Canada’s telecom workers urge Bell to bring the work home


July 1, 2020

OTTAWA– On this Canada Day, Unifor demands that Bell follow the example set by Rogers, and bring all offshore customer service work back to Canada permanently.

“Yesterday’s announcement by Rogers along with our experience with Bell during the past several months has shown that Canada’s telecom workers are able not only to step in and do the work, but can provide better and more reliable service to customers in Canada,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “This crisis has caused many Canadians to rethink their priorities, and I urge Bell Canada leadership to do the same today. Bring the work home, and help rebuild our economy that better supports workers in Canada.”

Unifor commends Roger’s decision yesterday to bring all remaining customer service jobs back to Canada, and set a path that others should follow.

At Bell, work was brought home on a temporary basis during the pandemic as a result of low wage call centres in the Philippines, India, and Tunisia that were forced to close, while workers in Canada stepped up to do work here.

Bell and BTS technicians quickly retrained to handle the massive increase in customer support calls and they continue to provide service to customers today.

“After COVID-19, Canadian companies will have to help rebuild our capacity to not only manufacture in Canada, but fix the damage that’s been done to telecom and customer service by decades of outsourcing,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “Unifor members have fought back against years of decline in the industry and it’s time for Bell to refocus on workers in Canada and stop the race to the bottom.”

On June 24, Unifor released its Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery. Our bold plan focuses on five key economic areas to not only rebuild the economy, but also to support Canada’s workers.

Employees of Bell Canada and Bell subsidiaries have long campaigned against contracting out and other forms of job erosion and will continue to do so.  For current updates about this campaign, visit bellrealtalk.ca.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

 

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Kids Help Phone and Bell Let’s Talk ramp up support for youth mental health

$1 million donation enhances professional counselling, text and online capacity to address ongoing surge in the need for support

MONTRÉAL, June 25, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell Let’s Talk and Kids Help Phone today announced a national $1 million investment to enhance ongoing crisis support for young people coping with mental health challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

As the need for support has continued to grow during the crisis, Kids Help Phone has continued to ramp up its crisis responder and professional counselling capacity, enhanced its texting platform and created a range of self-directed online resources. With a 58% overall increase in demand during COVID-19 and text interactions up 62%, Kids Help Phone expects to make 3 million connections with young people this year, compared to 1.9 million in 2019.

“This Bell Let’s Talk funding will support Kids Help Phone in delivering its expanded frontline responses for youth in crisis now and into the future,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “As a founding partner of Kids Help Phone more than 30 years ago, we’re proud to work with this great organization to ensure young people have access to the mental health supports they need, especially in the face of the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 situation.”

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the volume of young people reaching out continues to soar with concerns around isolation, grief, discrimination, abuse and self harm. Times are tough and the issues with young people are heavier and more complex than ever,” said Katherine Hay, President and CEO of Kids Help Phone. “We’re grateful to Bell Let’s Talk for their commitment to mental health and helping millions of young people across this country to access support 24/7 – a positive impact that will ripple through communities for years to come.”

Bell announced a $5 million increase in Bell Let’s Talk funding in response to COVID-19 with support for a range of organizations delivering urgent mental health support on the front lines of Canadian communities, including Kids Help Phone, Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Red Cross, Revivre and Strongest Families Institute.

Bell Let’s Talk
The largest-ever corporate commitment to mental health in Canada, Bell Let’s Talk has partnered with more than 1,000 organizations providing mental health services throughout Canada, including hospitals, universities, local community service providers and other care and research organizations. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Kids Help Phone
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7 e-mental health service offering free, confidential support in English and French to young people. As the country’s virtual care expert, we give millions of youth a safe, trusted space to talk over phone and online chat or through text message in any moment of crisis or need. Through our digital transformation, we envision a future where every person in Canada is able to get the support they need, when they need it most, and with our expansion to an adult texting service, all people in Canada are never alone. Kids Help Phone is fueled by courageous donors, partners, volunteers, government and communities from coast to coast to coast. Learn more at KidsHelpPhone.ca or @KidsHelpPhone.

 

https://www.bce.ca/news-and-media/releases/show/Kids-Help-Phone-and-Bell-Let-s-Talk-ramp-up-support-for-youth-mental-health-1?page=1&month=&year=&perpage=25

Refinery workers ratify tentative agreement with Co-op

June 22, 2020

REGINA—Unifor Local 594 members have ratified a tentative agreement with Co-op Refinery, ending a six-month lockout of 730 workers by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL).

“Our members and their bargaining committee held firm throughout a difficult, protracted and often bitter negotiation process,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “In the end we were successful in protecting their retirement security and in achieving the national wage pattern but this result could have been reached far earlier if the mediator recommendations had been enforced by Premier Scott Moe.”

The new collective agreement maintains the defined benefit pension plan and the company matched employee savings plan for existing workers. Wage improvements in the new collective agreement match the National Pattern.

“We didn’t seek this work stoppage. Now that it’s finally been resolved our members are looking forward to returning to their jobs and getting back to work,” said Unifor Local 594 President Kevin Bittman. “This was the first, and hopefully last, work stoppage in our local’s 78 years of faithfully providing the Co-op Refinery with our dedicated labour. It will be hard going back into the workplace for some of us, but we will do it with our heads held high because we stood in solidarity for one another. This has been the toughest period in our history, but we will be stronger because of it.”

Unifor Local President Kevin Bittman will hold a media availability at 4 p.m. outside the union hall at 200 Hodsman Road, Regina.

Unifor releases Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery

June 24, 2020

OTTAWA – Unifor calls on governments to #BuildBackBetter and reveal a detailed plan to rebuild the economy in a virtual news conference live on Facebook.

“Tomorrow’s economy cannot look like the one that we left behind, where essential workers could barely get by on low wages, could not access sick pay, and where the social safety net failed them,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Eventually this crisis will end and we want to ensure that a more fair, inclusive, and resilient economy takes shape on the other side.”

Built on the principles of economic justice, the new recovery plan is based on consultation with rank-and-file members and includes dozens of recommendations targeting all levels of government.

The plan organizes policy recommendations into five themes:

  • Build an income security system that is accessible
  • Build sustainable green jobs and decarbonization
  • Build critical physical and social infrastructure
  • Rebuild domestic industrial capacity
  • Set strong, enforceable conditions on corporate support packages

“The steps that governments take in the coming months and years will define workers’ well-being and progress for a generation,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director. “It is vital that we get it right, and rebuild the economy not to what it once was, but to an economy that meets people’s needs no matter the crisis.”

Visit buildbackbetter.unifor.org to read the recommendations and download the Road Map for a Fair, Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery.