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  • A critical look at BC’s new tax breaks and subsidies for LNG May 7, 2019
    The BC government has offered much more to the LNG industry than the previous government. Read the report by senior economist Marc Lee.  
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver April 30, 2019
    The 2019 living wage for Metro Vancouver is $19.50/hour. This is the amount needed for a family of four with each of two parents working full-time at this hourly rate to pay for necessities, support the healthy development of their children, escape severe financial stress and participate in the social, civic and cultural lives of […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Time to regulate gas prices in BC and stop industry gouging April 29, 2019
    Drivers in Metro Vancouver are reeling from record high gas prices, and many commentators are blaming taxes. But it’s not taxes causing pain at the pump — it’s industry gouging. Our latest research shows that gas prices have gone up by 55 cents per litre since 2016 — and the vast majority of that increase […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • CCPA welcomes Randy Robinson as new Ontario Director March 27, 2019
    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is pleased to announce the appointment of Randy Robinson as the new Director of our Ontario Office.  Randy’s areas of expertise include public sector finance, the gendered rise of precarious work, neoliberalism, and labour rights. He has extensive experience in communications and research, and has been engaged in Ontario’s […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • 2019 Federal Budget Analysis February 27, 2019
    Watch this space for response and analysis of the federal budget from CCPA staff and our Alternative Federal Budget partners. More information will be added as it is available. Commentary and Analysis  Aim high, spend low: Federal budget 2019 by David MacDonald (CCPA) Budget 2019 fiddles while climate crisis looms by Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood (CCPA) Budget hints at priorities for upcoming […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Workers Uniting – The Global Union

I was a delegate to the United Steelworkers’ triennial Constitutional Convention in Las Vegas last week. Video of Obama’s speech and other highlights is available through the union’s revamped website.

The 2008 convention will likely be remembered for three historic decisions. First, a new position was added to the union’s International Executive Board. (Semi-regular news stories about western Canada’s rising economic and political power might note that this region now accounts for more than 10% of the top leadership of North America’s largest industrial union.)

Second, delegates overwhelmingly voted to raise the union’s dues from 1.3% to 1.45% of earnings and to direct this increase to the Strike and Defense Fund. If enhanced strike pay emboldens members to bargain harder and risk more labour disputes, the additional revenues should be sufficient to sustain the Fund’s current balance of about US$130 million. If labour disputes continue at the current frequency, these revenues will more than double the Fund within the next few years.

Last but certainly not least, the United Steelworkers joined with Britain’s Unite to form a new organization: Workers Uniting – The Global Union. For years, capital has operated on a multinational basis, often using investment decisions to push workers in particular countries to accept the lower wages, business taxes and workplace conditions available in other countries. International unions can allow workers to confront capital on a multinational basis and maintain a common front for higher standards everywhere.  The New York Times, TIME Magazine, The New Statesman, and other publications covered the trans-Atlantic agreement signed in Las Vegas.

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