About 155,000 federal workers across Canada went on strike last Wednesday that included picket lines at more than 250 locations—mainly at government buildings.
These strikes have impacted nearly every function of government, ranging from tax returns to passport applications.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada, the major union that represents tens of thousands of federal workers, wants a 13.5 percent pay increase over the next three years that can be broken down to about 4.5 percent a year.
Canada’s inflation rate hit 4.3 percent in March, which was down from 8.1 percent last June—which marked a nearly 40-year high.
Ottawa said it offered the union a 9 percent pay increase over three years, which Mona Fortier, the president of Canada’s Treasury Board, called competitive.
“We cannot write a blank check,” she said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Fortier said the government and the union have been negotiating for three weeks.
“There have been ups and downs, there has been kicking and screaming, but the important thing right now is that we are focused, and we have a deal that is good for public servants, a fair one, and that is reasonable for Canadians, and that’s what we’re trying to focus on right now,” she said.
Chris Aylward, president of the union, told The Globe and Mail in a statement that the union could intensify strike action in the coming weeks and accused the federal government of being “content” to prolong the strike.
The paper said the average wage for these workers is about $60,000 a year and hold jobs like store keepers, maintenance people, and engine-room technicians.
Aylward said wages, remote working, and seniority layoffs are some of the lingering issues being discussed.
“Our members are still on strike,” he said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “We’re here and we will stay here until our members get the fair deal they deserve.”
TRENDPOST: Canada has sent Ukraine over $4.13 billion in U.S. dollars. Earlier this month, Canada announced it will spend $59 million for 21,000 assault rifles and machine guns. Governments find the money when it comes to providing Kyiv with weapons of death, but the workers of Slavelandia must fight and strike to make a living.
WORKERS AT UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE U.S. GO ON STRIKE
Colleges across the U.S. that are facing enrollment issues are also facing new strikes as workers demand better pay amid persistently high inflation.
The Guardian noted in a report last week that the new strikes seem to be a “continuation of a wave of industrial action in higher education in the U.S. last year.”
The report noted that schools like Rutgers, Temple University, and the University of Illinois Chicago have all seen contract issues since the start of the year. Most of these employees have lashed out at pay discrepancies at these schools. For example, Brian Strom, the chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, pulls in $925,932 a year. Patrick Hobbs, the director of athletics at the school, makes $999,688 a year.
The strikers accused the school of spending too much on athletics at the expense of other workers. Salon reported that Stephen Pikiell, the basketball coach, pulls in $3 million a year and the football coach makes $4 million.
Chris Hedges, the author of the Salon article, noted that he did not see any of these individuals at the week-long strike, but did see an adjunct professor for creative writing—a single mother of three teenage daughters—who makes $28,000 a year and could not afford health insurance.
The strike has since ended after a “framework” agreement was reached. The strike was the first in the school’s 257-year history.
Jonathan Holloway, the school’s president who pulls in $1.2 million a year, told reporters that the deal includes “substantial increases to the salaries of graduate workers and part-time lecturers, and significantly strengthens job security for part-time faculty,” NPR reported.
Hedges wrote, “Rutgers, like most American universities, operates as a corporation. Senior administrators, who often have MBA degrees but little or no experience in higher education, along with athletic coaches who have the potential to earn the university money, are highly compensated while thousands of poorly paid educators and staff are denied job security and benefits.”
Staff and faculty at Goddard College in Vermont announced last week that they would return to work after nearly a month-long strike for pay increases, time off, and the right to negotiate working conditions, according to MyChamplainValley.com.
The Goddard College Staff Union said its members received an offer that they can live with. The workers on strike have called for a 3 percent pay increase since May 2022. The report said the terms of the deal included a 5.75 percent raise to staffers earning below $20 per hour, and a 3 percent raise to those earning more than $20 per hour.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the evolution of the college experience in the U.S. The college diploma, which was once seen as a golden ticket to life in the middle class, is now seen as a burden for many young Americans up to their eyeballs in student loans who see the four years at school a missed earning opportunity. (See “TOP TREND 2023, COLLEGE CRASH: 3 REASONS YOUNG PEOPLE ARE SHUNNING HIGHER EDUCATION” 4 Apr 2023 and “YOUNG AMERICANS DITCH COLLEGE FOR APPRENTICESHIPS, FURTHER CEMENTING OUR TOP TREND” 21 Mar 2023.)
We have also reported extensively on the push to unionize and the New World Disorder that includes angry mobs of people tired of the status quo.
GERMANY ABSORBS STRIKES THAT BRING RAIL TRAVEL TO GRINDING HALT, AIRPORTS ALSO IMPACTED
A union representing about 230,000 transportation workers in Germany organized a walkout on Friday that impacted both rail and air travel across the country over pay increases for its members.
An agreement was reached over the weekend between the government and labor unions that represent 2.5 million workers, DW reported. The report noted that the deal did not include airport workers, which led to another day of striking on Monday.
DW reported that all departing flights at the Berlin-Brandenburg airport were canceled, along with 70 out of 240 incoming flights. The Associated Press reported that the walkouts started at 3:30 a.m. and were expected to go on until midnight.
The EVG, the union that represents rail workers, wanted Germany to agree to a 12 percent pay increase for workers, or 650 euros more a month, Reuters reported. Deutsche Bahn, the national operator, has come up short in negotiations and has offered a 5 percent pay increase and a one-time payment of up to 2,500 euros.
The disagreement led to a massive strike that resulted in a grinding halt of train service in the country from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday. Deutsche Bahn, the national rail operator, called the strike on Friday “completely useless and unnecessary.”
The DW report said these EVG employees will see a €3,000 inflation payment and pay increases by at least €340 as of March 2024.
The report said a rail strike on Friday coincided with a walkout at four major airports in the country that only added to the chaos. Reuters noted that about 700 flights were canceled and nearly 100,000 travelers were impacted.
“The fact that we have to take this course of action is entirely the responsibility of the management who have so far refused to negotiate constructively,” the EVG union said, according to DW.
The report noted that the union said it is seeking the increase because workers have seen their “financial burdens” increase sharply. Inflation in the country was down to 7.4 percent in March compared to a high of 8.8 percent in October.
Besides the pay increase, the union said it was fighting for “better bonuses for the irregular and inconvenient shift times and for the overtime they must repeatedly work,” WSWS reported. The report said these workers have not seen a pay increase in years.
TRENDPOST: It is worth noting that Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the deal announced on Sunday “accommodated the unions as far as we could responsibly do in a difficult budget situation.”
Budgets only become “difficult” when they factor in wages. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has earmarked $107 billion for military projects and will now spend 2 percent of its GDP on its military. (See “GERMANY: NO PEACE PERMITTED, AGAIN AT WAR WITH RUSSIA” 7 Mar 2023.)
Germany has provided Ukraine with more than 14.2 billion euros to fight Russia and recently approved another 12 billion euros.