Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Guelph: Road Blockade in Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation

[Contributed by Anonymous to news.infoshop.org, June 20 2009]

[Ontario]

In the morning of June 17th 2009, a few people dressed in black blocked the Hanlon Highway at Paisley Road during rush hour.

Fallen trees and branches were pulled across the southbound lanes and two smoke bombs were set off to draw attention to the banner, which was dropped from the railway overpass. The banner read: “PARK YOUR CARS! Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation.”

This action was done to disrupt the transport of goods and people, especially those belonging to the Linamar Corporation. Linamar is a member of the Security and Prosperity Partnership, which works to improve the efficiency of North American trade. Amongst its plans is the militarization and fortification of the borders and their guards. Like in Awkesasne, Tyendinaga and Peru, we too stand against the SPP and its projects.

Solidarity with the Mohawk Nation means ATTACK!

Read Full Post »

Tension rising on the line
City strike turns ugly

By Trevor Wilhelm, The Windsor Star [Ontario]
May 22, 2009

Tempers are boiling over and nerves are wearing thin as the CUPE strike drags into week six, with the frustration manifesting itself in allegations of picket line fights, vandalism, threats and stolen garbage.

Papa Cheney’s owner Alissa Coutts said her business has been one of the most recent targets of striking city workers. She said her employees, who have been removing the bar’s garbage during the strike, are getting “harassed” by pickets.

“I definitely feel that some lines have been crossed,” Coutts said Thursday. “They started by harassing some employees who offered to help. They yelled derogatory comments at them. One comment was they hope maggots crawled in their mouth and out their — I won’t say the word.”

“Just screaming profanities at them. At that point, they told us we were in for it.”

About 1,800 of the city’s inside and outside workers went on strike in April. The long strike appears to be taking its toll, with reports of several incidents from mischief to fighting.

Staff Sgt. Daryl Hall said Thursday night police have been to a few calls, but nothing serious. Members of CUPE and the general public make different claims.

Mayor Eddie Francis said his chiropractor wife Michelle Prince received veiled threats against her business while working a home show booth in late April. Retired Star columnist Gord Henderson, who still contributes a weekly opinion piece to the paper, said his car was vandalized the day he wrote about taking trash to a private service.

There have been reports of people putting clothes hangers in tall grass at city parks to prevent it from being cut. Somebody put crazy glue in the locks of the washrooms outside The Bistro at Dieppe Park.

“That’s not our members,” said CUPE Local 543 president Jean Fox. “Our members have done nothing. We are peaceful. We’re walking pickets and that’s it.”

Rob Delicata, co-owner of the Pillette Transfer Station, said strikers have targeted him since he cleaned up a massive dump site outside the Central Avenue transfer station in April. He said people threw beer bottles at his truck. Last Friday, he said, someone spread a box of nails on the road leading to his waste disposal service.

On Wednesday, someone torched a luxury car in the parking lot of the CUPE building.

Fox said the allegations aren’t true.

“We have no reports of our picketers doing anything,” she said. “There have been no police reports, no charges laid. There has been no vandalism, no damage, no anything. We’ve been accused of bombing a car, which we have nothing to do with. The guy that shares the lot beside us parked his car there and God knows what happened.”

She said CUPE members have been the ones taking the brunt from residents.

“I know that our picketers are being harassed,” said Fox. “We have court injunctions that we are honouring. We are doing our best to inform the public of our position. It’s unfortunate that people treat each other the way they do.”

Last Friday, a striking outside employee said he suffered a broken ankle and cuts to his nose and face after a confrontation with a private contractor mowing grass on Kildare Road. Police said the CUPE member suffered the injuries after somebody threw a punch.

Other pickets have called police after people nudged them with their vehicles. A scuffle broke out Tuesday after a few pickets got hit by a slow-moving car while blocking the road into Dieppe Gardens. Someone apparently took the keys out of the car and a woman who had been riding in it put a picket in a headlock to get them back. No one was hurt.

Earlier this month, the union said a picket was the victim of a hit-and-run at City Hall Square, while other irate motorists shouted obscenities and drove aggressively without regard for the safety of those on the picket line.

Coutts said her employees have had a couple of run-ins with pickets. The bar has received phone calls from someone identifying themselves as a CUPE member.

“They said if we didn’t call them back by 5 p.m., we were going to get it,” said Coutts. “We finally did and no one would take responsibility for the phone call. When we finally did get through to someone, they just started screaming and didn’t want to hear anything about it.”

The day after that, bar employees continued cleaning up garbage. The strikers were back, she said.

“They once again tried to stop us,” said Coutts. “While we were out taking a load to WDS, maybe 15 to 20 of them showed up and took some of our garbage, and apparently took it back down to the waterfront. They were running. Our employees were chasing them down the road. We don’t know what happened with that garbage.”

Read Full Post »

Cab drivers suspended following protest

David Hutton, The StarPhoenix [Saskatchewan]
Published: Friday, May 15, 2009

At least 25 taxi drivers have been suspended by United Cabs after raising allegations of racism and discrimination by their employer at a demonstration Wednesday.

