UFCW Local 1000A used Union Calling to survey over 14,000 supermarket members throughout Ontario on their bargaining priorities.
In several subsequent calls, President Kevin Corporon kept members continuously updated during prolonged contract negotiations. The knowledge gained from the survey was invaluable in giving the bargaining committee the confidence that they were speaking for the members.
The bargaining update calls created an unprecedented solidarity that resulted in an excellent settlement that raised wages and protected jobs even though the employer was experiencing marketplace difficulties and was undergoing major restructuring.
Saskatchewan Union of Nurses President Rosalee Longmoore, called over 8,000 SUN members to survey them on what they would do if working conditions for nurses in the province did not dramatically improve over the next three years.
Saskatchewan is currently short over 1,000 nurses and the stresses on existing nurses are becoming intolerable.
In the longest-ever strike in Toronto Civic workers’ history, the 26,000 members of CUPE Local 79 and TCEU Local 416 staged an epic showdown with Mayor David Miller, who was determined to wring massive concessions from City employees.
Miller particularly targeted the longstanding sick day banking system that had been negotiated years ago in lieu of a wage increase. Over the course of the nearly six-week strike, Local 79 President Ann Dembinski and Local 416 President Mark Ferguson used Union Calling several times to update members on bargaining, quash rumours, announce rallies, bolster morale and, finally, announce a settlement that was a clear victory for the unions.
A total of more than 250,000 calls were made and Union Calling statistics revealed that the vast majority of members listened to their presidents’ messages from start to finish.
Picket lines at Ottawa’s Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum were swollen with members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada following a PSAC call to tens of thousands of its members in the National Capital Region.
The call was made by a PSAC member, one of the 420 who work at the museums, asking for picket line support. The message was recorded and edited in both English and French and delivered to separate English and French phone lists provided by the union.
Main issues in the strike are job security and a redress of the much lower wages of these workers compared to other museum workers in the Region.
Two days before his one-on-one meeting with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas used Union Calling in a unique way to bring his members’ personal views to the table.
Thomas called members throughout the province to ask them to email directly to him what they would like him to tell the Premier. He provided his email address in the phone message. Thomas reported he was “overwhelmed” by the response.
Over 1,000 pages of thoughtful and creative emails came in within 48 hours, providing a powerful foundation for his message to McGuinty that provincial employees deserve fair treatment, not wage freezes.
OSSTF District 12 President Doug Jolliffe calls over 6,500 members to a negotiations “Rally of Respect” outside the offices of the Toronto District School Board to protest the employer’s refusal to move from its position of an increased workload with no improvements to benefits.
Despite the bitter cold, thousands of members show up in response to Jolliffe’s call and noisily support their union.
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions President Michael Hurley hospital workers throughout southern Ontario to call them to a rally at Queen’s Park to join the Ontario Health Coalition in protesting the Liberal government’s plans to close Emergency Rooms and, in some cases, entire hospitals in smaller population centres. “This is our opportunity to tell the government we will not allow them to put the health of our loved ones at risk.”
Thousands showed up at the rally, which garnered extensive media coverage.
Nurses’ unions used Union Calling to alert their members to precautionary standards for dealing with known or suspected H1N1 cases.
United Nurses of Alberta president Heather Smith called all 28,000 UNA members to explain in detail the conditions under which N95 masks, gowns, gloves and goggles must be worn.
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union president Janet Hazelton broadcast a similar message to all 5600 NSNU members, as did Debbie Forward, president of Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses’ Union to all 5300 NLNU members.
All presidents urged members to contact their union representative if proper protective equipment was not being supplied.
In 36 dramatic hours, aided by Union Calling, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union planned, staged and resolved a one-day strike at Halifax’s IWK Health Centre.
Four calls were made by President Joan Jessome during the day and a half, one as late as 10:30 p.m. Each of the calls was recorded, edited, programmed and broadcast within 90 minutes.
Martha Brown, 1st Vice President of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, pre-recorded two messages to the 294 members who drive school buses in Halifax: 1) “I am pleased to inform you that the bargaining committee has reached a tentative settlement…” and 2) “I am disappointed to inform you that the bargaining committee was unable to reach an agreement…” Round the clock bargaining concluded with a settlement at 3:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Union Calling sent the call out at 9:00 a.m. telling members of the settlement and calling them to a meeting that afternoon to conduct the ratification vote.
Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union President Janet Hazelton calls all members to urge them to attend a major protest rally at the Nova Scotia Legislature Opening to protest the Conservative government’s plans to introduce legislation outlawing strikes in the health care sector.
