Your Unifor Local 649 Resource Hub
Please check back regularly as we update our membership and the public on various Local 649 initiatives, recent happenings and public notices.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 28th, 2022
To all members of Local 649
Friday, September 30, Unifor members across Canada will commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (Orange Shirt Day) to honour the experiences of former students and survivors of the residential school system and to promote awareness about the residential school system and the harm it has had and continues to have on Indigenous communities and peoples across Canada.
I would encourage members to wear orange and join in any events taking place in your communities.
You can show your solidarity and be an advocate for reconciliation by wearing orange on September 30th! If you do, please take a photo, and share online using the hashtags #unifor649 and #everychildmatters.
Thank you for being committed to leaving a better future,
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
Unifor Local 649 President
Labour Day 2022 Statement
September 5th, 2022
Today, workers will gather at BBQs, picnics, and parades across this country to mark Labour Day, or, like many Canadians, you may mark this as just another long weekend.
I do, however, strongly encourage you, wherever you are, to take a moment to pause to recall the origins of Labour Day – a holiday Canadian workers gave the world. Dating back to 1872, the origins of Labour Day come from the struggles of working people and the demand for fairness. During the industrial revolution, in the late 1700s, unions – or organized labour – were illegal in Canada and across much of the world. Despite that, workers were starting to organize against the gruelling conditions many were working under – from child labour, to 12–16-hour workdays. Often the meager pay didn’t cover the cost of housing and food and workers were being injured or killed on the job at an alarming rate.
In Canada, it was the movement to establish a nine-hour workday and a strike by over 10,000 Toronto Typographical Union members and supporters that got the attention of Prime Minister Sir John A. MacDonald in April 1872. At that time, union activity was criminal, so many of the union leaders were thrown in jail. Because of the attention this drew, and the momentum from other labour unions across the country, on June 14, 1872, the Prime Minister passed the Trade Union Act decriminalizing unions.
The strike by the print workers evolved into the “Nine-Hour Movement” which saw other unions marching in protest. This eventually led to annual celebrations commemorating the Toronto parade, that evolved into Labour Day that we know today – established as an official holiday in 1894.
Labour Day is now celebrated around the world at different times. But wherever it is celebrated, the same spirit remains, it’s a day that affirms the dignity and honour of working people everywhere. Over the last few years, workers have had to bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic – from our front-line workers, to the many that lost their jobs, to those that had to deal with an ever-changing set of rules and regulations on what it meant to go to work every day. Optimistically, we’re looking ahead to a time where lockdowns and case counts don’t dominate our headlines.
We’ve come a long way since the Toronto printer’s strike; the challenges change but the necessity to continue to have a strong voice to ensure workers’ rights are protected remain an integral part of our society. Workers have the right to be respected in the workplace regardless of their occupation. Every worker deserves to be paid a family-sustaining wage, get access to benefits and a pension, and go home safely at the end of the day.
On behalf of Unifor Local 649, this Labour Day I want to thank the 1400 workers that belong to our bargaining units at SaskEnergy, SaskPower, TSask and Westmoreland Coal, for the work they do, to ensure that Saskatchewan residents can keep their homes heated and their lights on, knowing that the work has been safely conducted.
Behind all the smiles that ensure your safety on a day-to-day basis, are hardworking Canadians that we celebrate this Labour Day.
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
Local 649 President
New National Leadership Elected
August 10th, 2022
Over 1000 delegates from across Canada representing Locals in a wide range of industries with over 315,000 members meet in Toronto to elect the following to a new 3 year term as the Leadership of our National Union.
Unifor Local 649 Statement on National Indigenous Peoples Day
June 21st, 2022
Regina – UNIFOR Local 649 calls upon its members and society in general, to be awakened to the effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples on whose land we live, work, and learn. We call upon all to raise awareness of the trauma that settlers have visited upon our first peoples through genocidal practices, discrimination, and continued sweeping aside of their pain and their claims.
It is anticipated that 6,000 children’s graves are yet to be found at the sites of Residential Schools. Thus far, the remains of over 1,200 victims of abuse and murder have been discovered. Indigenous children were captured by the government of the day or otherwise made to leave their homes and communities to be assimilated into settler society, and we know the abuse was pervasive. The last Residential School closed its doors in 1996. This history is still very difficult for Indigenous people to grapple with, and the intergenerational trauma resulting from it still has long-reaching effects on people.