The company denies the allegations and says it moved to lock out the employees for what it called a “wildcat strike.”

Around 50 drivers, mostly of Pakistani descent, gathered Wednesday night at a parking lot near the airport to raise concerns about alleged verbal abuse by company managers and to protest the firing of a co-worker.

Many drivers received messages during the demonstration telling them they were suspended, which was confirmed by United Cabs management on Thursday.

United Group general manager Scott Suppes arrived at the parking lot and tore signs off the windows of several cabs, he said in an interview.

“We have some cars that we own ourselves and I took signs off cars that were ours,” he said. “I think anybody reasonably would have done the same thing. If it was your car and they were putting signs on it claiming things they shouldn’t be claiming, you’d probably take them off, too.”

The drivers took to the streets again Thursday, eventually moving their protest inside the lobby of City Hall, where they stood waiting for several hours while demanding a meeting with Mayor Don Atchison.

“People decided to get together and demonstrate and get their voices heard so their rights wouldn’t be violated,” said Fawad Muzaffar, 33, a United driver who was suspended Thursday.

“This treatment of locking people out (for) making a legal demonstration is not fair,” he said. “We should be treated fairly. There should be a code (under) which people should be fired. . . . Right now, there is no ifs or buts about it.”

The cab drivers allege one of the company’s managers has verbally abused many of the Pakistani and other South Asian employees with racial slurs.

“We are suffering from discrimination and verbal violations,” said driver Sherjeel Butt. “We need justice here. That’s why we approached the mayor. We moved from all over Canada to come to Saskatoon. They fire people for no reason because there are lots of people moving from around Canada to Saskatoon (to do the job).”

Suppes said any comments perceived to be racist were the result of a “misunderstanding” from a manager who “may have said some things that (the Pakistani drivers) may have found offensive.

“She thought it was in good fun and obviously that didn’t happen. We’ve cautioned her and she won’t be doing it any longer.

“We are so far from racist here,” he said. “If we were, why would we hire these people in the first place? We have a multicultural organization here with people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. It’s absolutely not true.”

Suppes said the company “scrambled” to provide service on Wednesday night and again Thursday, but was meeting demand.

“The fortunate part is that we’re getting to a time of the year where it’s getting to be less busy,” he said.

“If we have to, we’ll get some new drivers.”

The drivers had a bevy of complaints ranging from how the taxi industry is regulated to hiring practices to being told to fill up with gas at United Group stations, which Suppes defended as “good business.”

Muzaffar called for a city-run taxi commission made up of company representatives, drivers and members of the public to deal with licensing and enforcement of the industry.

Read Full Post »

RBC and GM Attacked in Vancouver – 420

[Published by annonomous, April 24, 2009, at ottawa.indymedia.ca]

Attacks on Olympic Sponsors

RBC and GM Attacked in Vancouver – 420

April 20 (420), 2009 – Thousands of people lit and smoked the torches of their choice in the vicinity of the 2010 Countdown Clock and all around Vancouver. Later that night we smashed the windows at two official sponsors of the 2010 games. We targeted the Royal Bank of Canada location on 1st and Commercial and the General Motors location just west of the 1st St. bridge as one more very small contrubution to the ongoing resistance against the Olympics and the nightmares the rich have in store for us.

Read Full Post »

They won’t say sorry

South Asian Post [British Columbia]
Wed, April 22 2009

During the long hours he drives a Chilliwack cab to support his three young children, Jagjeet Sidhu has a lot of time to reflect upon the life that would have been had his young wife not died needlessly in a freeway crash two years ago.

Today, all the struggling father wants is safer transport for farm workers like his wife, and an apology from the couple he believes was complicit in her death.

Read the rest of the article here…

Read Full Post »

Vet Cab talks break down

Dave Battagello and Donald McArthur, The Windsor Star [Ontario]
Published: Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tempers are allegedly flaring on Windsor’s streets as the nine-day strike by 300 Veteran Cab drivers drags on with no talks scheduled through the Easter weekend.

Colin Cutler, who has been picking up passengers at the train station in his blue Windstar van since the strike began, filed a police report Friday, alleging a group of angry drivers vandalized his vehicle Thursday night.

Cutler claims he was sitting in his van in the parking lot of the Tim Horton’s near the station about 11:30 p.m. when several people kicked and spat on his van, bending the antenna and breaking the rear windshield wiper.

On Wednesday, Cutler alleges, a group prevented him for several minutes from leaving the depot parking lot with a train passenger bound for the downtown Hilton.

Cutler said he has been offering stranded passengers free rides as a “Good Samaritan,” but conceded he has pocketed some tip money.

“There’s lots of people looking for rides,” he said.

Gerry Farnham, president of CAW Local 195, which represents the drivers, said he had no knowledge of the alleged incidents involving Cutler or any incidents of violence involving his members.

He expressed concerns, though, about taxi drivers licensed in other municipalities who are picking up fares in Windsor — a contravention of a city bylaw stipulating they can only drop off fares in the city.

