OTTAWA – Canada Post employees were to shift their rotating strikes Friday into Sudbury, Ont., and Saint John, N.B., just after midnight.The job action followed walkouts Thursday in Sherbrooke, Que., Calgary, Red Deer, Alta., and Kelowna, B.C., that were all to end after one day.Nearly 9,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers walked out earlier this week in the Greater Toronto Area as part of rotating strikes to back contract demands.The job action at the giant gateway parcel facility in Mississauga, Ont., which processes roughly two-thirds of all parcels mailed in Canada, and the south central mail plant in the Toronto’s east end, forced delays in shipments of tens of thousands of letters and parcels across the country.Toronto area postal workers were back at work as of midnight Thursday after two days off the job, CUPW said.“Our members would rather be doing their jobs than walking the picket line, but Canada Post has left us no choice,” Mike Palecek, the union’s national president, said in a statement.“Canada Post needs to come to the bargaining table ready to talk about the issues that matter — health and safety, equality for (rural and suburban mail carriers) and an end to precarious work.”CUPW and the postal service have been unable to reach new collective agreements for the two bargaining units in 10 months of negotiations.Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has appointed special mediator Morton Mitchnick, a former chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, to help the two parties resolve their contract differences.In a statement Wednesday evening, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the Crown corporation has made “significant offers” to CUPW —which include increased wages, job security and improved benefits — and has not asked for any concessions in return.He said Canada Post is working to restore service and eliminate any mail and parcel backlogs.“Canada Post continues to operate across the rest of Canada and is accepting and delivering mail and parcels in all other locations,” Hamilton said.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously said the walkout was being staged in Fundy, N.B.
HALIFAX — A Gord Downie tribute sculpture has been unveiled at Halifax City Hall, in a room that aims to foster conversations about Indigenous history and reconciliation.The sculpture was created by artist Al Hattie using recycled metals that emulate a microphone stand and Downie’s signature hat, complete with feathers.On a wall behind the sculpture — titled “The Last Show” — is the shadowy profile of the Tragically Hip frontman.The piece is situated in city hall’s Legacy Space, the first municipal building in Canada with a room dedicated to reconciliation.The concept of legacy rooms is the brainchild of Assembly of First Nations regional Chief Morley Googoo, and he worked with Downie to make it a reality before his 2017 death.Googoo, who represents Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, says the sculpture allows the public to participate in reconciliation.“The art and the beauty of this statue is actually having Canadians step up and do something. The call is being answered in such a beautiful way with this statue,” said Googoo after the unveiling.“Change is happening. People are hearing the story. People are being moved and trying to created a new narrative with beautiful things, and the statue unveiled today is absolutely beautiful and will hopefully get more people talking.”The legacy spaces initiative is part of the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, which honours the 12-year-old Wenjack, who died in 1966 after running away from a residential school near Kenora, Ont.“(The) program is an opportunity for corporations, government, organizations and educational institutions to play an important role in their communities,” the fund’s website says.“They also serve as symbols and reminders for employees, clients, students and guests of the important work each of us needs to do if the promises of this country are to be fulfilled.”There are several legacy rooms in the Halifax area, and a number of others across the country.Downie died in October 2017 of brain cancer, but spent his final years raising awareness about Canada’s dark history of residential schools through the story of Wenjack.The plight of the 12-year-old Anishinaabe boy inspired Downie’s “Secret Path” multimedia project.The Canadian government launched the residential school system in the 19th century.Over decades, about 150,000 Indigenous children were removed from their homes and sent to religious boarding schools.Away from their families and culture, many students lived in horrific conditions and endured severe abuse. The impact of residential schools continues to be felt today.Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press read more
The series will still air here, as promised, in two-hour chunks, four consecutive Sunday nights at 9 on History, starting April 10.Down south, the controversy continues. There’s a reason, production costs and tax incentives aside, that both of these much-contested efforts came all the way up to Canada to shoot (The Kennedys here; The Reagans in Montreal). In 2003, the CBS network was pressured into dropping their already shot and scheduled TV movie, The Reagans, by pre-emptively outraged historians, prominent conservatives and Reagan friends and family. It ended up airing, without further incident, on the cable channel Showtime.History repeated itself when Discovery History (not related to our own History Television) decided to drop its own eight-hour miniseries, The Kennedys, sending its producers scrambling unsuccessfully from network to network, until they found it a new U.S. home on the obscure movie service ReelzChannel. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Americans take their dead presidents very seriously, particularly in terms of how they are portrayed on TV.Living fictional presidents are fine: Martin Sheen on West Wing, Geena Davis in Commander in Chief, Dennis Haysbert and Cherry Jones on 24.But the martyred John F. Kennedy, and before him, the dying Ronald Reagan — venture there at your peril. Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With: Twitter read more
Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, August 19, 2017 – Nassau – There is not enough money in the kitty to pay Police what they were owed in overtime pay; a $5.6M bill which was won at court and one that is now delayed says the #PoliceStaffAssociation. A leaked text message exposed that the funds will be late and there is no date put on when that back pay from 2013 and 2014 will be paid to the officers.The National Security Minister, Marvin Dames reportedly delivered the news, which was leaked and said, “Good evening members of the Police Staff Association. I would like to inform you that after speaking with our minister of national security it is confirmed that as hard as he was pushing to have us paid (the) next portion of our overtime money for the end of August, it won’t happen.”The text went on to say, “He has assured us that they are honouring the court ruling and by September payday, we should be getting something. With that said, again I say thank you to the hardworking officers who continue to make this our beloved country safe. If there is any concerns or suggestions, please feel free to contact Sgt Sonny Miller.” Sgt Miller later confirmed the text was legit.There are 1,799 police entitled to that back pay for overtime work.#MagneticMediaNews Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #PoliceStaffAssociation read more
From cultural performances to traditional artefacts, from foot-tapping bhangra to sumptuous food, a three-day Punjabi festival here will celebrate the true spirit of Baisakh.Being organised by the Punjabi Academy and the department of art, culture and languages, Baisakhi Mela will replicate the typical setting of a vibrant Punjabi village and different facets of it will be displayed at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) from April 10-12. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’“If you live in Delhi, you live in the midst of a thriving Punjabi community. The Punjabi food and culture is bound to touch you in many ways. However, the urban shift in the capital means we never get a glimpse of a true Punjabi setting,” said Jawahar Dhawan, secretary of the Punjabi Academy.“Through this festival we are trying to recreate every aspect of Punjabi life and present beautiful forms of this culture to the people,” he added.Singers like Harshdeep, Hardy Sandhu, Ami Virk, Shipra Goyal and Vatsala Mehra will light up cultural evenings with sufi and folk music. read more
8 min read By Naomi GrossmanIt was the yak herders in China who inspired Steve Holt to start his own business.But it was the installation of a completely new IT system based around SAP Business One that enabled Yak Pak to become the company he always envisioned.Today, the maker of backpacks, messenger bags, handbags, and other luggage is on track to hit $50 million in retail sales this year — while relocating its warehouse from an expensive, cramped location in Brooklyn, N.Y.; building a Web site that could quickly process orders; growing sales without adding costs; and outsourcing manufacturing and some sales to lower expenses.An IT System That Needed to Be FixedBefore, “technology was always working against us,” says Holt, CEO of Yak Pak. “We had dreams, but we couldn’t fulfill them.” A series of meetings five years ago between Yak Pak’s IT group and management — which then consisted of Holt, CFO Rolando Cohen, and COO Richard Haugen — made it clear that changes had to be made. “We talked about the fact that we weren’t moving a system forward, we were keeping a jalopy moving,” Haugen remembers.Information technology was the last thing on Holt’s mind in 1988 when as a junior in college on a year abroad in China, he plunked down $4,000 with a manufacturing company there to make 400 bags. The bags were eventually shipped to Holt’s dorm room, and his then roommate, Rolando Cohen, realized his friend might be onto something. By the time the two graduated from Georgetown University in 1989 and moved to New York, Cohen had convinced Holt to take him on as a partner. “Neither of us had any experience, so it was a hands-on learning experience,” Holt says.Through trade shows and sales calls on store after store, by 1995 the company was doing $1.6 million in sales and had hired some 14 employees. It was all running on a FoxPro-based accounting system, AMAS, which was initially all Yak Pak needed.”It did the job we asked it to do very well,” says Haugen. But, as the company grew, it became “quickly apparent that the systems we were on wouldn’t take us where we wanted to be.”Executives found it difficult to drill down and get reports to see what was selling and where. “We couldn’t get information to make decisions,” says Holt. “Who’s buying it? What’s selling? Frequency of orders?”Moreover, any reports that they did get cost thousands of dollars because they had to be customized. “It had a crummy warehouse model, accounting system, and nothing was integrated,” complains Holt. “Haugen had clever patches, but it was still a Rube Goldberg system.”For example, it took salespeople 40 minutes to manually enter each order and the system couldn’t handle all “ship to” locations for the new customers they were landing. The Web site was running on Microsoft Commerce Server and as the company’s Internet retail business grew, the system couldn’t keep up. The EDI requirements of major retailers were cumbersome to manage, and the need to constantly move data from one system to another was time-consuming.There was also no possibility of operating remotely, forcing the warehouse to remain in an old facility in an expensive section of Brooklyn. Similarly, as the company’s sales improved, the cost of adding sales and customer service