June 13, 2018 Latest News

Sitting in Peterborough could be an office which connects homeless people with housing opportunities and gives the unemployed a chance to make their own work.

That’s an image a planning group is seeking to realize through two workshops starting on Thursday, June 14.

Stephanie and Joe Mancini are special guests, presenters and founders of the Working Centre.

They’re planning on sharing how their company has helped Kitchener’s homeless population and how that model could work in Peterborough.

According to its website, the Working Centre was established in 1982 as a response to issues of poverty and employment in the area.

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June 13, 2018 Latest News

Peterborough Public Health has put out more information as it pertains to the Precarious Employment Research Initiative.

The latest ‘InfoBrief’ focused on Employment Security.

Monique Beneteau says unions may play an important role in protecting workers.

In the fall of 2016, 800 residents were contacted by phone and asked a series of questions related to their employment.

The survey on the status of employment and working condition in the Peterborough area included the City and County of Peterborough and Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.

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June 13, 2018 Latest News

According to a recent report specific to the Peterborough job market, 64 percent of workers in the region, it suggests, are working under vulnerable or precarious conditions.

The study is being spearheaded by Peterborough Public Health and involves several community organizations, who together have started the Precarious Employment Research Initiative (PERI). This month, they have released a third report looking at the working conditions of precarious employment and its effects on the worker.

The goal is to release eight briefings and identify how employment and working conditions are impacting the economic, social, physical and mental health of workers in the community.

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May 23, 2018 Latest News

John Ball was one of the first General Electric workers to battle for justice and protections for workers after seeing colleagues die due to chemical contamination in the Peterborough plant.

And his recent death adds to the casualty list of former workers who have died while continuing to fight for compensation.

On May 14 Ball died at the age of 84 after years of health issues caused by exposure to toxic chemicals at the plant, says friend and fellow activist Marion Burton.

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May 23, 2018 Latest News

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

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May 23, 2018 Latest News

Rightwing activists are launching a nationwide drive to persuade public-sector trade union members to tear up their membership cards and stop paying dues, posing a direct threat to the progressive movement in America.

Documents obtained by the Guardian reveal that a network of radical conservative thinktanks spanning all 50 states is planning direct marketing campaigns targeted personally at union members to encourage them to quit. The secret push, the group hopes, could cost unions up to a fifth of their 7 million members, lead to the loss of millions of dollars in income and undermine a cornerstone of US progressive politics.

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May 17, 2018 Latest News

Election day in Ontario is on June 7, 2018, advance voting starts May 26, and you can vote at your returning office starting May 10. The polls show a tightening of the race but they still are predicting a PC win and that means Doug Ford may become Ontario’s premier. Polls can be wrong, but if we want another outcome, we have to do a lot more than post memes supporting or opposing candidates on social media, and turn out the vote among our friends.

Right now, candidates are out in our communities holding meet and greets, knocking on doors, coming out to debates and stumping for your vote. Organizations across Ontario have been putting together tools to arm voters and organizers with information and questions about the issues that matter to them.

Read and share the questions communities and organizations want to ask candidates, find out about debates in your community and learn about the candidates’ positions. If we don’t want to wake up on June 8 feeling like many of our neighbours to the south did in November 2016, we need to get to work. Get out to debates in your community and ask about these issues and perhaps a few more in the audience will be swayed to support a candidate who is working for the public good.

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May 17, 2018 Latest News

A little over one-third of Peterborough’s workforce deals with the instability of precarious employment.

That’s one of the key findings in the first part of a report by Peterborough Public Health and backed by the City.

Reaching out to 800 Peterborough residents from November to December 2016, the survey finds 33-per cent of workers face precarious work.

According to the Precarious Employment Research Initiative report, precarious work is defined as having “unstable and insecure employment, irregular work hours making time management difficult, unpredictable wages and no other benefits (and) less access to job training.”

The report adds precarious work is “usually characterized as temporary, part-time, limited term and contract work.”

Precarious work falls at the end of a scale which includes other categories such as vulnerable, stable and secure work.

The study found about one-third of residents have precarious work while 29-per cent say their work is vulnerable, 20-per cent say it is secure and 18-per cent say it is stable.

That means 62-per cent of workers defined their jobs as either precarious or vulnerable.

Three work sectors were mentioned in the report, including manufacturing, construction and trades; knowledge and creative industries; and the service sector.

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May 14, 2018 Latest News

People are nurtured through food and that’s exactly what Caroline Smith wants to do at Leta Brownscombe Co-operative Homes in Peterborough.

The non-profit housing provider recently received $5,000 through the United Way of Peterborough and District’s new Neighbourhood Fund to develop a community garden. A centre courtyard at the Milroy Drive housing complex will be transformed into the Wild Eats Courtyard to give residents a chance to grow  their food.

“You nurture people through food. Parents do it with their children and we’re doing it with our community with this garden. We are nurturing our community through food,” says Smith, resident and co-manager of the Wild Eats Courtyard project.

She adds residents of the 80-unit co-operative will take responsibility for planting and caring for the garden. Wooden plant boxes will be created to hold various vegetables, edible flowers and herbs, says Smith.

“We want them to snip some lemon grass or take some echinceia and make a tea. We want them to dry thyme for winter or dry some rosemary or use cilantro for a beautiful chutney for a potluck,” says Smith.

The project is one of 12, grassroots-community endeavours, that recently received money from the United Way’s new Neighbourhood Fund. Lisa Smith, director of philanthropic impact, says $25,000 was made available for groups to apply for.

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May 14, 2018 Latest News

Employees at General Electric in Peterborough have been informed the plant will cease manufacturing Nov. 30 rather than Sept. 30, says a union representative – though a company spokeswoman says there’s been no change in plans.

“They (company officials) have communicated to us that they’ll be going until Nov. 30,” said Bill Corp, a Unifor union rep at GE, on Wednesday.

He said 92 people have been laid off and will be leaving by June 15. It leaves roughly 145 employees at the plant, he said, and of those “a portion” will remain employed by GE until the work tapers off.

The change in date has been suggested before: In January, Mayor Daryl Bennett revealed the plant would stay open roughly until the end of 2018 to complete its work.

GE issued a statement about its plans Thursday morning: “It is still the business’ plan to cease manufacturing and service activity by the end of Q3 2018. Through this period, we are constantly reviewing our operations to ensure we can deliver on our commitments to our customers and business. In order to complete existing backlog, there is a potential for some work to extend into November 2018, but this will not affect most employees. If the business sees a need to extend the date, those potentially affected will be advised accordingly.”

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The Peterborough and District Labour Council (PDLC) is the central body of union locals in the Peterborough area (Peterborough County plus Omemee) who are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

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