It is estimated that over 4,000 women, girls and gender diverse Indigenous persons have been murdered. It is known that colonial institutions such as the police, corrections and hospitals have mistreated, abused and /or killed our Indigenous brothers, sisters in numbers that are staggering when examined in relation to white settlers.
We must do more; we need to do more. It starts with educating ourselves, our families and our sisters and brothers. I urge you to participate in events, learn about the history and become an active advocate of support for those that need it on their journey to healing. It is up to our generation and the next to make words of promise into words of action.
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
Unifor Local 649 Statement on Day of Mourning
April 28th, 2022
Regina – April 28th, is Canada’s National Day of Mourning for those killed or injured, or who have acquired work-related illness while on the job. In towns and cities across this country, working people and local leaders will gather for a moment of silence to commemorate our late sisters and brothers.
It is the day when the Houses of Labour invites all Canadians to join us in remembering the needless deaths of working people who expected to return home safely after a day’s work but never did.
The numbers are staggering. In 2019, 925 Canadians died on the job and a further 272,000 were injured, according to the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada (AWCBC). The fact that this casualty toll is so enormous is inexcusable in a nation as educated and prosperous as ours. It means we must redouble our fight to strengthen safe and healthy conditions in all workplaces.
Despite these tragedies, we must never lose sight of the fact that important changes have been made for which organized labour can take considerable credit.
We have stronger health and safety legislation that’s supposed to protect those in the workplace from harm, illness, or death.
We have worked to achieve limited whistle-blowing legislation which is intended to protect workers from reprisals when they discover and report hazardous conditions in the workplace.
Thanks to the efforts of labour, workers today are much more aware of health and safety standards in the workplace.
We must treat health and safety in the workplace as a human right, and not simply a set of rules and regulations that too many employers choose to ignore. Unifor 649 will not rest until all workers and their families can feel safe and secure in their workplaces, without fear of death or harm.
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
Statement on International Transgender Day of Visibility
March 31, 2022
Unifor Local 649 recognizes and invites all members to celebrate the International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2022.
International Transgender Day of Visibility, a time to celebrate our transgender and gender diverse friends, family, and community members.
Founded by transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009, Transgender Day of Visibility was created to highlight the many contributions transgender people have made to society and emphasize the continued fight for transgender rights around the globe.
This day stands as a celebration of a vibrant transgender community that continues to thrive, grow, and advocate for their rights. Transgender folks have made incredible strides in recent years, breaking down barriers in the worlds of television, film, theatre, politics, sports, business, and so much more.
The fight for trans rights, dignity, and equality is not yet won. The continued need for solidarity and allyship with the trans community is a must for workers. As workers, we understand the importance of allyship. As an ally you inform those around you that you are supportive and attentive to the needs of the trans community. We must never forget that our allyship is predicated on actively listening and making change with, and for, trans communities.
We wishes to honour trans, non-binary and two-spirit members, who continue to help build our union and strengthen our movement. Our union and society are made better, more educated, and compassionate through their contributions and labour.
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
March 21, 2022
Unifor Local 649 Donates $1500.00 to help Ukraine
REGINA– In light of the ongoing plight of the citizens of Ukraine following the Russian invasion, the Executive Council of Local 649 have passed a motion to authorize a humanitarian donation of $1500.00 to be made and administered via the Canadian Red Cross.
Unifor Local 649 strongly rejects the atrocities taking place on the working men and women and their families at this time. The people of Ukraine, throughout this conflict have offered a beacon of hope to all of humanity. The world must act as one and all be part of a path towards peace.
Unifor Local 649 is hopeful, that our small donation can be a part of this process.
T.J. (Trevor) Davies, CD
Unifor donates $150,000 to help Ukraine
March 1, 2022
TORONTO – Unifor is donating a total of $150,000 to the Red Cross to assist with its efforts to help the people of Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
“The people of Ukraine have shown incredible strength and determination in the face of this invasion,” said Unifor National Secretary-Treasurer Lana Payne. “The grace and resolve of the Ukrainian people have been an inspiration to the world, and we must respond to that. The world must come together and show solidarity and support.”
The donation consists of $100,000 from the Social Justice Fund, $25,000 from the national union, $5,000 from Quebec Council and from each of the Atlantic, Ontario, Prairie and British Columbia regional councils.
