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Oshawa’s Future at Play in Talks with General Motors



For auto workers in Oshawa, it’s do-or-die time.

In a city that was once synonymous with General Motors, there’s no promise of any future auto assembly work beyond 2019, so there are real fears production could shut down altogether.

That’s why Unifor, formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union, has threatened to strike at midnight next Monday, unless it wins a commitment from the company for more future work in Oshawa.

“If we don’t nail it now, we’re not going to nail it done, ever,” said Jerry Dias, the union’s national president. “If they are planning on closing Oshawa, then we’re going to have a strike.”

GM officials have long insisted that it won’t talk about new products in Canada until a collective agreement is signed first.

That’s why the union picked General Motors over Ford or Fiat Chrysler as its target to negotiate a contract that will hopefully set a pattern for the other two automakers.

Dias concedes choosing Ford or Fiat Chrysler would have been an easier path, but that’s not his style or his union’s style.

“If there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room, you might as well deal with the friggin’ gorilla. That’s what General Motors is,” said Dias in an interview on Tuesday, noting that a week after naming GM as the target company, there have been no discussions on the union’s main demand.

“We haven’t talked about product yet – they know they are going to have come clean realistically,” he said.

“We are prepared to fight to preserve the industry,” Dias said, pointing to the 97 per cent strike vote of its 6,600 members at GM. “But I am convinced we’re going to get a deal – the only question is when. I really hope we get it before the 19th.”

The union’s four-year contracts with the Big Three automakers expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 19, and that midnight deadline is fixed.

GM declined to comment on the talks, referring to an earlier statement issued when the company was named the target. “At GM Canada we remain focused on working with Unifor to reach a mutually beneficial and competitive new agreement,” the statement said.

Kristin Dziczek, director of research at the independent Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the union’s effort to secure a product commitment should be top of the agenda.

“They have chosen the right battle,” she said. “Product has become the new job security – because if you have a product that sells well, then that’s guaranteed work.”

But Dziczek said it will be a difficult negotiation for the union, because the automakers have been doing well financially, setting record profits.

GM reported nearly $10 billion (U.S.) in profits last year and $4.8 billion (U.S.) in the first half this year.

“They are not going to be taking to the membership an agreement that says, ‘we gave up x, y or z,’” to get product commitments, she said, although GM will likely be pushing for changes to a hybrid pension for new hires and profit-sharing, both non-starters for the union.

Though Unifor has staked a new vehicle production in Oshawa as its line in the sand, Dziczek doesn’t see anything that could go immediately to Oshawa, which has two production lines, given most vehicles are already assigned.

“There are no products hanging out there looking for a home,” she said.

In recent years, GM has closed the truck assembly plant in Oshawa and moved Camaro production to Michigan, so what’s left is limited production of the Chevy Equinox and less popular vehicles like the Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS and the Chevy Impala.

Even though some analysts have speculated about GM pulling out of Canada altogether, Dziczek doesn’t see that, especially since its CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, whose workers are covered by a separate collective agreement, is in high-gear, running three shifts.

“I don’t think they would pull out completely. There is nothing indicating that this is a pullout round of talks,” she said.

John Holmes, an emeritus professor of geography at Queen’s University, said the union’s strategy to make GM its target is to win government support.

“I do think this is a very important round of negotiations for Canada – there is a lot at stake – including GM’s future in Canada,” he said.

“But I wonder the degree to which the union is making commitments of new products such a central issue . . . whether this is part of the union’s strategy trying to get jobs on the political agenda for the provincial government and the federal government,” said Holmes, who studies the North American auto industry.

Dias acknowledges that the stars appear to be aligning now, given that both Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understand the importance of auto manufacturing to the Canadian economy.

“They get it. They are not foolish,” he said, adding that the Stephen Harper government was resistant to investment. “This whole thing about taxpayers’ money going for profitable companies . . . I understand the argument.

“But these companies have options. So we can be puritans, and be holier than thou and not have any jobs. Then we would be fools. There would be no tax base,” Dias said, noting other jurisdictions including Mexico are wooing car companies.

If GM’s auto workers walk off the job next week, the union could immediately impact production at the CAMI plant, due to engines and transmissions built in St. Catharines, he said.

Those parts also go to nine U.S. assembly plants including ones that build the large SUVs that are selling well.

Dias travelled to Michigan last weekend to meet with Dennis Williams, president of the United Auto Workers, who has promised support, though he hasn’t specified what it might be.

Dias said before the UAW headed into its last round of negotiations, he spoke at the union’s convention, pledging Unifor’s support.

“I pledged to the convention if there was a dispute in the United States, we wouldn’t do one thing in Canada to undermine what they were doing,” Dias said. “We wouldn’t beef up production with the engine plant, we wouldn’t do anything.”

And if push comes to shove, Dias said: “Dennis will do the exact same thing,” adding “he’s an incredible trade unionist and personal friend.”

But Unifor is still hoping it won’t come to that.

“I understand that we have power – but the last thing in the world I want to do is use it. Any fool can fight,” Dias said. “It doesn’t take a genius to have a fight . . . it takes real brains to find a solution.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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