Labour bites

John Quessy

Back to uni

In Winnipeg a tentative agreement has been reached to end a strike by professors and other staff at the University of Manitoba. The executive of the University of Manitoba Faculty Association is recommending acceptance of the package, which will be voted on shortly by members.
Details of the agreement have not been released but if it’s accepted, classes are expected to return to normal tomorrow for upwards of 29,000 students.
The university says in a press release that negotiators for both sides made progress in conciliated talks on key issues that included teaching workload, job performance and job protection.
The association went on strike 1 November after being without a contract since 31 March. (Source: Canadian Labour Reporter)

Can cannabis save unions?

In California one of the biggest impacts of Proposition 64, which legalised marijuana, will likely be felt by the estimated 300,000 to 350,000 workers in the state’s cannabis industry.
Whether they are farmworkers, immigrants who each year head to Humboldt County to process the crop, or retail clerks helping to legally sell various forms of the plant, there are workplace issues to be resolved.
Both driving and benefiting from the legalisation of pot is organised labour. The marijuana industry represents one of the biggest opportunities for unions in decades, analysts and organisers said, as their ranks have shrivelled over decades under conservative policies and a concentrated effort by business groups, such as implementation of so called right to work laws.
“These are workers trying to do an honest day of work for an honest day of pay,” said Jeff Ferro, the director of Cannabis Workers Rising, an organising effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union. It has organised thousands of medical marijuana workers in eight states and the District of Columbia.
“Labor unions will stand strong for workers’ rights,” said State Senator Mike McGuire, who co-authored the state law on medicinal marijuana. “They bring workforce protection. Also, consumers can rest assured those employees are earning a living wage and good benefits and that the employer has to abide by state and federal workforce laws.” (Source: The Press Democrat)

No free list

Cinema staff who have been on strike for five days to press their demand for the London living wage (LLW) argue that they would not be able to afford a ticket to see a film on their pay.
Workers at the Ritzy in Brixton and Hackney Picturehouse enter the last day of their strike today, having the industrial action on Thursday to coincide with the release of Harry Potter linked film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Picturehouse, owned by Cineworld, pays London staff

Workers boycott beer

The nationwide boycott of all Carlton United Brewery (CUB) products reached new heights after it was revealed that a camp of ringers in Queensland’s Channel Country have only been drinking Sauvignon Blanc for the last five weeks.
They join a growing political movement of punters that are abstaining from drinking any of Australia’s highest selling beer brands, in a showing of support for 55 workers who lost their jobs at CUB in June. These men and women are also known as the #CUB55.
The maintenance workers lost their jobs after CUB terminated a machine maintenance contract with employer Quant, they were then offered their jobs back again at a 65% lower wage, after penalty rates and other entitlements.
EH Pearson Cattle Company‘s head stockman, Ronnie Austin says “I’m usually not a big supporter of the unions, but you can’t carry on the way these blokes have been”.
Austin says it’s been hard work trying to avoid getting stuck into a few green demons at knock off after pushing cattle all day, but it’s their duty as fellow workers to support the CUB 55.
“It’s been tough. But we are all starting to get around the lively fruit flavours of the Jacob’s Creek Sauvignon Blanc”. With the Mount Isa New Year’s Eve Rodeo as the next big event pencilled in on their calendars, Austin says the Betoota boys are prepared to throw down with anyone who questions their choice of drink.
“If CUB haven’t sorted this mess out by then, well yes of course we will still be drinking white wine on New Year’s Eve” (Source: The Betoota Advocate)