All posts by Tia Everitt

Tia is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma and covered in a crunchy candy coating of genuine British Columbian snark. She is currently exiled to Winnipeg for an unknown duration of time.

Will Today Be the Day You Die at Work?

 

 

Do you feel lucky, punk?
Well… do you?

Every day, four Canadians will die as a result of a workplace accident, injury or industrial disease.  If you make it home from work today, you are one of the lucky ones.

Statistically speaking, 1000 Canadian workers die annually as a result of workplace fatalities. This number is unacceptably high, despite Canada having some of the best health and safety laws in the world.

Employers continue to fail to ensure:

  • That their workers are safe on the job-site, with the right tools for the right job in the right place;
  • That workers have received adequate training and resources to equip them for the jobs they are being asked to do;
  • Advise workers  that they have the right to refuse to work in conditions that they (or others) perceive to be unsafe;
  • That accidents are reported, investigated and prevented from re-occurring.

In many Canadian jurisdictions, the ongoing monitoring of labour and safety standards continues to be cut back. So called “voluntary” industry compliance programs increasingly take their place.  Canada can, and should do much better to ensure the enforcement of  occupational and environmental health and safety regulations.

DayofMourning2005_AWCBC-194x300

 

April 28th is the National Day of Morning (Jour National De Deuil).  On this day, take pause from your workday to remember those who have lost their lives on the job, or as a result of occupational disease. It is a designated day to honour the families left behind, and contemplate action to demand safer work environments.  It is a daunting task in the wake of the ongoing growth of industry and construction in our nation.

Enough is enough.

It is time to enforce the law and bring employers who are negligent and dangerous to justice.

What can be done to reverse this trend?

  • Provinces and territories can appoint special prosecutors to lay charges against employers when their actions cause serious death, disease or injury.
  • Implement and enact new regulations that deal with known dangers in the workplace (violence, exposure to toxins/carcinogens, repetitive stress injuries, poor ergonomics, workplace harassment, stress) to ensure their prevention.
  • Hire more inspectors to ensure compliance.

All accidents are preventable.  Don’t become a statistic.  Come home safely.

2012Statisticsinfographic2

(source: AWCBC/ACATC)

 

Corporate Hypocrites Gone Wild: Syncrude Edition

Let’s say that you’re one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic crude and also Canada’s largest single-source producer of crude derived from oil sands.

Imagine that you are also  the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in Alberta!  (“Psst, we’re working on being the biggest in all of the nation, baby. Don’t count us out yet!”)

Your tailing ponds are a great place for suicidal waterfowl to go to die, and those outstanding environmentalists at Sinopec  are one of your major share-holders.

How do you convey your misunderstood love and respect of Mother Earth to the public?

You go out and sponsor an “environmental gallery” at your local children’s museum, that’s how.

The newly coined Syncrude Environment Gallery, which opened last October, features interactive displays on a variety of environmental topics aimed at children, including shrinking sea ice, recycling, and a display on oilsands development in Alberta entitled, “history of a hot topic.”

At a price tag of $500K over 5 years? A pittance to don the veneer of a good corporate citizen.

 

Telus World of Science, Edmonton

 

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Syncrude

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“Why be an ordinary hypocrite, when you can be the best hypocrite?” – Syncrude


Syncrude is the latest in the line of corporate hypocrites to sponsor philanthropic/scientific venues that prove that irony is either entirely lost on corporate polluters, or is fully embraced.
Two other notable examples of blurring the line between utter branding psychopathy and altruism spring to mind:

  • Monsanto Insectarium (…which will probably be the only place you’ll ever get to see some of these insects after Monsanto is done eradicating them for good.)
  • Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer (“I know! Let’s sponsor a fundraiser for all of the people out there who mysteriously contract cancer after living next to our infrastructure! Genius!”)

Time to sit and wait for Nestle to sponsor a water park or two in a developing nation.

 

Profits Before People: Richmond Ikea Lockout Enters Day 17

 

Boycott Ikea

Generating enough media spin to rival a jet engine at take off, the management and PR folks at Ikea Canada want you to believe that their poor little corporation is being held hostage by greedy, soulless union workers in Richmond.

Woe. 
Pity poor Ikea.

It’s tough being a multi-national corporation with a reputation for  union busting, still more union busting and sundry  human rights violations. It is also expensive to flog the entire planet with particle board, Allen Keys and horsemeat tainted foodstuffs. You can’t expect them to provide “coworkers” with a safe, fair and equitable place to work. After all, you can’t have your faecal contaminated Tarta Chokladkrokant and eat it too.

Bottom lines, people. Bottom. Lines.

Meanwhile, back in Lotusland, 300+ workers of the mega-Ikea store in Richmond are embroiled in a rapidly degenerating labor dispute. Members of the Teamsters Local #213 are locked out, and the store continues to skeleton crew it, while management utters threats in the news about further reducing the contract on the table if their slaves picketing staff doesn’t roll over and take the pounding.

(Source: CKNW)

It looks like some assembly may be required as things get tense in a labour dispute between some 300 union workers and management at the Richmond Ikea.

Manager Janet McGowan says the store has been operating on limited hours as Teamsters take job action.

But McGowan says they will now play hardball by gradually reducing the contract on the table if the union doesn’t sign soon, “So, on June 3rd, our co-workers would have a phase one offer that they could, in fact, be accepting and then we would give co-workers an additional five days before implementation of phase two and then an additional five days before the implementation of the phase three.”

