News for members of Steelworkers Local 1998, University of Toronto April 2011, volume 10, no 2 www.usw1998.ca
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
2 the Steeldrum vol. 10, no. 3 . April 2010
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
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 email@example.com
vol. 10, no. 3 . April 2010 the Steeldrum
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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. policyalternatives.ca
paid to non-racialized • Racialized workers are over-rep- and www.wellesleyinstitute.com.
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
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,
drug and glasses plan. The
• Expanding the extended health care plan to cover a variety of alternative forms of
allowable dispensing fee is
• 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,
including those on approved leaves.
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
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. left...an 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
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?
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 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
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
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
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”
Increased workload in past three years 1% 2%
Just Right Light
No increase 28.4% Extremely Heavy
Increase in Workload Just Right Light
71.6% 33% Moderately
50% Just Right
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 Asbestos
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
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
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
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.
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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