The colourful, upbeat rally attracted 500 health care workers from NSGEU, CUPE, SEIU and other unions.
The Manitoba Government & General Employees’ Union calls over 5,000 members to advise them of improvements to the Healthcare Employees’ Benefits Plan and alert them to the information package being mailed.
Members are urged to complete and return the benefits forms and given information on where to call if they have any questions.
MNU President Sandi Mowat calls all members to report that recent discussions with the provincial government have resulted in an additional wage increase that puts Manitoba nurses fourth in Canada in terms of wages.
Members are referred to the union’s website to see the new wage scales.
In the first poll by the new partnership of Union Calling and Forum Research, it was found that the majority of Torontonians are aware of the historical contributions the labour movement has made to life in Canada, and they understand that some of these gains could be at risk if not defended with the same fervour that characterized the union movement in the past. Three out of four Torontonians support the right to strike and 62% believe that unions are as necessary today as they ever were. See full report.
Union Calling, Canada’s largest provider of telecom technology services exclusively to unions and their allies has teamed up with Forum Research, one of Canada’s most respected opinion research firms to offer fast, accurate and inexpensive polling to unions that want to measure membership and general public opinion.
“We are pleased to be able to now offer our clients top flight polling in cooperation with a company whose track record for accuracy is unparalleled,” said Bill Reno, Union Calling founder and president.
“Precise knowledge of membership and public opinion empowers unions to conduct more successful and economically efficient campaigns.”
The poll on public attitudes towards unions was conducted by the Union Calling/Forum Research partnership for Toronto’s Local 113 of the Amalgamated Transit Union on August 13 and 14, among a randomly selected sample of 1207 Toronto adults 18 years of age and older. The poll was conducted by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3%, 19 out of 20 times.
Mike, Ryan, Business Manager for Sudbury Local 493 of the Labourers’ Union, calls all members to urge them to get out and vote in the October 2008 Federal election. Ryan tells members who they vote for is ultimately their choice but asks them to “Show Steven Harper and the Conservatives not to mess with Union Labour.”
A call to ACTRA Toronto members by President Heather Allin sparked a large turnout to the 2009 Toronto Labour Day Parade. With the theme: “More Canada on Canadian TV” ACTRA’s lively contingent marched the 4.5-kilometre route from University Avenue to the Canadian National Exhibition along with thousands of other union members from dozens of other unions in one of the largest parades in Toronto Labour history. “Bring your family and friends and let’s have a blast!” Allin told her members, and they did.
IATSE Local 58 calls all members to invite them and their families to a holiday season party.
Members are asked to call the local office to RSVP and also give the names and ages of their children so that personalized age-appropriate gifts are available at the party, which turns out to be the most successful such event in the local’s history.
Elizabeth Ballerman, President of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, calls 11,000 members who belong to the Local Authorities Pension Plan to alert them to a negative change in LAPP procedures, one that would allow the board to make important decisions about fundamental aspects of the pension without any input from union representatives.
She urges members to visit a special website, SaveMyPension.ca and to call their MLAs to demand the rules be changed back.
A Union Calling broadcast with a multilingual greeting helped pack the Council Chamber at Toronto City Hall with 600 members of Unite Here Local 75 celebrating International Hotel Workers’ Day.
Local President Paul Clifford then led the members on a march to the downtown Hyatt hotel to protest the abrupt firing and replacement of 100 non-union Hyatt workers in Boston.
Toronto was the first of 12 cities across North America where UniteHere staged public demonstrations against Hyatt’s unfair treatment of its workers.
Karen Fisk, President of the ETFO Hastings-Prince Edward in Eastern Ontario calls members with endorsements for two local candidates in the Ontario General Election. “These candidates are strong advocates for a partnership in public education that includes teachers, students, and the broader community.”
To challenge the government’s changes to municipal workers’ pension fund, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan used Union Calling to mobilize a Day of Protest involving thousands of members – and then call it off at the last minute when the government changed its position.
Several hundred CUPE Ontario members from all over the province converged on Hamilton on January 29, 2011 to join a massive demonstration of protest against the U.S. Steel lockout of 900 Steelworkers after they refused to agree to massive pension concessions.
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn used Union Calling to recruit members for the historic rally and tell them about the CUPE buses that would be leaving many communities for Hamilton on the Day of Action.
“Their fight is our fight, and it’s one we cannot afford to lose,” Hahn told the members in a callout. “Come to Hamilton to show solidarity.”
