By Lynne Fernandez
The above quote, by one of Swiss author Max Frisch’s characters, succinctly captures the inherent conflict between employers and workers. Employers want results; they want productivity, machine-perfect timing and energy for the lowest wage possible. Workers want a living wage, benefits, a pleasant workplace, some say over the work process. They want work/life balance so they can enjoy life after work and spend time with their families.
But in reality many work for less than a living wage in difficult circumstances. Even many union-protected new Canadian workers face challenges that seem impossible to the average Canadian. So much of the work they do is dirty, dangerous, demoralizing and exhausting. Working in hog or chicken processing plants, for example, is not only physically demanding, it assaults the spirit and breaks the heart. Continue reading
Filed under Labour, WorkLife
By Mareike Brunelli
On October 8th, over 60 women gathered at the Circle of Life Thunderbird House on Treaty One territory to share their views on municipal issues and address mayoral candidates. This forum was different than any of the many mayoral forums in the Winnipeg election, and is a model to learn from in future civic engagement efforts. Continue reading
By Kirsten Bernas and Lynne Fernandez
As of October 1st, minimum wage earners in Manitoba will earn $10.70 per hour – just over $20,800 annually. This leaves a family of four, with both parents working, with an income that is more than $1,500 below the poverty line. Single parent families are worse off with incomes more than $8,000 short. It is widely agreed that a job can be the best pathway out of poverty. But this is only true if wages meet basic needs. Continue reading
University of Manitoba professor Patricia Martens has one more mission as an epidemiologist as she confronts her final days with a terminal disease. She wants the government to stop aiding and abetting the lethal trade in asbestos.
Martens is a prominent and distinguished research scientist in the university’s faculty of medicine. She received the Order of Canada in 2013 for her advancement of population health research and for her contributions to health policy in Manitoba. Her CV is more than 140 pages long, encapsulating a remarkable professional career. Continue reading