“That’s creating some problems on the line and rightfully so. The enforcement officers should be fining any taxi cab driver from outside the city picking up here in the city,” said Farnham.

“Just because we’re on strike doesn’t give cabs from other municipalities the right to come in and pick up fares.”

Talks with the company appeared to be headed in “the right direction” on Wednesday, said Farnham, but they were derailed when several multi-license plate owners for the company showed up and met in private with company executives, who emerged with an unacceptable contract offer.

“They did drop on some things, but it was not something our members would agree to,” Farnham said. “We knew that and let the employer know that we would not feel comfortable bringing it to our members.

“I was disappointed and frustrated. Things were going in one direction and a couple people show up and it went a different way in my opinion. That’s how it went into the ditch.”

Farnham described the rental rates for cabs paid by a majority of drivers as too high.

“The ridership has gone down about 25 per cent,” Farnham said.

“We need rates that reflect we are in a recession, that ridership is down and our members can earn an income to raise a family.”

Read Full Post »

$400,000 deal to end plant blockade

By Donald McArthur, The Windsor Star [Ontario]
March 19, 2009

Aradco and Aramco workers received $400,000 from Chrysler to end their blockade of two shuttered auto parts plants in Windsor and will go after the plants’ U.S.-based owners for outstanding severance monies.

The offer from Chrysler amounts to eight weeks vacation pay for each of 80 laid off workers and doubles the offer workers rejected by a margin of 64 per cent Monday. The amount falls far short of the $1.5 million in severance and termination pay legally owed workers by Catalina Precision Products, which closed the plants abruptly last Tuesday.

“It’s a victory that we ended up getting something for them more than what they had from day one when they first walked out, which was nothing,” said CAW Local 195 President Gerry Farnham.

“We ended up getting them $400,000 that they wouldn’t have normally been entitled to. Unfortunately, we had to get that through a third employer, which really bothers me.”

Should Catalina end up declaring bankruptcy, workers should receive an additional four weeks pay under the federal government’s wage protection program.

Aradco and Aramco workers, who now have no jobs and face a bleak job market, said the Chrysler money was better than nothing. They called on Catalina to provide them severance and termination pay and urged the government to introduce legislation to protect workers.

“We go what we could get,” said Joel Elschner, 38, an 11-year employee at Aramco. “It’s not all we’re entitled to but it’s certainly more than Catalina was going to give us.”

The deal with Chrysler ended a union blockade outside the two shuttered plants, which had prevented the automaker from retrieving tooling vital to vehicle production at multiple North American plants. Trucks were seen removing Chrysler tooling from the plants on Thursday.

Catalina maintains it has no money to pay the severance to the workers and that Chrysler owes it money. Workers expressed fears that any money paid to Catalina would be paid to banks and creditors and dry up long before workers saw even a penny.

———————————————————————————————-

Workers occupy Aradco factory

By Donald McArthur and Chris Thompson, Windsor Star
March 18, 2009

A handful of workers intent on stopping Chrysler from removing parts and tooling until they receive termination and severance pay occupied the Windsor Aradco plant Tuesday.

“Their resolve is pretty strong,” said CAW Local 195 president Gerry Farnham.

“It’s a shame we have to do this.”

Shortly before 6 p.m. about half a dozen workers appeared on the roof of the Charles Street plant, which shut down last week. One planted a CAW Local 195 flag near the front of the roof.

The workers managed to gain entry to the secured plant, setting off the alarm system and thereby notifying police.

A dozen officers arrived but workers gathered outside managed to keep them from entering the plant.

A call was made to CAW president Ken Lewenza and, with the assistance of other senior CAW leadership, a lawyer for parent company Catalina Precision Products was convinced to contact Windsor police.

“The lawyer for Catalina didn’t want us to cross the line either,” said Sgt. Tony Garro.

“We are just going to stay back and make sure nothing further develops. If there is something blatant we’ll deal with it.”

Farnham climbed on top of a pile of wooden pallets and delivered the news to workers, who responded with cheers.

Earlier in the day Rick Laporte, president of CAW Local 444, which represents workers at Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly Plant, was among a blockade numbering more than 100 that stopped a flatbed truck, which was backed up by Chrysler security vehicles, from entering Aradco, one of two Chrysler suppliers that abruptly closed last Tuesday.

“It’s a delicate situation,” said Laporte. “This is not a good situation for either side.”

Complicating matters for the union is that Chrysler wants to move the tooling equipment from two plants represented by CAW Local 195 to another plant, Narmco, represented by the same local.

The truck was denied entry about 2 p.m. as Chrysler sought in a Toronto courtroom to add teeth to an injunction it obtained last week. The injunction stipulated the company owned and had a legal right to retrieve parts and tooling from Aradco and Aramco on Walker Road.

The impasse could stall production at several North American Chrysler plants by next week and as early as today at the Wrangler plant in Toledo, said Chrysler spokesman Dave Elshoff.

[…]

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »