Pension Solvency Explained USW Local

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  News for members of Steelworkers Local 1998, University of Toronto         April 2011, volume 10, no 2

        Pension Solvency Explained
                              The Story Behind the Developing Pension Issue

            argaining has yet to officially                                                                         University claims that these funds
            begin for the new USW                                                                                    would have to be paid into the pension
            collective agreement,                                                                                    plan from elsewhere in its budget, which,
            but the University is                                                                                    in their view, places the quality of the
            already negotiating in                                                                                   institution and its level of service at
 public over a key issue in the                                                                                      risk. This is all pretty straightforward
 upcoming talks — pension                                                                                            pre-negotiation blather which translates
 contribution levels. On Feb 4th,                                                                                    roughly as “the sky is falling, your jobs
 the University released a short                                                                                     are at risk, we want to pay you less”.
 document entitled “Pension Plan                                                                                     Because, again, make no mistake
 Update: Ensuring a Sustainable                                                                                      “increased employee contributions”
 Pension Plan for the University of                                                                                  translates into money right out of USW
 Toronto” — laden communiqués from                                                                                   paychecks. (OK. Admittedly, right out
 the University on the pension issue.                                                                                of “PM and Confidentials” paychecks
   Perhaps a better title for this                                                                                   as well. So don’t expect them to be
 document would have been “Pension                                                                                   happy either.)
 Plan Update: Employees — Bend Over                                                                                     But now, here is the tricky bit. This is
 and Smile.” We’re expected to take it                                                                               not, as it appears, a cunning plan by
 like a frat-boy paddling on the behind:                                                                             University HR to reduce new-hire
 just bend over and say “Thank sir, may I                                                                            retention to less than a two-months —
 have another? Despite being billed as an                                                                            so they may keep their jobs. Rather,
 “update,” the document contains little                                                                              last summer, the Ontario government
 new information. It is, rather, yet                                                                                 announced the development of a
 another rewording of the University’s                                                                               solvency funding relief plan for
 much-publicized position on the pension                                                                             pension plans in the broader public
 issue – a position that the USW strongly                                                                            sector. Essentially, the government
 opposes.                                                                                                           will allow the University to pay off its
   It would be easy to dismiss this document         operation immediately. It is calculated doom               solvency deficit over a longer period of
 as the annoying barking of a small dog. But, the    and gloom as this, of course, will not happen            time (ten years instead of five). However,
 university is actually a large and clever beastie   at the University of Toronto.                            the government has made participation in
 and some time and serious thought must be             But these calculations still need to be made           this plan contingent on the University being
 given to this attempt to dig deep into our          by law. If there is not enough money in the              able to convince its employees to increase
 pockets. Because, make no mistake, this is          fund at the current time, the plan is said to            their contributions to the pension plan. Not
 nothing more than neo-corporate pickpocketry.       have a “solvency deficit.” The University’s              surprisingly, the University wants to qualify
   The University hopes to use the                   memo states that its solvency deficit is                 for this plan, and has therefore signaled that
 pension’s current “solvency deficit ” as a          currently almost one billion dollars. Under              increased employee pension contributions will
 justification for increasing employee               provincial law, the University must balance              be a “key item for discussion” in the coming
 contributions to the plan. A solvency               this deficit within five years. This would               round of negotiations with USW 1998.
 valuation determines if the pension fund            require special payments of about 200 million
 would have enough money to cover all of             dollars per year over the next five years. The                                       Continued on Page 3
 its promised payments with its current
 funds. (Or, more simply, is there enough
 money in the fund right now to pay all
 promised pensions forever?) Solvency is, a                Harper Budget Priorities: Bread.
 “worst-case” scenario in the world of
 pensions: it assumes that the employer ceases              Canadians’ Priorities: Crumbs.
                                                      OTTAWA—The federal budget looks more like an            fiscal plan that doesn’t deal with the tough issues of

                  2    On the move, In Memoriam       attempt to stay in power than a fiscal remedy for       the day. How will we deal with aging
                                                      the real problems facing Canadians, says the            infrastructure and high youth unemployment, a
                                                      Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), an      shrinking workforce and uncertain pensions? The
                  3    President’s Message            independent think tank.                                 government’s response seems to be that these are
                                                        The CCPA’s leading economists find this year’s        our problems, not theirs.”
                                                      federal budget obscures the true cost of Prime              “The ultimate test of a government budget is that
                  4    University Reports             Minister Stephen Harper’s plan to balance the           it should make life better for Canadian citizens—on
                                                      books while favouring Harper’s pet projects over        that measure, this budget represents a failed state,”
                                                      Canadians’ priorities.                                  Yalnizyan says.
                  5-                                    “For every dollar the Harper budget allocates to         “Mr. Harper needs to step out of the boutique

                       Bargaining 2011
                  12                                  Canadians’ priorities—such as helping seniors and       tax cut store and start rubbing elbows with the
                                                      cleaning up the environment—it devotes 7.5 dollars      Tim Hortons crowd,” says Macdonald. “The fact
                                                      for Conservative priorities such as jails and           is an extra $50 dollars for arts classes doesn’t get
                  13   Hamilton day of Action         corporate tax cuts,” says CCPA Alternative Federal      you affordable child care, it doesn’t lower
                                                      Budget Coordinator David Macdonald.                     university tuition, and it doesn’t move the line
                                                        “The needs of most Canadians are neglected due        any faster at the emergency room. The federal
                  14   War on Unions                  to reckless spending on Conservative pet projects,”     government can and should be tackling these big
                                                      Macdonald says. “Canadians should be warned:            problems.”
                                                      deep spending cuts that will affect the services they      The CCPA calls on the opposition parties to
                                                      need are on the horizon. The government isn’t           review its Alternative Federal Budget, which
                  15   Movie Review:
                                                      revealing where the pain is going to come.”             proposes solutions that connect with what
                       Made in Dagenham
                                                        “This budget wastes our time and our money,”          matters to Canadians: post-recession job and
                                                      says CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan.            household debt worries, pension concerns,
                 16    Bosses from Hell               “The Harper government has yet again tabled a           income inequality and climate change.

                              we hope you enjoy the Steeldrum Newsletter        .      send your comments to
2      the Steeldrum                                                                                                                     vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010

       on the
 move                                          Local news for members of Steelworkers Local 1998

                     New Negotiating Committee Elected

              embers of Steel-                                                                                                                Patrick Boal – Information &
              workers Local 1998                                                                                                              Technology Services
              braved the snow,                                                                                                                Karen Bowler – Dentistry
              wind and bitter                                                                                                                 Sandra Grant - Medicine
cold over two days to elect a                                                                                                                 Heather Bryans – ESL Unit
new Negotiating Committee for                                                                                                                 Pat McClellan - JEC
the Staff-Appointed Unit that                                                                                                                 Nik Redman – Grievance
will be helming the negotia-                                                                                                                  Committee
tions for a new Collective                                                                                                                    Art from Mississauga campus
Agreement this summer. The                                                                                                                 was acclaimed. There was no can-
current agreement expires June                                                                                                             didate from Scarborough campus.
30, 2011.                                                                                                                                     Allison Dubarry, President of
  A total of thirteen candidates                                                                                                           Local 1998, is also a member of
were in the running for the ten                                                                                                            the committee and says that “it
positions on the Negotiating                                                                                                               is clear that, given the current polit-
Committee. The following were                                                                                                              ical climate in Ontario, we will soon
elected (in order of plurality):                                                                                                           be entering into a challenging set of
  Paul Tsang – OISE                                                                                                                        negotiations with the University.
  Lee Jeffrey – Woodsworth                                                                                                                 Membership involvement is key to
  College                                                                                                                                   success as has been proven in past
                                 Front Row (left to right): Sandra Grant, Allison Dubarry, Nik Redman, Linda Wilding, Heather Bryans.
  Linda Wilding – Information Back Row (left to right): Paul Tsang, Lee Jeffrey, Patrick Boal, Karen Bowler, Judy McLeod. Not in            bargaining.”
  & Technology Services          picture: Art Birkensberg, Pat McClellan.
  Judy McLeod – Information &                                                                                                              —P. C. Choo
  Technology Services                                                                                                                       Admissions & Awards

                                                            IN MEMORIAM
           Allan Lanteigne (1961-2011)                                                       Bob Mackenzie (June 26, 1928 - January 17, 2011)
                                                                                                      Ontario’s first Minister for Labour

