Sunday, 26 February 2012

Niagara News Bulletin March 1-15 2012

* The family of a mentally disabled worker won a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario judgment against a wine bottler for unfairly firing all of their mentally disabled workers. The tribunal ordered back pay, but only at the illegally low $1.25/hour equivalent the workers were being paid as a training honorarium. The company had been built on the super-exploitation of mentally disabled workers over a decade, and then fired them without cause once it didn’t need them.
* Yet another virus/bacteria outbreak has been declared at a Niagara Hospital, Welland this time, after tens of deaths and infections in wave after wave despite the administration not restoring staffing, beds, and service to the pre-cuts level.
* Brock University has reached contract settlements with CUPE Local 1295, which represents maintenance and trades employees at Brock, and with CUPE 2220, which represents staff at Rodman Hall. Talks are continuing between the University and three other campus unions.
* Welland’s 78 outside workers (CAW Local 523) negotiated successfully for raises between 1 and 2 percent over several years, while including security on hours and vacations.

People's Voice Niagara Bureau

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Niagara News Bulletin February 16-28, 2012

by People's Voice Niagara Bureau

* Yet another patient at a Niagara Falls hospital died from the latest C-Difficile outbreak, with 16 more still infected there, and 19 in other Niagara hospitals. The deaths continue, after 38 died in previous outbreaks, while the administration responds with anything other than restoring services, staff, and beds which were cut earlier. Hospital workers and unions have warned that without the resources they need the root cause won’t be addressed.
* 8,000 Port Colborne residents whose land was poisoned by Inco have filed their case with the Supreme Court of Canada, after an Ontario court overturned their reparations because even though Inco is responsible it was within environmental laws.
* The Niagara Catholic District School Board is still refusing to recognize Gay-Straight Alliances and is trying to side-step the issue of homophobia by instead having “Respecting Differences” clubs, which dilute the issues of homophobia and patriarchy into bullying in general.
* Students occupied Brock University’s Schmon Tower lobby on Feb. 1 as part of a movement to reduce tuition fees.
* St. Catharines is considering reducing Sunday bus service because uploading services has not been done sufficiently to relieve the municipal budget.

Niagara News Bulletin February 1-15, 2012

by People's Voice Niagara Bureau

* The Niagara Health System mysteriously announced that six top managers are no longer working for the NHS because of unspecified restructuring, despite the provincially appointed supervisor explaining he is for transparency. The supervisor was appointed after complaints about cutting local services to move them over an hour away to a P3 (public-private-partnership) hospi t a l ,  ove r  30 pa t i ent s  dying  f rom hospi t a l - acquired infections, and patients being asked to call 911 from within the hospital for care.
* The Ontario Ministry of  Health  is into its fifth year of not answering for why a for-profit company failed to build a nearly 100 long-term care bed facility in Welland despite granting all approvals, contributing  to one of   the longest waiting lists in the region.
* CAW Local 523 steelworkers at Lakeside Steel in Welland are still waiting to learn the terms of a proposed buy-out, buyer unknown because of a “confidentiality agreement”, after the union agreed to concessions earlier last year.
* 110 meat processing workers of UFCW Local 175 were laid off at the end of a shift, after the new owner decided to keep the business and machines but not the employees who had made the company successful. The press release announcing the sale to the familyowned chicken-processor said the company is committed to staying in Ontario but said nothing about the layoffs, which one worker told reporters was a “total shock” and caused tears on the last shift. The sale was approved by a producers’ organization, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, who said they expect the buyer to honour “the relationships and contractual obligations” with growers, but were silent about the workers.