Open letter from Jerry Dias to COPE National President David Black

Nationa Pres

Brother Black,

I am writing to you in regards to COPE Ontario staff represented by IAM District 78 and Local 1922 who have been on strike since Wednesday October 2. I find it deeply troubling that no progress has been made so far with COPE regional or national representatives to get back to the bargaining table.

When COPE negotiated with Unifor in the most recent round of bargaining, Unifor moved swiftly to ensure that all issues surrounding a defined benefits pension plan and many similar language and financial measures at issue in the current dispute, were enshrined in the collective agreement without question. It is also noteworthy that negotiations between COPE and Unifor came at a time when COPE leadership were comfortably engaged in a public campaign to smear Unifor.

Fighting for defined benefits plans for our members across Ontario and every region in Canada is a real and persistent challenge that is almost always an uphill battle. Within our houses of labour, we have to set clear and consistent examples for employers bent on undermining fair compensation for our members. This labour dispute undermines our broader fight and leaves the labour movement further away from this vital objective. Aside from the defined benefits plan, Unifor’s wage, benefits and retirement benefits by far exceeds what COPE is paying its own workers.

If COPE’s agreement with Unifor for wages and a defined benefits pension plan is good enough for its members at Unifor then it should be good enough for its staff members in Ontario.

I urge COPE regional and national leadership to get back to the bargaining table immediately and end this senseless and completely unnecessary labour action.

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias
National President

World Day for Decent Work


Each October 7 we mark the World Day for Decent Work (WDDW) with international labour organizations renewing the demand for good pay and working conditions and the call for social justice for workers and our families.

While decent work and dignity for workers should be a given right it remains a goal that we must fight to achieve both around the globe and here at home in Canada. Last week Unifor members gathered to protest at Fiera Foods in Toronto to decry the death of Enrico Miranda, sadly one of approximately 1,000 workers killed annually on the job in Canada. Employed as a “temporary” worker at Fiera for years, Miranda was the fifth worker to lose his life while working at the industrial bakery since 1998.

The lack of regulation of temporary workers in Canada has led to substandard working conditions and the exploitation and abuse of those who are often too desperate to keep their jobs to voice their concerns. This is why Unifor members must speak loudly on their behalf and on behalf all workers. In the coming weeks we will be asking for support as we escalate action against Fiera Foods and the injustice of using temporary workers, with lower pay, few rights and no benefits, to do full-time work.

This year the theme of the World Day of Decent Work is “Investing in care for gender equality.” Investment in care for children, for seniors and in health care will reduce unpaid work by women, facilitate their entry into the workforce, and help to eliminate the gender pay gap.

Unifor has worked to advance gender equality through the union’s advocacy for universal daycare, improved health care funding and paid domestic violence leave here in Canada and through the Unifor Social Justice Fund’s support of international programs.

Today on WDDW, we stand in solidarity with workers everywhere to build a global economy that puts people first. Please share your support of the World Day for Decent Work on social media using the hashtag #wddw19.

In solidarity,

Jerry Dias
National President

Sask Crown members work to rule in fight against wage freeze

September 28, 2019 – 3:00 AM

REGINA—Employers have called off contract talks after they steadfastly refused to move off of a government-imposed wage freeze.

“Work-to-rule” job action is scheduled to begin Monday at 12:01 a.m., with escalation planned for the end of the week.

“Picket lines are our last resort, but we’ve said from the start that wage freezes were simply not fair,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Considering the Premier gave himself a 2.3% raise this year, Crown workers’ demands are more than reasonable.”

Nearly 5,000 Unifor members from SaskTel, SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SecurTek, DirectWest, SaskWater, and the Water Security Agency will begin the united job action across Saskatchewan on Monday. The job action will look different in every workplace, but workers will perform the minimum standard required to do their job safely. In most cases that involves refusing overtime and ignoring performance targets set by the employer.

If an agreement cannot be reached before Friday, October 4 at 12:01 a.m., Unifor members from all seven bargaining units will commence a strike.

Unifor says that negotiations have been especially frustrating because the rationale for applying the government mandate to the Crowns sector is deeply flawed.

“The government insists that wage freezes are necessary for the provincial operating budget—but that’s not how Crown workers’ wages are funded,” said Dias. “Crowns are self-funded entities, and the government should stop pretending otherwise.”

Dias added “Scott Moe’s salary, on the other hand, does come from the provincial budget.”

Big telecom companies win court battle in ongoing war with CRTC over wholesale internet rates

The Federal Court of Appeal has issued a temporary stay of a CRTC decision that seeks to force Canada’s biggest internet service providers to provide smaller rivals with access to their networks at new, lower wholesale rates.

Six of Canada’s largest internet service providers, including Bell Canada and Rogers, asked the court on Sept. 13 to overrule an August decision by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The phone and cable companies argue that the CRTC exceeded its powers and made errors when it decided had they had overcharged Canada’s small- to mid-sized internet service providers under interim wholesale rates set in 2016.


Read more here….