                                                                               teelworker, labour activist, organizer and   advocated for expanded labour rights, better
                                                                               politician Bob Mackenzie passed away         health and safety and compensation laws, pay
                                                                               on January 17, 2011 at the age of 82.        and employment equity. His work helped
                                                                       Affectionately called Ontario’s first Minister       shape Ontario’s occupational health and
                                                                       for Labour, Bob was a fierce and tireless            safety law, introduced by Bill Davis’s minority
                                                                       fighter for working people and a devoted             Conservative government in 1978.
                                                                       family man.                                            Bob became the first NDP Labour
                                                                          “As an organizer for our union, Bob was a         Minister when the NDP formed government
                                                                       member of the Steelworker family as much as          in 1990, affectionately known within the
                                                                       he was a remarkable husband, father and              labour movement as the first minister for
                                                                       grandfather,” said USW                                               labour. He introduced pay
                                                                       Canadian National Director,                                          equity improvements and
                                                                       Ken Neumann.                                                         gave union rights to
                                                                          “Bob Mackenzie was a                                              agricultural workers.
                                                                       Hamilton icon and an NDP                                               The Hamilton Spectator
                                                                       giant,” said Ontario NDP                                             writes, “For 20 years,
                                                                       Leader Andrea Horwath, who                                           Mackenzie’s fervent advocacy
                                                                       represents Hamilton Centre.                                          was un-ending - aggravating

            e are deeply             In his memory, a                  “During his time as Minster of                                       critics, enlivening the hopes
            saddened by the        memorial visitation was             Labour, Ontario workers made                                         of working people nationwide
            news that Allan        held at the Rosar-Morrison          great strides - on pay equity, on                                    and earning him widespread
Lanteigne, a USW Local             Funeral Home and Chapel             labour rights, on workplace                                          all-party respect. He became
1998 member and staff              (467 Sherbourne Street) on          standards. He was loved by                                           labour minister in Bob Rae’s
member in Financial                Saturday, March 12 between          fellow New Democrats, by the                                         1990 NDP government, and is
Services, passed away              1 p.m. and 6 p.m. U of T            labour movement and by his                                           revered by labour for
tragically on March 3, 2011.       flags on all three campuses         constituents.”                                                       bringing in Bill 40,”
  Allan was a valued               were lowered at half mast              Bob grew up in Ontario and Quebec and             legislation that banned the use of
member of the capital              on March 11 in his memory.          sailed with the Norwegian merchant navy in           replacement workers during strikes.
accounting section of                                                  World War II at age 15. A committed socialist          Although Mike Harris’s Conservative
Financial Services. He will                                            and trade unionist from a young age, Bob             government quickly rolled back those anti-
always be remembered as a          “What the heart has once            worked in paper mills and as an organizer for        scab provisions after election in 1995, other
warm, friendly and kind-           known, it shall never forget.”      the United Auto Workers (UAW) in Windsor.            achievements Bob made while minister
hearted person who loved to Author unknown                             He first ran provincially in Ontario for the         survived the Harris cuts: minimum wage
share his culinary delights                                            CCF in the riding of Windsor-Walkerville in          improvements, pay equity and wage
with his many co-workers           —Selina Law                         1955. He moved to Hamilton in the 1960s              protection reforms.
and friends throughout the            Ancillary & Capital              when he began working as organizing staff              The Bob Mackenzie Bursary was created at
university. He will be                Accounting Financial             for the newly formed New Democratic Party            McMaster University in 1996, to be granted to
missed.                               Services                         and continued his political and organizing           a labour studies student in financial need. The
                                                                                             work as a staff                Lupina Foundation established a graduate
                                                                                             representative with the        scholarship in Bob Mackenzie’s name at the
                                                                                             United Steelworkers.           University of Toronto’s Centre for Industrial
  Newsletter Committee          Layout & Production          Steeldrum is published            Bob was elected the          Relations and Human Resources.
  John Ankenman                 Mike Andrechuk               by USW Local 1998               Member of Provincial             A large part of Bob Mackenzie’s legacy is his
  P.C. Choo (Editor & Co-Chair)                              (UofT) and is printed by
                                                             Hamilton Web Printing.          Parliament for Hamilton        children, another generation of men and
  Allison Dubarry               Graphics
  Kubra Mir                                                  Steeldrum is a member           East in 1975 and held that     women dedicated to the same values of shared
  Donna Wheeler                 Mike Andrechuk               of USPA and CALM.               seat for 20 years until his    prosperity and social justice. Bob Mackenzie is
                           STEELDRUM directory                                               retirement in 1994. As the
                                                                                             NDP’s labour critic, Bob
                                                                                                                            survived by his wife, Sylvia, his six children
                                                                                                                            and five grandchildren.
                           t. 416.506.9090    f. 416.506.0640
    vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010                                                                                                                  the Steeldrum

                                                            Are You
                                                           is and it certainly is not the pay and pensions of       resulted in job cuts, lots of money is spent on consul-
                                                           non-management public sector workers. It also            tants doing work that was done by public sector
                                                           dodges the issue that the services that we all need      workers. In fact, Stephen Harper’s government
                                                           and pay for are of lesser priority than ensuring that    spends an astounding amount per year on contrac-
                                                           wealthy corporations do not pay their fair share of      tors – more than $1 billion!

   President s                                             taxes.
                                                              While business people, some politicians and the
                                                                                                                      David MacDonald writes that, “Since 2005–06,
                                                                                                                    the cost of federal personnel outsourcing of tem-

                                                           media have gone after ordinary public sector workers     porary help, IT consultants and management con-
                                                           and their compensation, the salaries of those in man-    sultants has ballooned by almost 80%, costing
                                                           agement have grown at a rate far beyond the rest of      taxpayers nearly $5.5 billion over the past five
                                                           us. At U of T, we have seen a dramatic increase since    years. Despite the capping of departmental bud-
                                                           the mid 1990s in the senior management salaries          gets, personnel outsourcing costs have remained
                                                           while been told that we should tighten our belts. The    above $1 billion a year.” Makes you wonder if
  “Are you overpaid?” I have asked this                    list of those earning over $100,000 per year has grown   reducing the deficit and containing costs were
                                                          steadily with some people getting percentage increas-     really the priorities. Would they be shifting $5.5
  question at numerous membership                         es that are far greater than what most of us get. Past    billion to companies when it costs less to do the
  meetings for the last year and still                    lists at U of T showed a drop in the percentage           work in house?
  have not met anyone who answered                        increase in the year immediately preceding bargain-
  “yes” to the question. The results of the               ing, with increases shooting up afterwards.
  recent bargaining survey also make it                      The list for 2010 has just come out and while some
  clear that wage increase is a top prior-
                                                          of the salaries have not grown for the first time in a    Job Evaluation:
                                                          few years, one entry stands out: William Moriarty,        We have been hard at work on completing the job
  ity for members. Studies have backed                    the President and Chief Executive Officer, University     evaluation plan and are working on the new pay
  up what members feel about the level                    of Toronto Asset Management Corporation received          structure and the implementation. More details will
  of their pay: public sector salaries have               $697,020 in 2010, up from $605,728 in 2009. Not a bad     be sent out to members and members will vote on
                                                          increase for managing a pension plan while saying         acceptance of the plan. A special meeting will be
  only just caught up to private sector
                                                          that we should increase our contributions.                called to discuss the details. If you are not on the list-
  salaries after years of lagging behind.                    The message from members in the bargaining sur-        serve and would like to ensure that you do not miss
                                                          vey is clear that members oppose any increase in          any information about job evaluation or bargaining,
                                                          contributions as it would amount to a cut in pay – a      please send an email to to be added

             owever, lately, public sector workers have   cut that no one can afford. All of the unions on cam-     to the listserve.
             become the scapegoats in an attempt to       pus and the faculty association oppose an increase in       The next few months will be very hectic as we start
             divert attention away from who really        contributions.                                            to bargain our fifth collective agreement. We have
             caused the recent economic meltdown. It         One of the comments from the bargaining survey         got a terrific team who will represent you well and
easier to target working people in the public sector      clearly captures the sentiment of many on the pen-        they are working on evaluating what you said while
instead of the corporations, who after a drop in 2008,    sion issue, “Do not under any circumstances allow         developing new proposals. Your support is crucial
are back making huge profits and giving large salary      them to increase our pension contribution. The U of T     and past agreements have demonstrated that visible
increases and bonuses to those in charge. Many of         management mismanaged the pension plan and                membership support has resulted in good agree-
the same people advocating a cut to the public sector     nobody has been made accountable. It is disgusting.”      ments. We have a special insert in this newsletter on
and shifting the work to the private sector through          Outsourcing:                                           bargaining and it is just the first of many updates on
outsourcing are looking forward to the six billion           A recent study by David MacDonald from the             bargaining.
dollar corporate tax cut that is headed their way.        Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that
Attacking public sector workers diverts attention         while federal government departments had financial        —Allison Dubarry
away from a discussion about what the real problem        restraints put in place and cuts in services that          President

