Collective Worker Action
/ Author: Ian DeWaard
/ Categories: Guide magazine /
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Collective Worker Action

A strong, unified voice is helping us to confront daunting workplace challenges and launch bold new initiatives

By Ian DeWaard, Ontario Director

CLAC members, stewards, and representatives continue to fight noble fights to grow the union and improve working conditions in the province. But at times, we also face defeats, experience seemingly unresolvable conflict, encounter bad legal decisions, and meet brickwall- like resistance when tackling misuse of power in the workplace.

Through the good and bad, the camaraderie we enjoy through our sense of shared purpose to make work meaningful and rewarding provides delight and is a source of strength.

Recently, members at several Revera-owned long term care homes took to the streets in peaceful protest. They were bringing attention to the reckless conduct of a corporation that, after more than two years of producing regular payroll errors, has demonstrated only minimal effort to rectify them. Members were rightfully angry that their pension dollars, vacation pay, and sick banks have been plagued by problems for so long.

During one of these pickets, a member of another union employed by Revera shared with dismay that her union hadn’t done anything to push the company to fix the errors. CLAC filed grievances, and an arbitrator gave the company a deadline to resolve the errors or face a third-party audit.

In late June, members employed in homecare (pictured here) also held demonstrations to persuade their employer to consider the very worrying impact of high gas prices. For more information on this campaign, click through to read "Fighting for the Future of Ontario's Homecare Sector."

In a different but also impacting way, CLAC Training is using the strength of collective worker action for the benefit of current and future members. Through collective bargaining, CLAC negotiates an education and assistance fund. Entrusted with these funds, CLAC in turn develops worker-centric training that ensures members know how to work safely, can develop new skill sets, or can expand career opportunities.

CLAC Training in Ontario has set its sights on programs that will attract new members to work in construction. One such program is CLAC’s sponsorship of an Ontario Youth and Apprentice Program through which 54 high school students are receiving credit toward a Red Seal trade certificate. Additionally, more than 300 members are now participating in CLAC’s Supervisor Micro-Certification Program, a learning program that will develop current and future lead hands and supervisors to be competent, effective, and respectful workplace leaders.

CLAC’s new Ontario Construction Bootcamp is providing three weeks of introductory training for construction rookies. The program includes an eight-week, paid job placement with employers. This program will be available throughout the province. Many people are already participating and have gainful employment. Learn more at clac.ca/bootcamp.

In the months ahead, we will face new opportunities— and also some pretty daunting challenges—especially as members contend with high housing costs and supercharged inflation. But through it all, we’re committed to standing together as union members and supporting each other. With coordinated effort and a strong collective voice, members, stewards, and representatives stand poised to tackle our workplace challenges and opportunities together.

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