R&F.ca Weekly Update

R&F.ca Weekly Update r1 ... Unifor's GM boycott won't work | Bob Barnetson on the Alberta NDP's labour reforms & Regan Boychuk on cleaning up oil & gas | Ford takes aim at student unions | Where do good organizers come from? s16
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By Gerard Di Trolio and Doug Nesbitt

Two months after the GM Oshawa closure announcement, Unifor’s big idea is a campaign to boycott GM cars made in Mexico. The union is even spending huge money on a Super Bowl commercial that will reach about 5 million Canadians.

The boycott strategy is doomed. GM sold over 9.6 million vehicles last year, but only 288,000 were sold in Canada. That’s only 3% of GM’s global sales, and falls within GM’s annual increases or decreases in sales over the past decade.

Instead of the weak power of the individual consumer, the union’s best leverage against GM is the power of workers to bring GM’s production and profits to a screeching halt. It’s how the Flint and Oshawa strikers of 1936-37 won union recognition, and it has remained the best weapon of workers against the company ever since.
Just last year, Korean autoworkers won major concessions against GM’s threats to end its Korean operations by threatening mass strikes, conducting illegal job actions, office occupations, and even trashing the GM Korea CEO’s office. Read more!


Bob Barnetson, Athabasca University prof, provides an overview of the labour reforms introduced by the NDP, and what might happen to those reforms should Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party form government in just a few months. He also provides an update on bargaining and impending faculty strike at Athabasca University.

And Regan Boychuk from Reclaim Alberta explains what Thursday’s RedWater supreme court decision means for cleaning up oil and gas wells and creating green jobs in Alberta. Read more!


By Rick Telfer & Andy Crosby

Students, activists, and labour movement leaders are sounding the alarm about the devastating impact the Ford government’s plans for post-secondary education will have on the system’s accessibility and democracy.

On Jan. 17, the Ford government announced it was – ostensibly – taking three major steps towards ensuring affordability of post-secondary education. It will lower tuition fees by up to 10 per cent at every publicly-funded college and university in Ontario, give students “more choice” over the fees they pay, and “restore financial sustainability” to OSAP, the Ontario Student Assistance Program. Read more!


By Ellen David Friedman

We know good organizers when we meet them.

They’re accessible. They listen and show respect. They react calmly to all kinds of people, take their time to size up a situation, and engage people on their own terms.

They brim with suggestions for action, but they’re open to new ideas. They’re not bossy. They always take workers’ side against employers—but among workers, they treat divisions with care and diligence.

They don’t act from fear, and they know how to help others lose their fear. Read more!

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