Pension Solvency Explained ...continued from page 1
     But this is not a done deal.                         finance book (A Random Walk Down Wall
                                                          Street), economist Burton Malkiel famously
                                                                                                                    investments “in house.”
                                                                                                                      These failed investment strategies and
   The University made the same proposal for              says that “a blindfolded monkey throwing                  decisions were not made by USW members. To
 increased employee contributions in its                  darts at a newspaper’s financial pages could              demand that they pay for the consequences of
 negotiations with the Faculty Association last           select a portfolio that would do just as well as          courses of actions which were well beyond
 year, only to have this proposal rejected by an          one carefully selected by experts.” One                   their control is simply unfair. There are many
 arbitrator. The arbitrator felt that this demand         hesitates to link this statement in any way to            more equitable ways the University could
 was, in essence, an attempt to reduce total              the primates who ran the U of T’s pension                 amortize this deficit without relying on USW
 compensation. After awarding a wage                      fund or to those who chose them for the job.              members to shoulder the burden.
 increase, the arbitrator did not feel it was             Because that would be wrong.                                Raising employee contributions as a solution to
 appropriate to then increase employees’                    However, there have been serious                        a short-term problem would also, in all
 pension contributions. “To take away with the            accusations leveled at the University which               likelihood, continually penalize workers over a
 left hand what was given with the right seems            suggest that its pension investments have been            much longer term. A change written into the
 inconsistent,” he wrote.                                 mismanaged over the past decade. Last year a              collective agreement now would be difficult to
   The USW believes that is simply unfair to              blue-ribbon panel argued that a shift in the              remove in subsequent rounds of bargaining.
 force its members to pay for the shortfalls in a         portfolio from Canadian equities to risky                 Long after the University had eliminated its
 pension plan which they have no control over.            investments like hedge funds and private                  solvency issues, USW workers would continue to
 And this is a key point — the University — not           equities has dampened growth overall. The                 contribute as though the plan was still in deficit.
 the union or its members — administered the              panel found that the rates of return on the                 USW members have lived up to their side of
 pension plan and made all of the decisions on            University’s investments over the past decade             the bargain on pensions. It is unfair for these
 how its substantial assets should be invested.           were substantially behind the returns obtained            workers to pay for decisions they did not
 Responsibility for the various financial and             by other Universities, in both good economic              make. With the University beginning to mount
 legal commitments under the pension plan                 times and bad. If rates of return had been in             a public campaign over this issue, it is
 therefore rest entirely with the employer. In a          line with those of other plans, the current               important that USW members understand
 past round of arbitration, the administration            solvency deficit would be dramatically less.              their union’s position on this issue. The USW
 acknowledged that “the University bears the              The University has begun to act on the                    is known for standing up for pension plans
 risk of fulfilling that pension promise and              recommendations of this panel. It recently                everywhere, and we will continue to fight for
 must manage that risk prudently.”                        removed the external members of the board of              our members at the bargaining table on this
   Now, as an aside, in his successful personal           directors and brought the governance of its               issue. Bend over? Not likely.
  4      the Steeldrum                                                                                                              vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010

University reports

          alerie Ferrier, Lisa Newman,                                                                                  held to take nominations for a salaried member
          Grace Santos and I have been                                                                                  on the Negotiating Committee for the Victoria
          busy over the past couple of                                                                                  University Unit. Coming out of this meeting, I
          months assisting individual                                                                                   am pleased to announce that Valerie Ferrier has
members with their varied concerns.                                                                                     been acclaimed as the salaried member on the
Coming out of these meetings we have                                                                                    Committee. I look forward to working with
worked towards facilitating solutions                                                                                   Valerie as we move into bargaining.
with their respective managers and                                                                                        The first order of business for the Negotiating
Human Resources. Some of these situa-                                                                                   Committee will be to draft a survey and dis-
tions have been resolved while others                                                                                   tribute it to the Vic members to find out what
are works in progress.                                                                                                  your priorities are for the next contract. Please
  We have also have been meeting with                                                                                   make sure you fill out and return your survey
Ray de Souza (Bursar) and Helen Zias                                                                                    so that we can best represent your needs. We
(Human Resources) on a regular basis to                                                                                 will also be scheduling unit meetings to dis-
address employment concerns raised by                                                                                   cuss with members what you want to see
specific members and also general policy                                                                                changed in our Collective Agreement.
issues. These union/management meet-                                                                                      Once Valerie and I have a good idea what
ings are an important forum to facilitate                                                                               VIC members want in the next Collective
an open dialogue with the university                                                                                    agreement, we will start the process of schedul-
administration. This is particularly                                                                                    ing meetings with the Victoria University
important as we move closer to the start                                                                                administration.
of negotiations for a new collective
agreement.                                                                                                              —John Ankenman
  On February 24, a Unit meeting was                                                                                     Victoria University, Unit President

St. Michael’s College
                                  Performance Reviews With A Twist
                 Outcome Already Determined: No one to get a rating higher than 3 out of 4

        t. Mike’s union representatives have                                                                          will not get a rating higher than 3 out of 4,
        been quite active during these past few                                                                       since they themselves do not received anything
        months.                                                                                                       higher. We are closely monitoring this issue
           We are dealing with a new manage-                                                                          with the help of our staff representative.
ment team who has tried to implement a per-                                                                              At the March unit meeting, Steven Koschuk
formance review process for our members,                                                                              was acclaimed as the second member of our
starting with the librarian staff. We see little                                                                      Negotiating Committee for the upcoming
merit in this process and feel that performance                                                                       round of collective bargaining. In his current
reviews are not good indicators of how well                                                                           roles as our Unit Grievor and as member of our
you are doing at work. Instead, they are subjec-                                                                      Joint Health and Safety Committee, Steven is
tive reviews that measure how comfortable you                                                                         well positioned to participate effectively in the
are with your supervisor. Some of our mem-                                                                            upcoming contract negotiation. It will be the
bers felt — justifiably so — that these subjective                                                                    first negotiation for Steven and I, and we are
evaluations could be used against them and                                                                            grateful for the support of our U of T union
potentially lead to disciplinary actions, even                                                                        friends and for the expertise that our friends at
termination, if they are not performing up to                                                                         the Steelworkers International Union have
their supervisor’s standards. Performance                                                                             shared.
reviews are not accurate and fair as it was
clearly demonstrated by the librarians who                                                                            — Monica Phonsavatdy
decided amongst themselves that our members                                                                             SMC Unit President

Colour Code is Still at Work in Canada’s Labour Market.