people became increasingly burdensome because of the company’s New York City location. Also, the inability to outsource meant that small customers were being allocated the same resources as much larger ones. It was clear changes needed to be made. In desperation, Haugen called SAP. “I called the guy big guys use, and asked for something for a small guy.”Finally, SAP for Smaller BusinessesHaugen was initially told that SAP’s smallest customer did $200 million in sales, but the woman he spoke to said that she heard “something was coming up that’ll be for us.” She was right. SAP was just coming out with its SAP Business One for smaller businesses and through SAP consultant, RSM McGladry, Yak Pak became one of the product’s early adopters.Ultimately, the company’s IT investment — which was “well under $500,000″ according to Haugen — involved deploying the full SAP Business One business management integration package. Haugen noted that he relied heavily on the SAP consultants, who encouraged Yak Pak to view SAP as a platform on which to integrate other products. He did.”When we put in a system, we first analyzed all our business processes, and that saved us time and money,” Haugen explains. “We also were willing to change our business processes, the order approval process. We streamlined and changed reports around. We really stripped out everything. It was like ripping out the engine and transmission while driving. It was a lot of work.” But Haugen is convinced the effort was well worth it. “We saw a return on our investment within 11 months,” he crows. Annual estimated savings with the new system run approximately $300,000.Seamless IntegrationThe platform helped Yak Pak achieve “seamless integration” between its back end and its Web site, says Haugen. Among the applications integrated with Business One are CitiXsys Credit Card Module for credit card functionality, Altec Doc-link for document management, and Accellos Radio Beacon WMS for supply chain management.Perhaps most significantly, the new system gave the company geographical independence. Yak Pak immediately moved its warehouse to a less expensive, more modern facility in Houston, Texas. As a bonus, the warehouse is now closer to El Salvador, where the company had begun to do some manufacturing. “We were the largest air freighter from El Salvador to New York,” says Holt. “Now we ship from El Salvador to Texas and we save nearly $3,000 a week.”At the new Houston warehouse, Radio Beacon enables wireless warehouse management, and a much more efficient process was put into place so that an employee can scan a symbol on a box, confirm its quantity, print out a label, and, at the same time, create a “route” in the warehouse to easily direct others to that box. The box can be marked as shipped and delivery notes are automatically created in Business One. . “Before [our system] was WIFF, What I Find First, says Haugen.The system has reduced “mis-picks” in the warehouse by 70 percent. “Now when a customer calls we can say which box number and what is supposed to be in the box,” says Haugen, all on the phone in real time. The “ship-complete” ratio went to 98 percent from the mid 80s, he adds, and EDI requirements can now be easily fulfilled because the compliance labels are built into the system. Web customer service costs have fallen by 60 percent with one position completely eliminated. “We have a level of automation and technology that a lot of companies our size don’t have,” notes Haugen.Yak Pak integrated SAP Business One Web tools, a Web-based e-Commerce and CRM platform for SAP Business One, into the platform so that users would have to enter information only once and the data be seen among all the systems. “Everyone looks at the same set of data,” notes Haugen. “When we invoice we can settle credit card transactions in one process,” he adds. “It saves us time and effort. We used to have two people who just processed credit card orders. One was looking up transactions wile the other was going in and closing out invoices. Now it’s all automated. The receptionist just invoices the orders.”Saving On StaffingThe system also let Yak Pak put a sales and administrative office in El Salvador, where staffing is much less expensive. “Before, the thought of opening a bilingual office in another country was unthinkable,” says Holt. “It opened up the world to us.”The new system has dramatically affected the company’s staffing needs. “We have [20 percent] fewer people in accounting now than five years ago,” says Haugen, and warehouse headcount has plunged 22 percent. “It enabled us to detach growth in the sales office from the back office,” says Haugen. “A lot of small to midsize businesses have that problem when their administrative costs grow with the front office. We don’t have to add department costs when we add salespeople,” and sales reps now have 30 percent more time to sell.The office in El Salvador employs 24 sales people and a dozen analysts, designers, and producers. Salaries in El Salvador are a third of their New York equivalents, and Holt says the “quality of work exceeded the expectations,” partly due to Yak Pak’s integrated database. “In our database, [salespeople] can see where a store is located. They can see the store is located near a park. They can check the [local] newspaper to see [stories] about the store. They can see the high school football team is playing in a game. They can use that in a sales pitch and offer customized orders in the high school football colors,” Holt says, adding that “this is a Salvadorian person speaking in English to this person.””When I talk to other people in leadership positions, technology is never seen as a positive tool,” says Holt. “Others look at IT as being cost centers. We see it as an investment that paid itself off in a year. We could grow to three times our size and not need to change anything about our infrastructure.”Naomi Grossman is assistant editor of bMighty.com. 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