Lockout at Federated Co-Operatives Limited (FCL)

As the lockout at Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) enters its 36th day, CUPE998 would like to extend its support to the 700+ UNIFOR tradespeople affected by this action. The fact is, while FCL earns record profits, it has locked out its workers and brought in unqualified replacement workers to continue making said profits.

During contract negotiations, FCL has introduced a concession that would eliminate an established employee pension plan that would negatively affect UNIFOR employees to the tune of 17.5%; while in the media FCL is touting an 11.5% salary increase over the course of the proposed contract was negotiated. That is false and is set nationally for refineries.

Employees at other refineries benefit from profit sharing, stock options and bonuses. Alternatively, UNIFOR employees had, in the past, negotiated for and received a pension plan which allowed members to plan for their futures. Now, just 3 years later FCL wants to take that away and offers nothing substantive in return for this proposed concession.

This will not stand. Not for UNIFOR, not for any union.

To be clear, These brothers and sisters aren’t fighting for more, more, more – they only want to keep what they already HAVE.
CUPE998 stands side by side with UNIFOR594. Being one of Co-op’s biggest corporate accounts in Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro will permit CUPE members to refuel corporate vehicles at alternative fueling stations (where possible) during the Labour dispute. Let’s show our Support for UNIFOR594 and send a clear message.

Visit BoycottCO-OP and take the pledge today!


New Report looks at the Value of Manitoba Hydro

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative’s (CCPA) Manitoba office: Manitoba Hydro, the Long View argues the publicly owned crown corporation offers economic and social benefits that would be lost if the crown were privatized. This sentiment was reflected in the Probe Research poll released on September 4th, in which 68 percent of respondents rejected privatization of Manitoba Hydro.

The new report responds to recent criticisms of Manitoba Hydro which take a far-too-narrow focus on flash-point issues like Hydro’s debt/equity ratio, or unknowns like the future price of different kinds of energy. “We need to understand the long-term value the utility provides” explains Lynne Fernandez, report author, “and that requires putting today’s debate in the context of past development”.

The terms of reference for the 2016 Boston Consulting Group report and recent inquiry proposed by the current Conservative provincial government are strikingly similar to the 1977 Tritschler Report, and the lessons learnt from that debate apply today. The recent consultant reports and media attention caused some to fear that a push for privatization of Manitoba Hydro, such as we saw with Manitoba Telephone Services, was building.

Fernandez explains Manitoba Hydro is a large corporation operating in complex world of continental exports, imports, spot pricing, future pricing and domestic and foreign demands. It competes with other forms of energy, such as fracked gas, wind, and solar that come and go at ever faster rates. It must now operate in an environment of climate change, species extinction and volatile politics. These elements are folded into the report, along with discussion of the long, painful and complicated relationship with First Nation and Métis communities who have paid a too-high price for hydro development. The improving relationships between Manitoba Hydro and First Nations – also discussed,  should be part of Truth and Reconciliation in Manitoba.

Manitoba households enjoy the second lowest electrical bills in North America, and industrial users benefit from the lowest, another advantage to public ownership, as opposed to private ownership in Ontario, Alberta or much of the US.

The role of Manitoba Hydro will be raised in tonight’s provincial election debate on climate change and the environment, 7 – 9 pm at the Hotel Fort Garry.

Report now available online: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/manitoba-hydro-long-view

About the author: Lynne Fernandez holds the Errol Black Chair in Labour Issues at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative MB is the author of Manitoba Hydro, the Long View.

About the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is a non-profit charitable research institute active Nationally since 1980 and in Manitoba since 1997. www.policyalternatives.ca