            espite an increasingly          hensive post-Census studies on this       reflecting barriers in Canada’s work-     insecure, temporary and low pay-
            diverse population, a new       issue to date.                            places.                                   ing,” Block says. “Despite an increas-
            report on Canada’s racial-        “We found that during the heyday          “The work racialized Canadians          ingly diverse population, a colour
            ized income gap shows a         of Canada’s pre-recession economic        are able to attain is more likely to be   code is firmly in place.”
colour code is still at work in Cana-       boom, racialized Canadians were
da’s labour market.                         more willing to work, but experi-
  Canada’s Colour Coded Labour              enced higher levels of unemployment                            Among the study’s findings:
Market, co-produced by the Cana-            and earned less income than non-ra-
dian Centre for Policy Alternatives         cialized Canadians,” says co-author           • In 2006, during the boom years,      resented in industries with precari-
(CCPA) and the Wellesley Institute,         Grace-Edward Galabuzi, CCPA board             racialized Canadians had an            ous low-paid jobs; they are under-
draws on 2006 Census data to com-           member and Ryerson University pro-            unemployment rate of 8.6 per cent,     represented in public administra-
pare work and income trends among           fessor. “The distribution of work tells       as compared to 6.2 per cent for        tion, and more likely to work in the
racialized and non-racialized Cana-         a disturbing story: Equal access to           non-racialized Canadians.              hard-hit light manufacturing sector.
dians. It’s among the more compre-          opportunity eludes many racialized
                                                         Canadians.”                      • On average, non-racialized Cana-     • The colour code contributes to
                                                           Co-author Sheila               dian earnings grew marginally          much higher poverty levels: In
                                                         Block, Director of Eco-          (2.7%) between 2000-2005 – tepid       2005, 19.8% of racialized families
                                                         nomic Analysis at the            income gains considering the econ-     lived in poverty, compared to 6.4%
                                                         Wellesley Institute, says        omy grew by 13.1%. But the aver-       of non-racialized families
                                                         racialized Canadian              age income of racialized Canadians
                                                         workers earned only 81.4         declined by 0.2%.                      The report and a video are avail-
                                                         cents for every dollar                                                  able at: www.
                                                         paid to non-racialized           • Racialized workers are over-rep-     and
                                                         Canadian workers –
vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010                                                                                     the Steeldrum

      S taff A ppointed
      B argaining S urvey
      R esults — 2011
         The Bargaining Committee conducted an online survey of our members to determine
                            the major issues for upcoming negotiations.
            More than 1/3 of our members responded to the survey, many providing very
                                 helpful comments and suggestions

                                   5            Priorities Identified by our Members
                                               And what they had to say

1                                                                      “
       Salary IncreaSe                                                              With food prices going up, house insur-

       The need for our salaries to keep up with inflation
       was identified. With the HST and the influence of
       global inflation on the price of food and gas, we                            ance and other things, we need a wage

       are facing a higher cost of living.
                                                                                    increase to keep pace with inflation.

       Compared to the survey conducted in 2008, pensions have
       become a higher priority.                                         Do not under any circumstances allow to
       A number of pension-related concerns were identified:
       • Rejecting an increase in employee contributions                 increase our pension contribution. The U of T

       • Protecting the defined benefit plan
       • Keeping the bridge for early retirement                         leadership mismanaged the pension plan and
       • Getting back the early retirement window at age 55
       • Providing for a buy-back option                                 nobody!!! has been made accountable. It is

      Better HealtH care BenefItS
      Concerns related to both increasing and expanding health care coverage were identi-

      • Increasing the bi-annual $250 coverage for the vision plan
      • Expanding the vision plan to cover laser vision correction
                                                                                              I’d like an increase in the
      • Increasing the annual $500 coverage for the combination of massage, chiropractic,
         and physiotherapy
                                                                                              drug and glasses plan. The
      • Expanding the extended health care plan to cover a variety of alternative forms of
                                                                                              allowable dispensing fee is

         health care
      • Improving the dental plan to increase coverage for crowns, bridges, implants, etc.
         and to expand the plan to cover orthodontics
                                                                                              too low. As well, it’s hard to
      • Improving the prescription drug plan to increase the allowable dispensing fee for
                                                                                              get glasses for $250.

                                                                        “ ”
         prescription drugs and to expand the plan to cover prescription drugs not current-
         ly covered, prescribed over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and prescribed vitamins.

4      Job Security                                                            Confronting departmental reorganizations
       With an increase in organizational change and a move to
       contracting out, job security and better protection on layoff
                                                                               as a means of getting rid of employees,
       were highlighted.
                                                                               including those on approved leaves.

5                                                                       “
       Job Evaluation/Pay Equity/
       Issues related to inequitable and inadequate compen-                      Job evaluation process is related to
       sation continue to be a concern, with members want-
       ing the job evaluation process completed as soon as                       workload — everyone I know is doing
                                                                                 the work of more than one person.
6    the Steeldrum                                                                                           vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010

                                                                        T he Collective
                                                                    Bargaining Process

           The Bargaining Committee is preparing for negotiations for our new collective
          agreement. With each round of bargaining, we aim to make improvements to our
         wages, benefits, and working conditions. This will be our 5th collective agreement.
         The collective bargaining process begins with the notice to bargain and continues
              until ratification. The following outlines the stages involved in collective

    • A formal intention to negotiate is delivered 90               • Parties review each other’s proposals.
      working days before the end of a contract.                    • Both parties meet to discuss and negotiate the new
    • Parties exchange proposals.                                     agreement.

                       What Happens When Agreement Is Not Reached?
                                                                               • Conciliation is mandatory under the Labour
    • Either the union or the employer may ask the Ministry
                                                                                 Relations Act before a “no board” report can be
      of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer, who
      will help them reach an agreement.

                                                      No Board Report
    • Either side may call for a             • A “no board” report occurs when the conciliation officer informs the Ministry of
      “no board” report at any                 Labour that the parties cannot reach agreement. The Minister can then appoint a
      time.                                    conciliation board, but this rarely occurs. Instead, a notice is sent to both parties that
                                               a conciliation board will not be appointed (“no board” report).

                                                  Legal Job Action Position
    • 17 days after the no board             • This does not mean that either one               • Job Action may include information
      report is issued, the union is           of these will happen, but simply that              pickets, study sessions, rotating
      in a legal job action position and the   it is legal for it to happen.                      walkout or a complete walkout.
      employer in a lock-out position.         Negotiation may also continue.

    • A tentative agreement is presented to the                   • A majority of voting members in the bargaining unit
      membership for a vote.                                        ratify the agreement.

                                              New Collective Agreement
vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010                                                 the Steeldrum

    What Our Members Had to Say

“ ” “ ”
 Internal hiring should be made a priority                  For benefits, I wish we
 and the process improved — right now I                     were on more of a par with
 very much feel that internal hiring is just                faculty when it comes to
 a formality.                                               orthodontics, etc.

“ ”  “
   Pay increase at least to
                                           Prices are increasing rapidly in present
                                           situation, even 3% is not enough to cover
                                           gas electricity, water and cotton

   inflation, if not better.               increases. The food and rent increase will
                                           follow very rapidly

“    “
   Salary increase of a minimum
   2.5 - 3.0%. Our salaries are
                                               Family Care — near and dear to my
                                               heart — some sort of time available if

   really a disgrace for what we’re            the family is in crisis (eg child needs
   actually worth to the                       major surgery and no vacation time
   University.                        already stressful situation
                                               made worse by having to take an

                                               unpaid leave of absence. As a parent of
                                               a child that has needed multiple major

   Higher salary,                              surgeries over her short life, this is a
   of course.                                  major issue in our family, as I am the
                                               only source of income.)

“      “”
 Salary increase - I’ve been at the
 top of my salary grid for years.
                                                                      Salary increase to
                                                                      match inflation!

   ”“ ”
 The annual ATB increases don’t
 even come close to keeping up with
 cost of living increases.                     Health Care Benefits — not so much an
                                               improvement, but would like to have

                                               them at least stay at the same level.

  As for the Tuition Waiver and
  Pensions, I think we have good               Increase in pay to keep the same
  plans for both benefits, so I                standard of living as everything seems

  would just like to ensure they               to be rising in cost and the dollar does
  remain the same.                             not go as far.
8     the Steeldrum                                                                                                            vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010

 Ontario’s Public Sector Wage Freeze & Pension
 Funding Relief for the University Sector:
 What Does This Mean for Bargaining?
Last March,
the Liberal government announced it
                                        climate, we expect a tough round of
                                        negotiations. Our recent Bargaining
                                        survey shows a wage increase is the
                                                                                increased pension contributions by
                                                                                members. The University has
                                                                                indicated that they will be looking for
                                                                                                                          university’s questionable investment
                                                                                                                          strategies and pension contribution
                                                                                                                          holidays made the situation much
wanted a two-year wage freeze for       number one concern of our members       USW members to increase pension           worse. Regardless of which view you
public sector workers. Without          — so the Bargaining Committee will      contributions by half at the              hold, at the U of T it is the Employer
legislation to back up the plan, this   be going in looking for a fair salary   bargaining table.                         — and NOT pension plan members
freeze could not be imposed upon        increase in our next contract.            Much has been written about the U       — who is solely responsible for
unionized University of Toronto           This past summer saw the Liberal      of T pension fund’s losses during the     making special payments with respect
workers. While USW members              government offering Ontario             recent economic downturn. Some say        to any solvency deficit in the pension
received their 3% salary increase in    universities a program to address       losses were part of a global economic     fund. We have heard loud and clear
July 1, 2010, U of T froze the wages    pension solvency deficits as long as    event, lower interest rates are           that members do not want to see in
for many non-unionized staff. Given     the university is willing to take       decreasing the fund’s performance,        increase in their pension contributions
the current political and economic      certain steps – one of the options is   and some are of the view that             without any additional benefits.

