Jul 302013

Unenforced standards permit widespread wage theft, unsafe job sites, underpayment.

by Daniel Tucker-Simmons

Legislated employment standards are a cornerstone of a strong, healthy society, as well as a robust, thriving economy. They ensure that everyone who works earns a minimum wage for their labour, and that nobody is subjected to inhumane working conditions or unduly harsh treatment at the hands of their employer.

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Jul 292013

ILO launches campaign to remedy Foreign Temporary Worker conditions.

from CNN UK

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, tells CNN that billions of US dollars are withheld from workers worldwide- money that should be invested into lifting people out of poverty and out of entrapment. Migrant workers who use unscrupulous agencies to find work in other countries sometimes end up in "straight-forward modern-day slavery". The ILO and the UK government have launched the "Work in Freedom" project to help women in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal get training and know their rights to avoid falling into forced labour.

Migrant workers can become forced labourers.

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Jul 122013

Worker analyzes McDonald's budget advice to employees.


Most fast-food workers these days are adults with families to support, and the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 just doesn’t cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, and others are making billions in profit, but pay poverty wages.

McDonald's assumes workers will need a second job.

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Fast-food workers have come together to fight for fair wages and the right to form a union without retaliation. We work for corporations who are making tremendous profits, but do not pay employees like us enough to support our families and to cover basic needs like food, health care, rent and transportation.

These are billion-dollar companies that can afford to pay their employees better. When workers are paid a living wage, not only will it strengthen the economy but it will also reduce crime in our neighborhoods. We’re standing up and saying it has to stop.

See the petition at

Jul 082013

Averages can be deceiving.

from the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Treasury Board President Tony Clement has expressed concern about the cost to taxpayers of what he claims is an exceedingly high absentee rate (compared to the private sector) due to illness and disability among federal government workers. But beyond citing lax case management by the federal government and the need to better accommodate newer employees who do not have a sufficient number of unused sick days to carry them through a serious illness or disability, he did not address the underlying causes for this absenteeism. Nor did he adequately explain the reasons for wishing to replace the current system of banked sick days with a short-term disability plan.

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Jul 042013

Privatized public services fund low-wage work and fuel inequality: report.

by Amy Traub and Robert Hiltonsmith

Every day, Americans benefit from public structures that contribute to our quality of life. When we walk into a clean, well-maintained post office; drive on federal highways; send our kids to school knowing they’ll get a hot lunch; or call the Social Security benefits office with a question, we see our federal tax dollars at work, providing public services we rely on.

What most Americans don’t know is that many of the workers keeping our nation humming are paid low wages, earning barely enough to afford essentials like food, health care, utilities and rent. Through federal contracts and other funding, our tax dollars are fueling the low-wage economy and exacerbating inequality. Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts, grants, loans, concession agreements and property leases go to private companies that pay low wages, provide few benefits, and offer employees little opportunity to work their way into the middle class. At the same time, many of these companies are providing their executives with exorbitant compensation.

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Jun 172013
Canada Job Grant Ad.

Funding comes at expense of proven job training programs.

from the Mowat Centre and Caledon Institute of Social Policy

New research from the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy finds that the new federal Canada Job Grant federal employment training program will halt progress made in job training over the past two decades. It will probably deliver worse results at higher costs than the existing federal-provincial Labour Market Agreements.

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Jun 122013

Worldwide, 215 million girls and boys remain at work.

by Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

Child labour is a fundamental abuse of human rights. It denies girls and boys the right to be a child, to access quality education, and to hope for the future.

In its worst forms it exposes children to slavery, hazardous work and illicit activities, including drug trafficking and prostitution.  While significant progress has been made in reducing the number of child labourers worldwide, 215 million girls and boys remain at work, over half of them in the worst forms of child labour.

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Jun 102013

Edmonton self-help group directed to turn operations over to for-profit contractor.

from CUPE

EDMONTON – A co-operative housing project for the disabled in Old Strathcona has been told by Alberta Health Services (AHS) it must lay off its staff and turn operations over to a private, for profit, company. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is calling on AHS to release details of the contract with the private contractor. 

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