MPs grill Bell CEO on job cuts

Shame On Bell - Unifor

To Unifor Bell Locals:

Yesterday, Bell CEO Mirko Bibic was called to task by Members of Parliament on BCE’s job cuts and executive and shareholder rewards during his testimony before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.

MPs roasted Bibic, grilling him repeatedly throughout his testimony as it became clearer and clearer that there was absolutely no justification for slashing thousands of jobs while hiking shareholder dividends and after giving himself a 2.69 million dollar bonus.

You can read Unifor’s media release on Bell’s Heritage Committee appearance here and watch the full Committee hearing here.

It’s clear that we’re making a difference! Unifor’s Shame on Bell campaign shaped the tone of yesterday’s hearing and our concerns were raised regularly by MPs. That couldn’t have happened without the hard work and solidarity of Unifor telecommunications and media members.

Unifor helped arm MPs with the facts ahead of the hearing by sending a letter to all Committee members that you can read here.

There is no doubt that Bell executives and every member of its Board of Directors are feeling the pressure ahead of their annual general shareholder meeting on May 2, 2024.

This pressure includes the ‘Meet the Board’ webpage launched earlier this week as part of the Shame on Bell campaign. The site shines a light on the BCE Board Directors responsible for the job cuts that have hurt workers and their families across the country. Visit the ‘Meet the Board’ webpage here and use the sharables to spread the word on social media.

Please stay tuned for updates as we prepare for further actions ahead of the shareholders meeting.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President
Len Poirier
National Secretary-Treasurer
Daniel Cloutier
Quebec Director

Unifor escalates Shame on Bell campaign

Shame On Bell - Unifor

To Bell telecommunication and media locals:

Our Shame on Bell campaign made waves in Ottawa last month with the launch of our campaign website, our media conference and rally.

Our advocacy is continuing to have an effect in holding the telecoms and media company accountable as the House of Commons Heritage committee has now summoned Bell executives to appear before them on Thursday, April 11.

Unifor is ready and waiting for their appearance.

There is no doubt that Bell is feeling the heat. Many of you will have received an email from Bell HR about the job cuts and how the company is supporting departing ‘team members.’ This was followed by a ‘fact’ sheet from Bell where the company attempts to justify the largest layoff in 30 years. The truth is there isn’t enough PR spin in the world to explain cutting more than 6,000 jobs while the Bell Board continues to raise dividends, buy back shares and continuously line their pockets on the backs of workers.

Today, we’re introducing the Meet the Board component on our campaign site to show who these executives really are – a privileged group of corporate elites, made up of mostly wealthy men.

View the Meet the Board page here.

The next target we have our sights on is the Bell shareholders meeting on Thursday, May 2. Further information on that will be shared in the near future.

We continue to ask out members to sign the petition on the campaign website and tell Bell how angry and disgusted you are with them and spread the word on social media with this sharable.

In solidarity,

Lana Payne
National President
Len Poirier
National Secretary-Treasurer
Daniel Cloutier
Quebec Director

Shame On Bell – Take Action and sign…Let the Bell Board know Canadians deserve better

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Click here…  Contact the Bell Board and let them know Canadians deserve better.

Shame on Bell.

Established 144 years ago, Bell has evolved into Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. (BCE Inc.), commanding the helm as Canada’s leading communications conglomerate. Now the company has been tarnished by the irresponsible and callous decisions by the Bell Board of Directors.

BCE’s systematic reduction of telecommunication jobs, outsourcing practices, offshoring endeavors, and the relentless downsizing of TV and radio newsrooms across the nation have cast a shadow over its legacy. Meanwhile, payouts to shareholders and executive board members have soared, exacerbating the growing chasm between corporate wealth and worker stability.

In a stunning blow to its workforce, February 2024 saw Bell axing an additional 4,800 jobs – a staggering 9% of its employees. More than 800 Unifor members, comprising 700 in telecommunications and more than 100 in media, found themselves abruptly terminated, casualties of a corporate ethos that prioritizes shareholder dividends over employee livelihoods.

Bell is a communications company with no moral fibre. While BCE points fingers at governmental policies, it cannot escape accountability for its actions.

Bell, Canadians demand that you:

  • Cease contracting and offshoring work, prioritize local employment and support Canadian workers.Bell must halt the practice of outsourcing jobs to foreign countries and prioritize employing Canadians. Offshoring work not only diminishes local job opportunities but also undermines the quality of service provided to Canadian customers. By investing in local jobs, Bell can contribute to the growth and prosperity of communities across the nation.
  • Stop slashing newsrooms and invest in local journalism to ensure accessible and diverse coverage for communities.The continuous reduction of TV and radio newsrooms across Canada limits the diversity and depth of news coverage available to citizens. Bell must cease the downsizing of newsrooms and instead commit to bolstering local journalism. Investing in newsrooms ensures that communities receive comprehensive and unbiased reporting, vital for informed civic engagement and democracy.
  • Reduce dividend payouts to prioritize reinvestment in employee well-being, job security, and infrastructure development.Excessive dividend payouts to shareholders and executive board members come at the expense of workers’ well-being and job security. Bell should reconsider its dividend policies and allocate a larger portion of profits towards employee benefits, training programs, and infrastructure improvements. Prioritizing reinvestment in its workforce and infrastructure ensures the long-term sustainability and success of the company.

Unifor “Meet the Board” initiative holds BCE Directors accountable

April 10, 2024

 

Unifor is holding BCE Directors accountable with the unveiling of the “Meet the Board” component of its ‘Shame on Bell’ campaign, aimed at shedding light on the corporate figures behind Bell’s recent wave of job cuts.

Expanding upon the impactful launch of our campaign website, media conference, and rally in Ottawa last month, Unifor continues to demand transparency and responsibility from the telecommunications and media giant.