Federal Outsourcing Costs Untouched
Despite Budget Caps: Study
OTTAWA—If the federal government wants to                                                                     “This system of parallel HR is where govern-
get serious about spending controls, it needs                                                                 ment managers are turning after last year’s
to look critically at its ballooning outsourcing                                                              departmental caps.”
costs, says a new study released today by the                                                                   Four large departments—Public Works and
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives                                                                       Government Services Canada, National Defence
(CCPA).                                                                                                       and Canadian Forces, Human Resources and
  According to the study, by CCPA Research                                                                    Skills Development, and Public Safety and Emer-
Associate David Macdonald, the growing and                                                                    gency Preparedness—make up half of all federal
concentrated nature of outsourcing has cre-                                                                   government outsourcing. Their payrolls increased
ated a shadow public service that works along-                                                                by only 9% since 2005-06, but their personnel out-
side the real public service—but without the                                                                  sourcing costs exploded, rising by 100%.
same hiring practices or transparency require-                                                                  “Without prompt corrective action, outsourc-
ments.                                                                                                        ing costs will continue to soar,” Macdonald
  “Over the past five years, personnel out-                                                                   says. “With the federal government running a
sourcing costs have risen 79%. While federal                                                                  significant deficit, it is more important than
departments have had their budgets capped,                                                                    ever to examine measures that offer potential
expenditures on outside consultants have not                                                                  savings while maintaining services.”
been touched and remain above $1 billion a            week to do some filing, they are now being                The study makes specific recommendations to
year,” says Macdonald.“Outsourcing isn’t what it      hired on contract for years at a time to work          help curb rising costs and make better use of the
used to be. Contractors aren’t coming in for a        beside regular employees, “ Macdonald says.            resources the government already has.

                        Compensation Freeze? Look at who got a nice salary bump in 2010
  Name                                                                                               2010 Salary          2009 Salary           Increase in

 William Moriarty, President and Chief Executive Officer, University of Toronto                      $697,020.00          $605,728.11           $91,291.89
 Asset Management Corporation

 Daren Smith, Director, Hedge Funds, University of Toronto Asset Management                          $232,500.00          $183,773.96           $48,726.04

 Gillian Morrison, Assistant Vice-President, Divisional Relations & Campaigns                        $220,750.03          $188,433.34           $32,316.69

 Michael Edmunds, Director of Information Commons                                                    $204,081.65          $148,992.48           $55,089.17

 Heather Fraser, Director, Business Design Initiatives                                               $191,666.68          $112,499.96           $79,166.72

 Paul Donoghue, Chief Administrative Officer, University of Toronto Mississauga                      $191,168.52          $157,500.00           $33,668.52

 Kyle Winters, Executive Director, Corporate & Foundation Relations                                  $160,195.32          $135,069.48           $25,125.84

 Elizabeth Didonato, Executive Director, Research Oversight & Compliance                             $158,088.49          $117,185.49           $40,903.00

 Benjamin Abramov, Vice-President, Private Markets, University of Toronto                            $152,257.96          $110,360.96           $41,897.00
 Asset Management Corporation
  vol. 10, no. 3   .   April 2010                                                                                                             the Steeldrum

 Pension 101
Pension Plans: Defined Benefit VS Defined
Contribution — What is the Difference?
        defined benefit pension is a plan in which      mula as specified in the plan. The risk in this      and the plan goes into deficit, at retirement the
        an employer promises a specified pension        plan is on the employer side.                        worker would only be paid what is in their
        amount at retirement. The plan is prede-          In a defined contribution plan the amount the      account, plus or minus investments and expens-
termined by a formula based on contributions            employer and/or the employee contribute to a         es which could amount to zero. The individual
such as employee earnings, length of service and        retirement plan is specified. Individual             takes the risk in this plan.
age, and usually the employer contributes to the        accounts are set up for participants and benefits      The University of Toronto has a defined ben-
plan as well. The monies in the plan may be             are based on the employee and employer contri-       efit pension plan, which was the norm in post
invested and whether the investments do well or         butions plus earning from investments. How-          war years. Today pension have shifted to
not, the employer is legally obligated to provide       ever, none of the contributions to the plan are      defined contribution plans, which transfers the
the pension benefit amount as outlined in the for-      guaranteed. If the investments do not do well        risk from employers to the employee.

Retirement Security is for Everyone!
         anada is at a crossroads, just like it was     • Immediately increase Old Age Security (OAS)          cases of fraud.
         forty years ago when it was time to do           and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)         • Regulate pension funds for solvency in order
         something about our health care system.          for all retirees.                                    to secure promised pension benefits.
Today, we need to do something about retirement                                                              • Provide any temporary solvency funding
income, and we need to do it soon.                      Our governments must also:                             relief to employers in serious financial trou-
  It’s time to change some things                       • Create a national pension insurance fund to          ble on a case-by-case basis only. Applica-
  The problem with Canada’s retirement income             ensure that workers’ defined benefit pensions        tions must be approved by the workplace
system has become so obvious that even bank               aren’t at risk when employers go under or specu-     bargaining agent (the union) or a majority of
economists have started to admit the RRSP                 lative bubbles go bust. The United States has a      pension beneficiaries (in a non-union work-
approach has failed. There’s too much risk and not        pension guarantee fund covering up to about          place).
enough security to ensure that, after a lifetime of       $50,000 of pension income.                           Whether retirement is just around the corner
work, people can retire and live out their last years   • Regulate financial products to ensure that         or something that’s decades into the future,
in dignity.                                               risks are reasonable and clear to all inves-       Labour’s plan for Retirement Security has
                                                          tors, and to ensure that rating agencies are       clear benefits for everyone - no matter where
  The federal and provincial governments must:            truly independent.                                 you work.
• Phase in a doubling of payouts from the Canada Pen-   • Regulate pension fund investments in risky
  sion Plan (CPP) and the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).      financial instruments and prosecute any            —Canadian Labour Congress

      In public statements, the University has indicated that it wants us to                                   Who Lobbied Against
                     accept increased employee contributions
                                                                                                                 Improving CPP?

                 to the pension plan with no increase in benefits.
                                                                                                             he Canadian Labour      information.”
              What are employee pension “contributions”?                                                     Congress has filed an     Georgetti says two access

                                                                                                             Access to Information   requests were filed in late
         ension “contributions” are the wages       as a pie cut up into different pieces:            request to find out who lob-   December 2010.
         we have earned but will take when          wages, health benefits, and pension. By           bied the federal finance         “Our sources tell us that
         we retire as part of our pension           agreeing to contribute a certain amount           minister against proposals     the financial services sector
   wage. They are deferred wages, our               towards our pension, we forego receiving          to enhance the Canada and      was lobbying hard prior to
   wages, deferred until we take our pension.       that amount as wages now in order to              Quebec Pension Plans.          the finance ministers meet-
     The pension is part of our total com-          receive our pension later.                          “Last summer Jim Fla-        ing in Kananaskis in
   pensation, including wages and health              If we increased our pension contribu-           herty said that improving      December,” Georgetti says.
   benefits, negotiated and improved upon           tions, we would be reducing our current           the CPP was the best way to      “The banks and insurance
   by the Union in each round of bargaining.        wages while gaining no increase in pension        ensure the retirement secu-    companies want control
   We can think of our total compensation           benefits.                                         rity of Canadians,” says       over the retirement savings

                                                                                                   BARGAINING 2011
                                                                                                      CLC president Ken Geor-        of Canadian workers and
                       Why would we agree to such a deal?                                             getti, “but the minister has   that’s a shame because they

         mployee pension contributions are         ing to this formula. The University, in turn,      changed his mind and now       charge obscenely high man-
         determined by a specific formula.         must meet its obligations to fund the bal-         favours vastly inferior pri-   agement fees for investing
         We have met our obligations accord-       ance of the pension promise.                       vate sector plans. We want     those savings. That can
                                                                                                      to know who got to the gov-    reduce your pension nest
                                                                                                      ernment and we hope this       egg by more than 50 per
                                                                                                      Access to Information          cent. The CPP is a far better
                                                                                                      request will provide that      option.”
10   the Steeldrum                                                                                                   vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010


                                             With L a b o ur’s Plan
 A worker who is 28 years old and               A worker who is 38 years old and                 A worker who is 48 years old and
 works full time until the age of               works full-time from now until                   works full time until the age of
 retirement at age 65 (37 years of              retirement at age 65 (27 years of                retirement at age 65 (17 years of
 expanded contributions) would                  expanded contributions) would                    expanded contributions) would
 earn a monthly CPP payment of                  earn a monthly CPP payment of                    earn a monthly CPP payment of
 about $1,772.*                                 about $1,293.*                                   about $814.*

 Without labour’s plan, the same                Without labour’s plan, the same                  Without labour’s plan, the same
 worker’s monthly CPP payment                   worker’s monthly CPP payment                     worker’s monthly CPP payment
 would only be about $886.                      would only be about $646.                        would only be about $407.

                     What Our Members Had to Say

“    “
     Keep our pension plan the way it is and
     do not back down on the amount we
     pay - U of T had a pension holiday,
     now they should be paying for it, not
     us. We didn’t ask for a holiday - they
                                                                                 No huge dramatic immediate
                                                                                 increases in the amount we have to
                                                                                 contribute each month to the pension
                                                                                 plan. Many of us simply can’t afford
                                                                                 the drop in net income. The corporate

     should have been contributing all                                           tone around this conversation at
     along.                                                                      large lately is that it has somehow
                                                                                 become unreasonable for retiring
                                                                                 workers to expect to have a decent

“      ”
                                                                                 standard of living from a pension to
                                                                                 which they contributed for 35 years!
     Thank you for indicating that

     our local will not bend on
     pension contribution during

     this round of negotiations —
     indeed, IT WAS NOT OUR                                                      Early retirement options should be
     FAULT!!!                                                                    made available for USW employees.
                                                                                 The same benefits for ‘renewal’
                                                                                 (replacing newer staff at lower cost),

                                                                                 can be achieved amongst USW

                                                                                 employees with significant savings to
      We definitely do not want to pay                                           University if reasonable offers/options
      anymore than 25% share of our                                              were made available.

      university pension. The
      financial market is improving
      and when good time comes                                                          Through bad investments, the
      again, the university will never                                                  University lost Pension money.

      go back to paying 75% of the                                                      I don’t feel they should be asking
      pension if we make any changes                                                    the contributors to put more in
      now.                                                                              to make up shortfalls.
vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010                                                                                                             the Steeldrum
Workload and Stress
                                                           MENTAL DISTRESS
                                           is an important concern in the workplace today.
                              Stress can show itself in reduced efficiency, lack of job satisfaction, injury,
                               absenteeism, turnover, illness, indifference and lack of creativity. In an
                            environment where employees are encouraged to compete with one another or
                             judge another’s work performance, it can create a toxic work environment.

          The Canadian Mental Health Association lists common sources of workplace stress as:
                     • fear of job loss                                           • staff cutbacks leading to increased
                     • fear of layoff in an uncertain economy                       workload

“ ” “
                     • increased overtime                                         • pressure to perform.

       There used to be 4 people on our                                           My supervisor has been on Research
       team, now it’s only me.                                                    Leave for the last 10 months. I am now

                                                                                  frequently responsible for work that he

“ ”“
                                                                                  had been responsible for Complexity and
                                                                                  amount of work has increased.
        Flexible working hours, eg
        coming in late, or leaving early
        some days. Or working core
        hours here and some hours                                                 Management takes the view that these
        from home, if/as possible.                                                workload issues are not their concern, it

“                                                                                                                                    ”
                                                                                  is the staff members problem to solve
                                                                                  how to fit more work in the same amount
         I find workload unmanageable                                             of time.
         for a 8:45-5pm workload. Often

         there is ‘implied’ pressure and
         expectation to work later and

         not be awarded overtime for it.

                                                                                   New initiatives are implemented without
                                                                                   consideration for the workload it
         I do not want to pay a greater                                            generates.
         contribution than faculty or

         other employees do. If there’s an
         increase in contributions, it has
         to be the same for everyone.                                             Workload Rating: Rated on a scale of ‘1’ through ‘5’,
                                                                                  with 1 being “light” and 5 being “extremely heavy”
                                                                                                          Light   Moderately
  Increased workload in past three years                                                                   1%        2%

                                                                                            Extremely Heavy
                                                                          Light     Moderately
                                                                           1%          2%

                                                                                                                               Just Right                        Light

                                                                                                                                 33%                             Moderat
        No increase 28.4%                                   Extremely Heavy
                                                                                                                                                                 Just Righ
                                                            Yes     No
                                    Increase in Workload                                          Just Right                                   Light
                                           71.6%                                                     33%                                       Moderately
                                                                                            50%                                                Just Right


                                                                                                                                               Extremely Heavy

  Trend of increasing workload continues.                   Heavy
12   the Steeldrum                                                                                         vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010

                                                                   Health and Safety

“   “The Civility Guidelines have no
     teeth. There is no way to hold
     management accountable (especially
                                                                     Virtually impossible to get time away from
                                                                     desk. The university talks about work life
                                                                     balance, but if I actually want to use the

     when HR condones the bullying).                                 gym we are encouraged to, how can I get my

     Can we try to get stronger language                             work done? Everyone eats at their desk—the
     in the next contract?                                           workload is strenuous.

“    “ Ergonomics at U of T is basically non existent.
       They cover themselves by saying everything is
       in place for someone that gets injured. What
       they mean is we do the bare minimum by law.
       What they need is an ergonomist to check
       every single persons workstation to start
                                                                                   Working environment: from
                                                                                   President of the University to
                                                                                   custodian, all employees should
                                                                                   understand that there should be
                                                                                   equal respect. One should not be
                                                                                   treated any better than the other
                                                                                   because of ranking within the

       with. Then they need to have good training on
       proper work posture/ exercises and so on to                                 University. Placement, wage,
       ensure employees do not get injured.                                        gender, education, personal
                                                                                   situation (status, health , etc.)

                                                                                   should not be an indicator of just
                                                                                   how polite or how respectful we
                                                                                   should be treating each other.

            What are the main Health and Safety Concerns in your Area?

          % of respondents who indicate areas of concern







                                                                                  Ergonomics/Repetitiv   Other (please specify
                      Air Quality
                      Air Quality          Asbestos
                                           Asbestos        Bullying/Harrassment
                                                           Bullying/Harassment                                   Other
                                                                                    Repitative strain
                                                                                        e Strain            in # 7 below)
           Series1      60.6%               17.5%                20.3%                   51.9%                  16.0%

               Number reporting bullying/harassment as a concern has gone up – was
               16% in 2008. Over 200 people reported this as an issue in this survey.
    vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010                                                                                                            the Steeldrum
Labour Solidarity
               Hamilton Day of Action

            n Saturday, January 29th, 2011,
            thousands of Steelworkers and
            other trade unionists gathered in
            Hamilton for Hamilton Day of
Action, a rally in support of locked out
members of Steelworkers Local 1005. It was a
breathtaking sight on a cold, snowy Saturday
to see flags and banners representing so
many different unions and other
organizations. Unions and union leaders
were represented from across the country, as
well as community groups and student
  As of January 29th, the approximately 900
members of Local 1005 had been on the picket
line for eleven weeks. The employer, US
Steel, locked them out when the bargaining
committee rejected an offer that would have
included major cuts to the pension plan
which would affect not only members’
pensions, but also those of retirees. The
proposal would have discontinued indexing
of pension, leaving retirees with no defence
against increases in the cost of living.                                              Andrea Horvath, Ontario Leader of the NDP; and Ken Georgetti, President of
  It was not simply the negotiations between the company and the union at issue,      the Canadian Federation of Labour. They called on the government to protect
but that when the Canadian government allowed US Steel, an American company,          Canadian manufacturing jobs and to enforce agreements regarding sales of
to buy the former Stelco Hilton plant, it was on the condition that jobs be           companies to foreign ownership.
maintained. So far, since the takeover, 2200 jobs have been lost, and the proposed      At the time of writing, members of USW Local 1005 remain locked out, with
pension cuts would affect another 9000 workers.                                       no settlement in sight.
  Speakers at the rally included Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of
Labour; Leo Gerard, International President of the Steelworkers; Ken Newman,          —Alex Thomson
National Director of the Steelworkers; Jack Layton, Leader of the federal NDP;         Victoria University