CUPE Ontario and Council of Canadians – Bottled Water Ban Campaign
The bottled water industry has become hugely profitable by undermining public faith in the safety of municipal water systems. A 15-city speaking tour across Ontario featured Maude Barlow, Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly and national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President.
Union Calling was used by both organizations to call their members in each city to inform them of the issue and invite them to the public meetings, which were very successful. Thousands were called in Windsor, Brockville, Midland, Waterloo, St. Catharines, Toronto, Kingston, Whitby, London, Guelph, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Cobourg, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay, Kenora and Peterborough.
Danny Cavanaugh, President of CUPE Nova Scotia, calls all members of Local 2431 who work in Sydney at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
“The government is charging ahead with the recommendations in the Corpus-Sanchez Report and with privatization schemes that will affect you and your family.”
The meeting is well-attended and successful in alerting members to the threats of privatization.
A strike by the more than 2000 CUPE Local 1975 members at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon was launched by a Union Calling message from the negotiating committee.
Just prior to the strike, a callout from Union Calling resulted in the largest on-campus demonstration in the university’s history by CUPE. Union Calling was also used to call the strike and, weeks later announce a settlement that involved biding arbitration.
Then CEP Ontario Region Vice-President Cec Makowski calls thousands of member throughout the province to urge them to vote YES in the referendum on proportional representation being held in concert with the Ontario General Election.
Although the Mixed Member Proportional Representation system fails to win the required 60% vote, post-election indications are that CEP members overwhelmingly supported it.
Bob Orr, Assistant to CAW President Ken Lewenza calls workers in Niagara Falls casinos to announce that the union has challenged management to a debate on whether or not the workers need a union and invites them to the meeting.
Management fails to show but turnout for the meeting was excellent and showed solid support for the union.
Actors’ Equity uses Union Calling to contact members across Canada, urging them to vote in a National Referendum on the governing structure of the Association. Balloting was much heavier than expected and the referendum passed.
Local 416 of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers represents thousands of workers throughout Alberta. Members work at all hours and at many locations around the province, so communications are a challenge.
Business Manager Warren Fraleigh used Union Calling to advise all members about a meeting in Edmonton to discuss a major upcoming project. Live video conferencing was available to members in Calgary and Fort McMurray.
Bob Kinnear, President of Amalgamated Transit Workers Local 113 had proposed to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) that Canadian Forces veterans of World War II and the Korean War be allowed to take the TTC without charge, a practice already in place in some other Ontario cities.
Local 113 commissioned Union Calling to conduct an automated public phone poll on the issue, which found 80 per cent support for the idea among city residents. The poll results are being used to press the TTC to adopt this idea.
As the strike deadline approached in contract negotiations with the Toronto Transit Commission, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 President Bob Kinnear pre-recorded two messages: 1) “We’re on strike” and 2) “We have a tentative settlement.”
Minutes before the deadline, a settlement was reached. Kinnear sent a text message to Union Calling, which immediately launched the call to all 9,000 members, giving them the news before it was announced in the media.
Brampton Transit management tries to change policies over the union’s objections. Local President calls members on a Sunday afternoon to alert them not to sign anything and reassure them the union would be filing a Policy Grievance. When the members show up on Monday morning, all refuse the sign a statement that they had read and will comply with the new policy.
The union was then able to negotiate changes in the policy.
Canadian TV icon and ACTRA member Eric Peterson (Corner Gas, Street Legal), called his fellow members to get them out to a Toronto rally to protest against Canwest’s reduction in spending on Canadian programming in its fall lineup.
Several hundred members, including other Canadian TV stars such as Leah Pinsent, Colin Mochrie and Wendy Crewson, responded to the call and turned out to the event.
Chanting “Buy Canadian!” and carrying placards reading “Get with the program,” and “More Canada on TV,” the actors drew significant media attention to their cause. Peterson said that “private broadcasters “don’t seem to give a hoot that Canadians want to see themselves on TV.”
The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists uses Union Calling to draw members to a demonstration outside the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ convention in Ottawa.
In response to the phone call from ACTRA National President Richard Hardacre, hundreds of members traveled to Ottawa to hear well-known Canadian stars Eric Peterson (Corner Gas), Julie Stewart (Cold Squad), Robb Wells (Trailer Park Boys), John Paul Tremblay (Trailer Park Boys) and ACTRA officials. The demonstration received wide media coverage.
Canadian Actors’ Equity Association executive David Adams calls all CAEA members in Greater Vancouver to a financial information meeting: ‘The Tax Man Cometh.’ The largest-ever turnout of Equity members in British Columbia hear an expert panel answer RRSP, income tax and financial planning questions.