Phase one would see a 500-dollar signing bonus go bye-bye, by phase three paid sick days would be cut in half.

If Ikea is so moral and fair, as their media relations people would have you think, why have the staff overwhelmingly rejected not one, not two, but THREE different offers by the company to date?

Simple.

Ikea is attempting to drag workers back into the dark ages. Not just because they’re cheap, but because, according to their  track record, they also enjoy it.

(Never mind that Richmond-area retail workers reside in one of the most expensive cities in the world. It’s not like they have homes or families, right? Who needs to eat?)

Ikea is not about ensuring fair living wages. It’s about profit. Not people.

Primary contract issues, per Teamsters Local 213’s Facebook page:

  • re-introduction of multi-tiered wage systems
  • removal of hour guarantees
  • benefit reductions
  • contract work out schemes
  • many other concessions

I stand in solidarity with these men and women on the picket line.

Having been locked out by my employer  for over a month in the summer of 2000, I understand what these people are going through.
Spending your nights and days on a picket line, in all kinds of weather, all times of day, and not knowing what comes next is scary.

Here is what happens:

The first few days are adrenaline-fueled and high-energy. There is solidarity. There is power in numbers. Everyone is prepared to stick it to the man.

As time slithers on, and the rhetoric from the employer grows increasingly hostile, infighting starts. Division.

People start to blame each other. Blame the union. Question whether they made the right choice.  Side with the employer. Discomfort and unknowns don’t bring out the best in people.

When weeks near months, people become afraid. Union stipends/wage replacements are not enough in Vancouver. People start looking for other jobs.

The ones who hang in there start to feel guilt, and become compelled to accept whatever comes down the pipe from corporate, just to end the sustained duress.

The media portrays the workers as lazy, ignorant and willfully spiteful. Goodwill diminishes. There is a lack of public support.

The union organizers work hard to rally, but the morale just isn’t there, and their job grows increasingly difficult.

They need support. Your support. Our support. These are families and community members, not a faceless corporate entity.

Ways in which we can help boost the cause of the locked out Ikea workers in Richmond/Teamsters Local 213:

  • Boycott  Richmond Ikea. Don’t shop there. Don’t give them your money.
  • Boycott ALL Ikea locations. Don’t go running down the road to Coquitlam. (The breakfast is cheap for a reason.)
  • Don’t cross their picket lines. Ever.
  • Walk the picket line WITH them.
  • Bring by some food and beverage, especially if it is really hot or really cold.
  • If the weather becomes inclement, pop by with some shelter or weather related implements like umbrellas, ponchos or sunblock.
  • Respond to online editorials, radio talk shows, newspaper articles that spin in favour of Ikea and demonize labor unions/workers.
  • Use social media to counter the spin.
  • Write to them and let them know you support the workers.

Keep fighting the good fight, folks. Remind them that people need to come BEFORE profit.

 

 

Live-Blogging the Next BC Government

Here we are: only hours to go until the polls close.

What will be the next BC government?

What are your hopes, fears, dreams, goals?

This page will refresh every 15 seconds, or you can manually reload it.

Please add in your comments below

  1. What are your seat predictions?
  2. What do you think will be the final popular vote results?
  3. Will Christy Clark lose her seat?
  4. If the Liberals lose, will Christy Clark (a) resign tonight, (b) vow to rebuild the party, or (c) take time to reflect on her future?

You can read our liveblog after the jump – it starts with cautious optimism, anxiety, and some cynicism, and ends with crying.

Continue reading

Cunt: Never An Appropriate Descriptor for a 9 Year Old Child

When I close my eyes, and imagine all the terms that one could come up with to describe a 9 year old girl, the very last one on my list would be “cunt.”
In general, I would assume that most reasonable people would agree. There are fewer words as genderized, vulgar and riddled with hate.
While some feminists have strove to reclaim the label, it remains an extremely derogatory term.

Apparently, there is someone handling the social media for The Onion tonight that either:
a) doesn’t care
b) didn’t get the memo or
c)is willing to push the envelope for spin/media traction.

No. Bad. Fail.
Before it disappears off the face of the earth, take a gander at that. “Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?”

I get that The Onion is satire. I understand that they exist only to push the limits of good taste and freedom of expression.
I am generally a fan of their ability to mock convention and the sacred cows of society just enough to elicit a hearty laugh.
This? Not okay.

This is Quvenzhane Wallis:

She is a child.
A  nine year-old child, who happens to have been nominated for a “Best Actress” Oscar this year.

…and according to The Onion, a “cunt.”

If, for any reason, you have the cognitively chosen to defend The Onion on this I’d love to hear the justification.

(Be prepared for me to eviscerate you if your reasoning is “First Amendment” based. I call bullshit.)

Points to ponder:

  • An adult, with a job, who broadcasts outside of a vacuum, decided it was acceptable to use this specific epithet in reference to a pre-pubescent child.
  • A  female child, who also happens to be black! (Imagine the media frenzy if a little blonde caucasian child were called this.)
  • It wouldn’t have been okay to call any woman a “cunt”, for what it is worth. It’s sexist and worthless as far as words go, and it is just that much more disgusting when aimed at a little kid.
  • By the time I got to this point in writing the article, the Tweet was removed. Someone over there in Onionland pulled it.
  • If you want to let it fly, you can ping The Onion on Twitter – @TheOnion