                             HBC Employees Join United Steelworkers
            orkers at Hudson’s Bay Corporation’s warehouse/logistics cen-               “Our union is growing quickly in the logistics/warehousing sector in
            tre in Brampton have voted to join the United Steelworkers                Canada, with over 2,500 members already employed at similar workplac-
            (USW).                                                                    es,” Neumann said.
              In a vote Wednesday, administered by the Ontario Labour                   “The HBC workers want good union service and an effective approach to
Relations Board, the workers voted by a 55% margin to join the USW.                   worker representation and that’s what they’ll get in the Steelworkers,” said
About 200 workers in the HBC warehouse supply products to Zellers, The                Wayne Fraser, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
Bay, Home Outfitters and Fields stores across Canada.                                   “We look forward to a positive relationship with HBC management and to
 “These working women and men made a strong choice in favour of our                   helping these employees achieve a new collective agreement,” Fraser said.
union and we are honoured by that choice,” said Ken Neumann, the
USW’s National Director for Canada.

USW Welcomes Juan Linares’ Unconditional Release in Mexico
         he United Steelworkers (USW) welcomed           trade union solidarity,” said USW President Leo W.       against Los Mineros, the mine and metalworkers
         the release from jail today of Juan Linares     Gerard. Steelworkers in the U.S. and Canada have         union.”
         Montufar, a union leader of the National        lobbied for Linares’s release and provided support          Mexican prosecutors dropped bank fraud
         Mexican Mine and Metal Workers Union -          to his family.                                           charges against Linares, the President of the
also called Los Mineros - who had been unjustly             “The unlawful detention of Juan Linares is a          union’s Justice and Oversight Commission, after
imprisoned since December 3, 2008.                       gross human rights violation that has brought            the former union members who originally made
   Linares’s unconditional release follows a week        shame and disgrace on the Mexican government,”           the fraud accusation withdrew it. Germán Larrea,
of union protests at Mexican embassies and con-          Gerard said. “We hope that Juan’s release means          the owner of the Grupo Mexico mining company -
sulates in more than 40 countries, including 17 cit-     that the Calderón administration will now drop all       which has waged a five-year assault on the min-
ies in the U.S. and Canada.                              charges against the union’s leader, Napoleón             eworkers union - had been ordered to appear as a
   “This is a tremendous victory for international       Gómez, and end its campaign of persecution               witness March 2 in Linares’s case.

          Humanity Fund Contributes to Japanese Earthquake Relief
          he Steelworkers Humanity Fund is contributing $20,000 toward                Nevertheless thousands individual union members and their families in Japan
          emergency aid and reconstruction efforts following the March 11             have been devastated and the sheer magnitude of the rebuilding effort is enor-
          earthquake and tsunami in Japan,” said Ken Neumann, USW National            mous,” Neumann said.
          Director for Canada.                                                          “The contribution of the Steelworkers Humanity Fund means that Japanese
  The Steelworkers Humanity Fund contribution is in response to requests from         unions will have additional resources to be able to alleviate hardship and speed
Japanese trade unions. The Steelworkers’ contribution will be channeled               recovery for their members.”
through the ICEM (International Chemical Energy and Mining Unions Federa-               The disaster left over 18,000 dead, inflicted extensive damage and led to sig-
tion) affiliates in Japan, and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The CLC            nificant accidents at two major nuclear power stations.
Japan Disaster Relief Fund will transfer funds to the Japanese Trade Union Con-         Founded in 1985, the Steelworkers Humanity Fund is a registered charitable
federation (JTUC-RENGO).                                                              organization. Steelworkers members contribute to the Fund through clauses
  “Japan is a relatively rich economy and we are confident that Japanese commu-       negotiated into collective agreements. In some cases matching contributions
nities will have the ability and resources to mount a successful rebuilding effort.   come from employers.
  14       the Steeldrum                                                                                                           vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010

        The RepublicanWar on Unions
While the world isuprisings onTunisia,
While democratic focused in the                          Obama Stands Up For Public Servants
                                                         In Wisconsin
                                                                                                                 while the wealthiest among us keep getting tax
                                                                                                                 cuts, we’re not doing the right thing. I think
Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Iran, a similar                   In an interview with a Milwaukee television          that’s something Republicans and Democrats
uprising in Madison, Wisconsin, has major implica-       on February 24, President Barack Obama made             should be able to agree on.”
tions on the future of unions in the United States       it clear where he stands with regard to the
and Canada.                                              labour unrest in Wisconsin. “Some of what I’ve          From Cairo to Madison:
  Faced with a budget deficit, Wisconsin Republi-        heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they’re            We Stand With You As You stood With Us
can Governor Scott Walker has decided that the           just making it harder for public employees to             The role of labor unions in the Cairo demonstra-
only way to balance the budget is to strip the state     collectively bargain generally, seems like more         tions was one of the most underreported stories
employees’ union of its collective bargaining rights.    of an assault on unions. I think everybody has          about the pro-democracy movement in Egypt.
  State employees, their families, students and          got to make some adjustments, but I think it is         Many were protesting against neoliberal right-wing
labour activists and supporters responded by gath-       also important to recognize that public employ-         economic policies just as much as they were pro-
ering around and in the Wisconsin State Capital          ees make enormous contributions to our states           testing against the Mubarak dictatorship.
building to rally against the attack on worker rights.   and our citizens.”                                        During the uprising in that country, AFL-CIO
Governor Walker has so far refused to meet with             “But let me also say this: it does no one any        president Richard Trumka praised the role of orga-
the union to negotiate contract concessions. “This       good when public employees are denigrated or            nized labor, saying, “The people’s movement for
(bill) is to break the unions and to destroy the mid-    vilified or their rights are infringed upon. We         democracy in Egypt and the role unions are play-
dle class,” said USW District 2 Director Mike Bol-       need to attract the best and the brightest to pub-      ing for freedom and worker rights inspires us and
ton, “so that the rich can get richer and the corpora-   lic service. These are times that demand it.            will not be forgotten.”
tions can have more power.”                              We’re not going to attract the best teachers for          Now, as tens of thousands of union members and
  As Ryan Witt wrote in The Examiner, “What hap-         our kids, for example, if they only make a frac-        other Wisconsin residents are taking to the streets
pens to union workers impacts every worker. His-         tion of what other professionals make. We’re            to protest against Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) attempt to
tory is easily forgotten, but before the unions came     not going to convince the bravest Americans to          abolish collective bargaining rights for most public
to power in America the average worker was basi-         put their lives on the line as police officers or       workers, a leader of Egypt’s largest umbrella group
cally powerless to negotiate higher wages and bet-       firefighters if we don’t properly reward that           of independent labor unions is praising the Wiscon-
ter working conditions. The 40-hour work week in         bravery. So yes, we need a conversation about           sin movement.
America is standard because the labor movement           pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other              In a videotaped statement, Kamal Abbas, the
made it standard. Safe working conditions were           promises we’ve made as a nation. But as we              General Coordinator of the Centre for Trade Unions
fought for and won by unions, and then quickly           make decisions about our budgets going for-             and Workers Services, tells the Wisconsin protest-
became standard for all workers through legisla-         ward, I believe everyone should be at the table,        ers, “We stand with you as you stood with us.” He
tion. A decent living wage and a strong middle           and the concept of shared sacrifice should pre-         says “no one believed” that the revolution against
class did not come about in America until the            vail. If all the pain is borne by one group –           the Mubarak regime would succeed, yet they were
unions came into power.”                                 whether it is workers, or seniors, or the poor –        able to bring the dictator down within 18 days.”