The “Meet the Board” page on the ‘Shame on Bell’ campaign site provides information on the select group of corporate elites who signed off on the elimination of thousands of jobs while continuing to increase dividend payouts to shareholders.

“The Bell Board comprises not just individuals, but a tightly interconnected network of corporate elites, often intertwined through shared circles and interests,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “It’s time to put faces to the decisions made by corporations that demonstrate so little regard for their workers.”

Visit the “Meet the Board” page here.

Following Unifor’s public actions, the House of Commons Heritage Committee summoned Bell executives to testify on Thursday, April 11. Read Unifor’s letter to MPs on the Heritage Committee here. 

“In their pursuit of profit, the Bell Board has shown a callous disregard for the livelihoods of hardworking employees. We refuse to let their actions go unnoticed. The ‘Meet the Board’ campaign is a necessary step towards accountability, exposing the faces behind these decisions,” said Unifor Quebec Director Daniel Cloutier.

In response to mounting pressure, Bell has initiated damage control measures, reaching out to Unifor members with emails regarding the job cuts and asserting support for affected employees. However, Bell’s subsequent dissemination of a ‘fact’ sheet attempting to rationalize the largest layoff in three decades falls short of addressing the core concerns.

No amount of public relations maneuvering can justify the slashing of over 6,000 jobs, particularly when the Bell Board continues to prioritize dividends, share buybacks, and self-enrichment over the well-being of its workforce.

“Make no mistake, this is just the beginning. We will continue to shine a spotlight on the actions of these board members and top Bell executives,” emphasized Len Poirier, Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer. “Our resolve will not waver; it will only grow stronger as we seek justice and fairness for all workers impacted by this egregious display of corporate greed.”

Unifor urges its members and the public to send a letter to the members of the Bell Board on our campaign website and to amplify the message across social media using the ‘Meet the Board’ sharables.

Equal Pay Day Statement

An equals sign ahead of a dollar sign and an exclamation mark, along with the text "Equal Pay Now"

 

On April 16, 2024 we mark Equal Pay Day which is a stark reminder of the ongoing fight for gender equality in the workplace in Canada and a call to rethink how we value labour as a society.

Equal Pay Day symbolizes the average additional time it takes for women in our country to earn what men did in the previous year, highlighting the persistent gender wage gap. For many women it may take even longer to achieve equal pay.

Facts reveal the undeniable reality of the gender wage gap and its impact on women’s economic security. In Canada, women earn approximately 68 cents for every dollar earned by men, with even wider gaps for Indigenous and Black women at 58 cents, and women with disabilities at 57 cents. This gap not only affects individual women but also has deep implications for families and communities, where cycles of inequality and poverty persist.

Equal Pay Day is a day rooted in action and advocacy as we strive to dismantle barriers that continue to allow employers to pay women less.

Today is also the Federal Budget day and equal pay is a pillar of feminist fiscal policy that is long overdue to level the playing field.

Whenever the issue of the persistent gender wage gap is mentioned, there are a ton of myths that inevitably surface. This misinformation is being used to slow progress and must be challenged.

One such myth is that the gender wage gap exists because women choose lower paying jobs. No one chooses to have their work undervalued and underpaid. This should go without saying. One of the primary causes of the gender pay gap is that jobs that are traditionally associated with ‘women’s work’ are underpaid. Think of any job in the ‘caring industry’ such as nurses, midwives, and long-term care workers. It isn’t that women choose jobs that are in lower-paid industries, it is that women-dominated industries become less respected and less well-paid occupations because women do the work.

Another misconception is that the pay gap only exists because women are bad at negotiating pay. Let’s be clear, it is not an individual woman’s responsibility to ensure that her human rights are being upheld. It is the responsibility of government and employers to do so, which is why Unifor and other organizations are fighting for pay transparency legislation.

Pay transparency legislation plays a crucial role in addressing wage disparities by promoting accountability and empowering workers to advocate for fair compensation. By requiring employers to disclose salary information, these laws enable employees to identify and challenge discriminatory pay practices.

In Canada, recent advancements in pay transparency legislation in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia and Ontario have laid the foundation for greater accountability and fairness in the workplace, signaling a positive step towards closing the gender wage gap.

Unifor calls on every province and territory to implement comprehensive pay transparency legislation.

However, pay transparency alone is not enough to achieve true pay equity. We must also address systemic inequalities rooted in discriminatory practices and biases. Pay equity legislation aims to eliminate gender-based wage disparities by ensuring that women receive equal pay for work of equal value. By evaluating and comparing jobs based on skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions rather than job titles, pay equity legislation promotes fairness and inclusivity in compensation practices.

Today, Unifor also calls on bargaining committees to be aware of negotiated Letters Of Understanding’s that state: “Parties agree that your workplace is Pay Equity Compliant and have met their legal obligations under the Pay Equity Act”. This language has a negative impact to the maintenance phase and retro payments that would be owed to women in the bargaining unit. Removing all barriers in collective agreements is one way to ensure Pay Equity is fully achieved for women.

One of the greatest equalizers to this injustice is women who belong to a union. Collective agreements lay out wage scales and are transparent for all members. Unions benefit women. Unifor is proud to be a union where women can thrive and grow without the many barriers faced by women in non-unionized workplaces.

Unifor supports the work of the Equal Pay Coalition and other groups organizing to make pay equity a reality. In solidarity, we also ask that you wear red and take a picture to share with the union, helping us show our collective support for pay transparency and the removal of all barriers to pay equity.

As we observe Equal Pay Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and economic justice. Through collective action, advocacy, and solidarity, we can challenge stereotypes, dismantle barriers, and create workplaces where every worker is valued and compensated fairly. Together, we can build a future where women are paid equally to men in the same job providing us all with a more just and equitable society.