BTS Associates: Certification Application is Approved

Union organizing: empowering people and changing livesIt has been both a privilege and an honour to accompany the BTS Associates on their journey to become unionized in Ontario.

I was inspired to hear their personal stories and witness their sheer will to push forward.

I want to see them gain full representation; I want them to have fair compensation; and most importantly, I want them to know that they can support themselves and their families without fear of termination for demanding equality.

The application for certification has been approved and we are now determining our next steps.  Although this process is still far from over, we have conquered the biggest hurdle.

The coming months will be very exciting and I look forward to continuing the journey together.

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Bill C-51, precarious work and the NDP’s solutions

Update: Since this post was originally written, the Conservative party pushed C-51 through as expected. The NDP have put together a petition to repeal the bill. Please take a moment to add your name in protest.

Locked outI recently had the chance to meet up with Unifor Local 25 President, Justin Connolly, and Andrew Cash, the NDP MP for Toronto-area Davenport to discuss Bill C-51. The new bill would grant sweeping new powers to Canada’s security and intelligence forces that will erode the fundamental liberties of Canadians without providing any additional public safety.

I raised several concerns about the bill, among them that Muslim communities are taking the brunt of radicalization by the Harper Government; and that the bill explicitly targets migrants.

I’m also concerned that the bill jeopardizes our right to legitimate dissent and social justice through protest. Picketing your employer could become a criminal act and be labeled as terrorism.

Andrew Cash pointed out that, unfortunately, the Conservatives have decided to ram this legislation through the House of Commons as quickly as possible with no scrutiny.

Worse still, the Liberals decided they would support the legislation before even having read it. In the face of massive public opposition to the Bill, both the Liberals and Conservatives still support it.

Bill C-51 Rally

(Add your name to the NDP petition and share it widely.)

Precarious Work

We also discussed the rapid long-term downward trend in job quality since 1989 and increased growth of part-time, contract, self-employed work over good paying full-time jobs with benefits and job security.

Andrew Cash had this to say, “In cities like Toronto, the trend away from full-time, permanent jobs, towards more part-time, short-term contracts means that precarious work is becoming the new normal for urban workers, and people in unpaid internships face some of the greatest insecurity.”

You can learn more about Andrew Cash and the advancements being spearheaded by the NDP by following him on twitter, @AndrewCash.

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O
416 Health and Safety Co-Chair
Unifor Chairperson Workers with Disabilities
LRC Committee and JSDC Committee
Ont. Bargaining Rep
Telecommunications Industry Council Representative

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Benefitting from a NEW Home Dispatch Policy

After five years in arbitration, a new home dispatch policy is set to come into effect on July 1st that will help many techs.

On May 18, 2015, the Labour Relations Committee, our designated group of employment lawyers and company officials met once again to hash out the arbitration on home dispatch. After opening arguments by both sides, the arbitrator made it clear that a ruling would not benefit either side in this matter.

Instead, arbitrator Herman provided guidance and assistance throughout two days of negotiations and eventually helped all of us involved arrive at a mediated solution.

The new home dispatch policy was drafted and agreed upon, and is set to come into effect on July 1, 2015.

In addition, the company has agreed to grant every home dispatch employee, employed by the company both as of the date of filing the grievance and as of the date of signature of the settlement, twenty-four (24) hours of TGP.

It was further agreed in a letter of commitment that home dispatch benefits will be provided to an additional 200+ employees by August 31, 2015.

It has been an extremely long process and I appreciate the memberships’ patience throughout the proceedings.

In solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

Could this training save your life?

Arial Rescue

Aerial rescue is a work method specifically designed to bring back down to the ground a technician who needs assistance after an electric shock or following any incident causing loss of consciousness or incapacity.

Training on how to rescue an employee high up on a pole or strand is a Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations requirement; see section 8.10 under Poles and Elevated Structures.

Every technician must acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to rescue an employee high up on a pole or strand in the event of an emergency. I had the opportunity to review the theoretical training and practical exercises in preparation of the training package rollout.

In any emergency time is often a determining factor in the survival of the victim.

My personal reservations are that someone may act with the best of intentions but put themselves or the victim at additional risks.

Every emergency situation will require evaluations that could place us in harm of the hazard.

Safety comes first and we must be cautious not to act dangerously or rashly while still doing all that is possible in an emergency.

Some rescues are best left to the professionals.

Is this valuable training? What do you think?

In solidarity,

Sam Snyders
President, Local 1996-O

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