encourages-unsafe-workplaces
1/29/2014 7:02:11 PM
S Duncan says:
This story seems to be all about billc-525.

Your post is about bill c-4.

Which are you talking about? did the reporter get it wrong or did you?

Either way, it doesn't matter. The Conservatives have a majority. The union crybabies can cry all they want. They lost.

1/29/2014 9:29:49 PM
greendreamer says:
I notice Jose you didn't state which non-union position you "work" at....but then again it is obvious to me your arrogant enough to be behind a desk working extremely hard at making others much lower on the payroll do your work for you. FYI...who do you suppose ensured there are health and safety rights for all workers? Are you that naïve to think the government's and/or management and/or HR people would just dole out monies, vacations etc. etc. etc. not to mention ensure all health and safety would be mandated without unions "negotiating" for every front line worker involved. Oh but excuse me....I forgot you left the union for your "position" over 20 years ago...I guess the grass was actually greener on the other side of the fence for you...but that is NOT always the case. We need unions more now than ever before....
1/29/2014 5:42:58 PM
NowayJose says:
I thank you greendreamer for the response and I do appreciate your point of view. I do not “make others much lower on the payroll work for me”. We all consider ourselves a team, to get the job done. We do have daily health and safety meetings. We are mandated to do so.
I have worked from the frozen North to the sunny places of southern US (yes, I am Canadian) and have always appreciated a hardworking person (I.E. non-union). While working in Canada, union or non-union, you have benefits. I guess it’s how you look at it and the personal situation that you are in. Take care and I truly say, the best of luck!
1/29/2014 7:15:42 PM
ibrando says:
Did Jose willingly give up the position or was he shown the door? Glad he is doing so great in his non union position with the job security and all...oh wait...he has none. He stated himself that if he does his job to the best of his ability his employer ALLOWS him another paycheck. No raise? Guess that might get you let go in your awesome non union job. Best of luck.
1/29/2014 7:19:38 PM
S Duncan says:
sounds like you think job security is employer welfare?

It also sounds like you think youre entitled to your employers money regardless of your performance or ability to do your job properly?

That's why union towns like Thunder Bay are welfare towns. Unions don't seek for their members to be compensated fairly for their work, they instead want as much money as they can extort through strongarm tactics from their employer whether they deserve it or not.

Unions just reward the lazy by taking away from the good workers. If the lazy guy gets paid as much as you, why would you seek to perform better? You just leave your brain in the slot with your time card and go do as little as possible.

then you cry when industry leaves town to seek people who actually want to work because they know their employer has to be profitable for them to keep EARNING a living.

Welfare bay thinks you can just take a check home.

Thankfully the Conservatives will help save industry in Canada.
1/30/2014 9:15:20 AM
S Duncan says:
Its a good thing Canada has democratically elected a Strong, Stable, Majority Conservative Government to protect us from these union hacks and embarrassingly obvious media bias present in this story.

Arent media stories supposed to have Who, What, When, Where, HOW, and why?

You really missed out on the HOW. How is this bill going to achieve the fearful onesided claims that these hacks make?

All you did was put out an I hate Harper piece. Perhaps you should put in in the opinions section rather than try to put this out as a news story.

I hate to pick on you, but c'mon, This one is really bad!
1/29/2014 4:58:10 PM
mystified says:
First you try to make everyone believe you are the sharpest pencil in the box and now you are trying to tell a news outlet how to report!

Get off the high horse and back on those meds.

Unions have their benefits, so good, some not so good. It's nice to have the backing when the company is trying to bust your butt.
1/29/2014 6:24:45 PM
Jeannied says:
Anyone who reads a story on this site can plainly see you spend. Hours per day sitting online commenting, usually using insults, names calling, and rudeness to do so. Why not answer everyone who asks you why YOU don't Grow some balls and DO something other than criticize others?? It is beyond ridiculous to sit and whine at the writers of stories when you don't have your own website or news outlet, crying about politicians and "commits" when you won't run for office you're fans crying about people asking the wrong questions when you don't get off your butt to actually ask them yourself...just sit and kvetch kvetch kvetch.
So why don't you actually go run for office?
1/29/2014 7:25:05 PM
S Duncan says:
because I don't want to.

if you've been insulted by my "rudeness" you'll have to examine your conscience for the reason. Im just wondering though.. everything that you accuse me of, you just did 10 times worse. Its obvious youre a good little left winger.

Why are you defensive about my comments? Could it be because the truth bothers you?
1/29/2014 9:45:45 PM
Heinicke says:
"Im just wondering though.. everything that you accuse me of, you just did 10 times worse. "

No she didn't. She was asking a legit question. You sit on here for hours complaining yet don't have the cojones to actually do something about it. If you can't walk the walk quit dumping on people who actually get off their butts and do more than talk the talk.
The difference between doers and attention seeking whiners right there.
1/30/2014 3:52:43 AM
Thor Odinson says:
I want to hold a plebiscite on the last federal election because I disagree with the the results.

Oh no? It doesn't work that way? This is a representative and not a direct democracy? Then you don't get to cry for a plebiscite when you disagree with our democratically elected City Council, either.

Comment on the substance of the story, don't make rants about perceived bias.
1/29/2014 8:47:00 PM
S Duncan says:
a plebescite is a vote.

So you want to have a vote on the vote?

all because you lost?

go back to bed. adults are speaking.

PS. I did comment on the story. Completely on the story. All it contained was some wild claims by some union hacks and it was regurgitated by the reporter without questioning their claims.

all because its fun to blame Harper?
1/29/2014 9:24:06 PM
Thor Odinson says:
Evidently you don't understand representative democracy OR sarcasm.
1/29/2014 10:06:26 PM
S Duncan says:
Actually I do understand it. I understand that the Conservatives hold a nice majority government and they are doing what they said they would do.