                                                 The Battle for Wisconsin
           cott Walker over played his     ten thousand people circled the state     police and firefighters, whose unions      budget cuts would hurt people with
           hand. With Republican           building, unified in their anger and      had been exempted from Walker’s ant-       disabilities particularly hard. It was
           majorities in the state         readiness to take action. Walker, in      union attack because they had              clear that the students were all there
           Assembly and Senate, the        defiance of a court ruling, had ordered   contributed to his election campaign,      on their own accord - no adults had
recently elected governor of Wisconsin     the state buiding to be closed to the     had been from the start fully              organized them.
thought he could crush the state’s         public, but some resourceful protesters   supportive of the fight back and loudly       Saturday March 12th was the day
public sector unions with punitive new     slipped through a couple of windows       vocal against Scott Walker.                one hundred and fifty thousand
laws that he inbedded in the 2011 state    and eventually got a door opened long       On Friday I went to the state            people were expected to show up at
budget. When the Assembly passed           enough for the crowd outside to           building at about 3:00 pm. I was struck    the state building for a worker
the budget, Walker must have thought       overwhelm the state capital police and    by how few protesters were marching        solidarity rally. By early Saturday
his attack on the workers of Wisconsin     gain entry for everyone who wanted        around the building. It turned out the     afternoon the crowd was at least two
was well on its way to victory. The                                                                                             hundred thousand strong. There were
thing is, the fourteen Democratic state                                                                                         farmers, police, firefighers, anti-war
senators (regularly referred to as the                                                                                          activists, Republcans ashamed of their
“Fab 14”) and, more importantly,                                                                                                party, members of private sector
hundreds of thousands of                                                                                                        unions, teachers, students, state
Wisconsinites, led by students, were                                                                                            administrative employees and non-
not ready to admit defeat.                                                                                                      unionized workers. There were people
  While students protested in large                                                                                             from all parts of Wisconsin, as well as
numbers against the attack on their                                                                                             supporters from out of state. Many
teachers and the Democratic senators                                                                                            people carried placards that referred to
headed out of state to prevent quorum                                                                                           class struggle and the need for a
being met, both public and private                                                                                              general strike, although the most
sector unions swung into action. For                                                                                            prominent actions called for were the
several days and nights protesters                                                                                              election of a Democrat state Supreme
occupied the state capital building. The                                                                                        Court judge to replace the Republican
fight back against Walker, the                                                                                                  incumbent, and the recall of Walker
Republican Party and their billionaire                                                                                          and eight eligible Republican senators.
cronies was on.                                                                                                                    The Wisconsin workers’ fight back is
  When I arrived in Madison on                                                                                                  inspiring and important to people all
March 8th, the first occupation of the                                                                                          over the United States, Canada and
state building was over, but hundreds,                                                                                          beyond. State governments in Ohio,
and sometimes thousands, of                                                                                                     Florida and Indiana, for example, are
protesters arrived every day to express                                                                                         also trying to crush the ability of
their anger against Walker’s efforts to                                                                                         public sector workers to protect their
strip away almost all the collective                                                                                            livelihoods.
bargaining and dues collecting rights                                                                                              If the Wisconsin fight back fails,
of Wisconsin’s public sector unions.                                                                                            attacks on workers will almost
  Then, on March 10th, Walker got                                                                                               certainly escalate across the U.S. and
cute. In an end run around the             into the Building.                        building was open and inside there         Canada. Conversely, if the Wisconsin
Democratic senators, he split out the        So there we were, filling the main      were hundreds of junior high and high      fight back succeeds, we could very
anti-union provisions from the budget      floor rotunda space and the two levels    school students standing and sitting in    well see an upswing in the strength of
bill and had the Republican senators       above, chanting, drumming and             a circle, fully engaged in listening and   organized labour and the confidence
pass them as a separate bill that did      talking to each other. At one point ten   reacting to each other taking turns at a   of all workers to beat back the efforts
not require quorum. If Walker thought      or so off duty police, wearing their      microphone to talk about politics. They    of those who would have us shoulder
that blow would deflate the fight back,    “Cops for Labor” shirts, were walking     had signs that read, “I love my            the full burden of the recent economic
he was sorely mistaken. Not only were      towards me. A woman thanked them          teacher”, “Scott Walker is destroying      crisis that was created by Wall Street
Wisconsin workers, students and their      for being with the protesters. One of     education”, “This is what democracy        bankers and their allies.
allies not deflated, there was a           the police responded, “We know            looks like” and “Recall Walker”. There
significant increase in their              where the real criminals work.” That      was a student who spoke about how he       —John Ankenman
determination to fight on. That night      was in keeping with the fact that the     has autism and how many of Walker’s         USW Local 1998, Victoria University
vol. 10, no. 2   .   April 2010
                                                                                  the Steeldrum

                 R A L LY FOR R E SPE C T
                 Our COMMUNITIES, Public SERVICES, Good JOBS!
                      Community Day of Action in Toronto
                          1 p.m. Saturday, April 9, 2011
                  Rally at Dundas Square, followed by a march
                               to Toronto City Hall
                                 What’s at Stake?

      O    n Saturday, April 9, 2011, rally at
           Dundas Square (Yonge & Dundas)
      and march to Toronto City Hall to
                                                 can stop cuts, closures, user fees and
                                                 privatization that will hurt every person
                                                 and every neighbourhood in Toronto.
      defend our communities, public             Let’s speak up before it spreads to every
      services and good jobs. Together, we       city and town in Ontario.
   16       the Steeldrum                                                                                                                             vol. 10, no. 2    .    April 2010

                                  a Huge Problem in Canada

            he old adage that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses, got a boost           change throughout the company.
            from a recent human resources (HR) survey with three-quarters of                      The survey revealed that more than a third of companies (35.2 per cent) “will
            participants agreeing bad managers are a “big” or “huge” problem in                 tolerate just about anything” in their rotten managers if he or she delivers results.
            Canada.                                                                                Unfortunately, Balthazard says, by ignoring the problem manager, companies
   In January, the Toronto Star reported this finding from a survey of Human                    are often left with high turnover as good employees leave.
 Resources Professionals                                                                                                                              “They have options,” he
 Association (HRPA) members,                                                                                                                        points out, while the
 the majority of whom say                                                                                                                           underperforming employees
 dealing with “bosses from                                                                                                                          stay, leaving the firm or
 hell” takes up a lot of their                                                                                                                      institution with poor
 time.                                                                                                                                              performers. This latter group
    In fact, more than half of the                                                                                                                  needs the job and doesn’t
 793 HR respondents admitted                                                                                                                        tend to complain about being
 having “difficult                                                                                                                                  treated badly, but Balthazard
 conversations” with problem                                                                                                                        warns, “When it blows, it
 managers each month.                                                                                                                               blows up big.”
    This widespread finding                                                                                                                           Another problem for
 surprised HRPA director                                                                                                                            companies ignoring problem
 Claude Balthazard, who says                                                                                                                        bosses, Balthazard says, is
 he expected bad managers to                                                                                                                        that with the emergence of
 represent one employee in 50                                                                                                                       social media, former
 or 100, but the results were                                                                                                                       employees are spreading the
 more like one in 10. “We (HR)                                                                                                                      word and “getting back” at
 have to clean up the messes.”                                                                                                                      companies that don’t deal
    Participants in the survey                                                                                                                      with terrible managers. “It’s
 say problem areas include                                                                                                                          not as easily containable as it
 making inappropriate                                                                                                                               used to be,” he says.
 comments (e.g., racial                                                                                                                               To deal with this,
 overtones), favouritism,                                                                                                                           Balthazard says that
 unwillingness to follow due                                                                                                                        companies need to change the
 process, disrespect, and                                                                                                                           ingrained, problematic
 bullying or intimidation.                                                                                                                          culture that is enabling these
    Unfortunately for workers,                                                                                                                      kinds of bad bosses. His
 fewer than 20 per cent (16.6) of HR professionals said they were effective “most               suggestions include providing better role models, telling positive and
 of the time” in dealing with a bad boss.                                                       empowering stories inside, and supporting executives or high profile managers
    “There’s a kind of motif of the manager that’s tough, berates employees and                 who are more professional. “A CEO leading by example is very powerful.”
 flies off the handle,” Balthazard says. The underlying catalyst, he points out, is               Balthazard also suggests companies put in place a system where workers can,
 that some managers believe acting aggressive or intimidating is how you get                    for example, report being bullied or mistreated, without repercussions.
 things done.
    While survey respondents admit simply pointing out the bad behaviour                        —Kathleen O’Brien
 sometimes works, other times they agree reform requires a radical culture                       Faculty of Information
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