“The SJF exists to help people lift up their lives and to fight those who would hold them down,” Unifor International Director Mohamad Alsadi said. “Helping the people of Ukraine at this time fits perfectly with that.”
Unifor will continue to assess the situation including additional solidarity with organizations working on the ground delivering humanitarian aid in the coming weeks.
Unifor locals and members are encouraged to show their own support for the people of Ukraine with a donation to the Red Cross by clicking here.
Black History Month
February 1, 2022
Black Canadians and their communities have been a part of shaping Canada’s heritage and identity since the arrival of Mathieu Da Costa, a navigator, and interpreter, whose presence in Canada dates back to the early 1600s.
The role of Black Canadians and their communities in Canada has largely been ignored as a key part of Canada’s history. There is little mention that some of the Loyalists who came here after the American Revolution and settled in the Maritimes were people of African descent, nor the fact that many soldiers of African descent made many sacrifices in wartime as far back as the War of 1812.
Few people in Canada are aware of the fact that African people were once enslaved in the territory that is now known as Canada, or of how those who fought enslavement helped to lay the foundation of Canada’s diverse and inclusive society.
Black History Month is a time to learn more about these Canadian stories and the many other important contributions that Black Canadians and their communities have made to the history and continued growth of this country.
The commemoration of Black History Month in North America dates back to 1926, when Harvard-educated African American historian Carter G. Woodson proposed setting aside a time devoted to honour the accomplishments of African Americans and to heighten awareness of Black history in the United States. This led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926. Celebrations of Black history began in Canada shortly thereafter. During the early 1970s, the week became known as Black History Week. It was expanded into Black History Month in 1976.
In December 1995, the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada following a motion introduced by the first African Canadian woman elected to Parliament, the Honourable Jean Augustine. The House of Commons carried the motion unanimously.
In February 2008, Senator Donald Oliver, the first Black man appointed to the Senate, introduced the Motion to Recognize Contributions of Black Canadians and February as Black History Month. It received unanimous approval and was adopted on March 4, 2008. The adoption of this motion completed Canada’s parliamentary position on Black History Month.
LOCAL 649 MIGRATES TO NEW WEB PAGE
December 31, 2021
As most of you will have noticed, we have moved over to a new platform for our webpage. As outlined in our local Presidents election platform this is one of the many new communication tools that will be coming to the local this next year. Please bear with us as the web experience is brought to life.
November 10, 2021
Since 1931, the Remembrance Day Ceremony has played a major role in the act of Remembrance. Every year, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we would gather in memorial parks, community halls, workplaces, schools, and our homes to stand in honour of all those who have fallen.
This year, as in last year, many of these events will not be taking place in person but most by a variety of on-line ceremonies.
We would encourage all members of Local 649 to observe a moment of silence on November 11th, to mark the sacrifices of the many who have fallen in the service of their country, and to acknowledge the courage of those who still serve.
The Act of Remembrance
They shall grow not old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The Local 649 Office will be closed Thursday, November 11th, 2021
ELECTIONS STATEMENT: PRESIDENT ELECT TREVOR DAVIES
September 16, 2021
REGINA – Trevor Davies was elected as UNIFOR 649’s new president, which took place September 1st, 2021.
“I am honoured that our members have entrusted me with the jurisdiction to lead and direct our diverse Union forward. And I will strive to make them proud of their choice by advancing our shared values with the collaborative vision of our members.” said Davies after the election results were announced. “I believe that working together, we can build up our local and work with organized labour across the province in advancing workers’ rights.”
Davies has been a union activist and outspoken advocate for workers for over 25 years, starting out as a steward in his workplace before going on to hold many roles in the union, including being a member of the local executive, provincial area council and various roles within the regional council. He comes from UNIFOR 649’s SaskEnergy Field Sector and has served the last year as an executive board member.
“As a union representing 1400 members across this province in the crown utilities sector, I believe we need to bridge our divides so we can come together with a common voice in advocating for crown sector workers,” said Davies. “UNIFOR 649 has in the past been a proactive union, and I’d like to let this government know that we are ready to stand up for crown sector workers and fight for longstanding issues that are important to our members.”
UNIFOR 649 represents approximately 1400 members at SaskEnergy, SaskPower, Westmoreland Coal & TSASK who provide services to Saskatchewan people in the Crown, Energy & Regulatory sectors.