That's why these union bums can whine all they want. Canada has spoken.

This fine country had a vote and the people spoke who they wanted to lead. It wasn't you.
1/29/2014 11:50:10 PM
Thor Odinson says:
Exactly. So you don't get to have a plebiscite just because you don't like the decisions of our elected Council. If I don't get to hold one when the government does something I don't like, neither do you. That's representative democracy. And by the way, I look forward to rubbing it in when the Conservatives lose, and they will eventually lose. I can't wait.
1/30/2014 2:09:41 AM
S Duncan says:
I thought you said we were supposed to comment on the substance of the story? Here you are going on and on about plebiscites, representative democracy and now city council.

Plebiscites are held when we are dealing with an issue outside the realm of "normal" politics.

but anyway. I agree with you. The Conservatives will lose at some point. They have to, if we don't have checks and balances between different ideals we don't have a democracy at all, we would have a totalitarian regime.

As a proud Canadian I welcome new government and I don't care what their colours are, all I care about is whats right for Canada. Right now until the the 3rd party liberals get it together and the ndp socialists drop their communist platform, I believe the Conservatives are the best for Canada, not for me, but for CANADA.

If the liberals come up with good policy, Ill vote for them. Theres no evidence of it happening with shiny pony though. You wont be rubbing my nose in anything after a vote.
1/30/2014 11:03:23 AM
Eastender says:
What do you think Harper is, just a hack for the corporate oligarchs who would love to see this country become a sea of workers without any benefits or rights. People you could discard and replace at a whim. You get sick, out in the street you go, we cant use you any more.
You should go to China or India, or indonesia, try working there, you wouldn't have the benefit of writing your comments anywhere let alone even thinking what you want. Sueing the city for flood damage? Forget about it. No Mr. Duncan you can thank unions for many of the benefits you enjoy in this country.
Harper is just a shill for the American power structure, and the sooner we get rid of him the better.
I'm not a big fan of the liberals but they are the much lesser of the two evils. I believe in equal power sharing between capitalism and socialism with neither one being dominant. A balance that unfortunately is difficult to achieve.
Take away the freedom to unionize, and lose all your freedoms next.
1/29/2014 11:32:41 PM
S Duncan says:
How is he a hack for the corporate world?

This bill is allowing workers to choose if they want to go into the union and be artificially held back or never realize the benefits of excelling at your job.

Who do you think signs the cheques for these union hacks? The people that you seem to dislike for no reason other than they have more money than you (and me).

If you get sick and cant do your job we have systems in place for that. Theres EI sick leave and permanent disability options. If hurt you have wsib.

Does China have those? Or are you just fear mongering like these union hacks? Unions did give us a lot to be thankful for in the working world, but that's not the case anymore. That's history, its gone. Typewriters were once the be all, end all too, but not anymore.

In Canada our politicians can be "shills for American Pwr Structure like you claim. We have laws that do not permit that buying of politicians.

but the NDP and Libs love to have unions pick up every tab.
1/30/2014 8:49:04 AM
S Duncan says:

The liberals aren't a lesser of 2 evils, they are evil. If liberals were actually liberal like their name implies they would be an interesting party, much like the libertarian party is now.

The liberals just take away from us, they tell us what we can and cannot do (firearms act is a perfect example because theres so much emotional nonsense within it) They claim they are protecting everybody from themselves, so they take away freedoms and install more levels of bureaucracy to prop themselves up.

So anyway, this bill doesn't take away the freedom to unionize at all. Read it. http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=6206933&File=9

It gives people the liberty to choose to not join the union if they do not want to by secret ballot.

How is freedom of choice a bad thing? Its only bad for the unions because they know their artificial power structure is no longer viable and people will opt to stay away from them.

and Harper is the evil one?? no.
1/30/2014 8:54:56 AM
Tachyion says:
"Freedom" and "Union" are total opposites of each other......there is no such thing as freedom to join a union.....it's join or no job. Unionism is a sham of democracy.
1/30/2014 9:02:37 AM
NowayJose says:
I gave up a union position over 20 years ago and have been doing exceptionally well since then. I guess it’s just me but when I do a job to the best of my ability (without having a cushion to fall upon), my company recognizes this and allows me another paycheck. There are too many out there that figure that seniority is a right to “romance Fido” amongst other benefits.
Quote once again "The (federal government) is trying to take away our rights to unionize, trying to take away our health and safety rights". BS! In this country, your health and safety rights will never be taken away from you – they are the strongest in Ontario and even more so in other provinces – do some research during your hour long coffee break while playing on the internet!
Get off your butt, do your job and quit whining! Unions are a thing of the past!
1/29/2014 4:51:14 PM
yqt says:
"I gave up a union position over 20 years ago..."

I'm sure there is more to that story than is being told !!

When will people realize the standards that everyone else has is because of unions setting the foundations. Those who don't believe that are just thick skulled.
1/29/2014 6:31:36 PM
gone for good says:
He questioned the recent closure of the mill in Fort Frances, asking why do mill closures keep happening in a country where forestry is a key resource.

Thats a no brainer Jerry.
Becuase we keep allowing multinationals come here, buy up our mills then send the profits down south to vamp up their mills and compete with us.
You can thank our Federal govt for that.
As well as the internet.
1/29/2014 1:27:44 PM
Eastender says:
If the union bashers keep bashing the unions, and allowing their power to erode, pretty soon we all will be working for minimum wage, with no benefits and no holidays or sick days. You get injured? Goodby paycheque. Maybe not in your lifetime, but your kids and grandkids will curse you for allowing it to happen.
1/30/2014 5:51:56 PM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In