January 11, 2018 Latest News

Approximately 20,000 part-time support staff at the province’s colleges have voted to join the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.

OPSEU says 84 per cent of the ballots counted were cast of in favour of joining the union.

It says the supervised vote at all 24 Ontario community colleges was held in June 2016, but legal wrangling by the College Employer Council kept ballots from being counted until this week.

OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas called the vote “a magnificent victory for part-time college support staff and for all the people who worked hard for so many years to win union rights for them.”

OPSEU has long represented full-time staff at the colleges, but it was illegal for part-time employees to organize.

The union says a campaign it began in 2004 resulted in the provincial government amending the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act in 2008 to grant them the right to unionize.

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January 11, 2018 Latest News

Protesters held rallies at Tim Hortons stores across Ontario Wednesday in response to the decisions by some store franchises to make cuts to employees’ benefits to compensate for the implementation of a $14 minimum hourly wage.

A protest at the Division Street location in Cobourg drew hundreds, many carrying placards and flags. The controversy started at that and one other Cobourg location after an internal note to workers from owners Jeri-Lynn Horton Joyce and Ron Joyce Jr. went viral on social media shortly before the new year.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath joined the crowd amassed in the store’s parking lot Wednesday evening.

“No single mom or single dad for that matter should have to work two or three jobs just to put food on the table,” she told reporters.

Horwath is pleased to see a higher minimum wage but accuses the government of waiting till the eve of an election to do it, leading to a quick spike and great difficulty for workers and their bosses.

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January 11, 2018 Latest News

About 30 demonstrators gathered at Tim Hortons on Monaghan Rd. at Lansdowne St. W. on Wednesday to protest reductions to employee benefits at some of the chain’s locations.

Some Tim Hortons have cut out paid breaks and health benefits following the minimum wage increase to $14.

Demonstrators at the local rally represented the Peterborough and District Labour Council, the Council of Canadians, Unifor and CUPE.

It was one of several rallies planned outside Tim Hortons locations in Southern Ontario on Wednesday, all organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour.

There were rallies planned at nine locations in Toronto as well as in London, Guelph, Windsor, Dundas and Cobourg.

In Peterborough, demonstrators marched in the freezing rain and waved large union flags.


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January 8, 2018 Latest News

If all Canadians lost their paid breaks, like some workers at a Tim Hortons in Ontario, what would be left of the once iconic company?

Security guard Luke Tremblay is on his lunch break at a Tim Hortons in downtown Ottawa, ordering a chicken wrap and small carton of chocolate milk. He gets two other 15-minute breaks during each of his shifts, when he often comes back to this same house of habitual hot beverages, fashioned with its iconic brownness.

“If you’re jammed on an issue, by coming here, the coffee or fresh air, it gives you a fresh perspective,” says another customer, a federal civil servant who drinks black coffee on his breaks. “I feel refreshed,” says his colleague. “When I hit work again, it’s almost like a new day.”

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January 8, 2018 Latest News

A rally is being planned outside a Tim Hortons in Cobourg this week in response to the owners’ decision to cut employees’ benefits.

Media reports say employees at a franchise owned by Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri-Lynne Horton-Joyce, the son and daughter of the chain’s co-founder, have been told to sign a document acknowledging they are losing paid breaks, paid benefits, and other incentives as a result of the province’s minimum wage hike which reached $14 an hour on Jan. 1.

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January 8, 2018 Latest News

When a Tim Hortons store in Cobourg, Ontario cut paid breaks and benefits for employees, it became a metaphor for the fight for a living wage— thanks in part to James Pickersgill’s viral Facebook post.

James Pickersgill would be the first to tell you he’s not a master of social media. And he wouldn’t exactly call himself an activist, even though he played a determined role in getting the pretty town of Cobourg, Ont., to change its bylaws to allow for boulevard gardens.

Mostly he’s a “doing good things to help people” kind of guy, from co-ordinating volunteers to help at a local hospice, to chairing the committee charged with defining the terms of reference for the town’s poet laureate.

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January 8, 2018 Latest News

Now that the increase to Ontario’s minimum wage has arrived, the owners of a Tim Hortons in Cobourg, Ont., are drawing criticism for their cost-cutting measures.

A photo posted to Facebook by a customer shows a letter he says was handed out to staff that states that paid breaks are being eliminated as well as a number of other incentives and cuts to employee benefits.

“These changes are due to the increase of wages to $14.00 minimum wage on January 1, 2018, then $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019, as well as the lack of assistance and financial help from our Head Office and from the Government,” the letter states.

It also states that health and dental benefits, which used to be covered 100 per cent, will be reduced to only 50 per cent coverage for employees that have worked there longer than five years, and less for those who haven’t.

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December 21, 2017 Latest News

An arbitrator appointed to settle a contract dispute with Ontario college faculty that led to a five-week strike has awarded them a 7.75 per cent raise over four years.

The 12,000 professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians were legislated back to work last month and outstanding issues were sent to binding mediation-arbitration.

The arbitrator’s decision, released today, also includes new language on academic freedom, which had been the main outstanding issue between faculty and the colleges.

The colleges say the new contract enshrines the academic freedom policies that already exist at most colleges and gives the same salary increase that they had offered before the strike.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents the faculty, says the deal could have been reached at the bargaining table if the colleges had displayed “even the slightest concern for students and staff during negotiations.”

Hundreds of thousands of students were kept from class during the strike, and about 27,500 of the roughly 250,000 full-time students decided to withdraw and receive a tuition refund rather than finishing their semester on a condensed timeline.


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December 20, 2017 Latest News

As announced by the WSIB on Friday December 15, 2017 and reported in the Toronto Star, the WSIB will no longer reduce Non-Economic Loss (NEL) awards for workers who had no prior symptoms of a pre-existing condition. In addition, the WSIB has committed to review 4,500 decisions dating back to 2012 when the practice of apportioning NELs due to non-symptomatic pre-existing conditions began.

This victory comes on the heels of OFL Convention in November where a resolution to address the WSIB’s unfair practice of reducing NEL awards due to pre-existing conditions was unanimously passed by delegates and adopted into the OFL Action Plan.

“Workers in Ontario are clear in their demands, they want a workers’ compensation system that respects the dignity of injured workers,” said Chris Buckley, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “Delegates to the OFL Convention demanded change, and I’m pleased to see the compensation board has chosen to take corrective action”, he added.

The fight for justice on this matter, however, has been a long running one with notable contributions to the efforts from Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario (IAVGO) legal clinic who published their “No Evidence” report earlier this year which reviewed all WSIAT decisions from 2016 wherein 626 decisions confirmed that the WSIB had denied workers’ entitlement to benefits without evidence to support their conclusions. Of those 626 cases 38 specifically dealt with the issue of benefits being reduced due to pre-existing non-symptomatic conditions.

In addition to IAVGO’s report, the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Group (ONIWG) had launched a robust Workers’ Comp Is a Right campaign which has raised awareness and garnered significant support across the province on three key demands one of which is that benefits should not be reduced due to pre-existing conditions.

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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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