Tag Archive: Canada


Guest Blog also posted in the Huffington Post.

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak’s recent white paper, “Flexible Labour Markets,” has been the centre of much controversy and debate.

Hudak trumps up a lot of nonsense and feigned concern about union democracy and transparency, but in the end offers little more than selfish individualism in opposition. That his hostility towards the union principles of social cooperation and compromise for the greater good puts him at odds with the basis of Canadian democracy — from elections to tax collection — appears to be lost on him.

However, the depth of his hypocrisy is perhaps best illustrated by his total lack of concern for fairness and transparency when it comes to his corporate backers. According to a recent study of Ontario elections, between 2004 and 2011, over 40 per cent of Progressive Conservatives’ funds ($26 million) came from corporations.

By contrast, the New Democratic Party received a paltry $666,000 from corporations. Overall, corporate contributions comprised nearly 40 per cent of all election financing while union contributions made up a mere five per cent. And in a testament to the extent of internal democracy within the labour movement, it is worth noting that unions donated money to parties of all political stripes, including a handful who pitched in to the Progressive Conservatives.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Below and attached is a detailed background document providing analysis of Tim Hudak’s recent white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” Hudak’s paper poses a threat to the livelihoods of all working people by proposing to eliminate workers’ right to collectively bargain and by driving wages down across the board.

Please circulate the attached analysis to your members so they can challenge Hudak’s arguments in the workplace, in their communities, and in the media.

In solidarity,

Sid Ryan

President of the Ontario Federation of Labour

====================================================================

OFL BACKGROUNDER

Tim Hudak’s White Paper on Flexible Labour Markets

Published on July 16, 2012Courtesty of TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

In June 2012, Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak opened up a new attack on labour unions and working people with his release of his white paper on “Flexible Labour Markets.” The paper lays out the Tories’ new platform on workers’ rights and unveils an economic scheme for the province that is centered on reduced public services and cheap labour. Blindly aligning their interests with those of profit-hungry corporations, the Tories fault unions for the province’s economic difficulties while offering no plan for creating new jobs, revitalizing the manufacturing sector or securing greater corporate investments in the provincial economy. They propose to bring Wisconsin-style laws to Ontario that would eliminate the rights of workers to collectively bargain and drive wages down for all workers. Hudak’s proposal is a plan for poverty, not prosperity, and it requires strong opposition from workers from every sector, whether union or non-union.

Flexible Labour Means Cheap labour

Throughout the white paper, Hudak laments the wages and benefits secured by workers in Ontario’s manufacturing sector and blames the workers for expecting to maintain middle-class wages to support their families. For Hudak, “prosperity” means turning Ontario into a low-wage, regulation-free haven where corporations rake in profit at the expense of Ontario workers, communities and the environment. “Flexible labour” means cheap labour.

In this respect, Hudak differs little from his federal counterpart Stephen Harper, who, as Prime Minister, has presided over an expanded Temporary Foreign Worker Program, allowing employers greater leeway to import people from all over the world with precious little obligation for their well-being. When the work is done, or if the worker is maimed on the job, they are literally disposed of—sent back to their home countries with nary a thought. Most recently, the Harper government gave employers the green light to pay migrant workers between 5 and 15 percent less than the average wage for that occupation

Continue reading

Staples Disease

A great article appeared today from Mel who explains, why are staples export is so wrong. Canada has never gotten it right, to develop our nation properly.

Resource Trap is a Canadian Disease
by Mel Watkins

http://www.straightgoods.ca/2012/ViewArticle.cfm?Ref=553

#DearLaureen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

#DearLaureen Harper,

​Citizens for Social Justice would like to thank you for taking the time to visit the City of Oshawa and recognizing the plight of homeless youth in our community. While you’re in town to attend a fundraiser for The Refuge, a homeless youth drop-in centre, we’d like to offer some practical policy proposals to combat poverty and homelessness.
​We’ve been told you are bringing a couple of neck-ties belonging to your husband and Minister Baird for auction at the fundraiser. With skyrocketing youth unemployment, good jobs leaving our community, and a lack of youth shelters and affordable housing, we think it’s going to take more than a couple of neck-ties to address the problems of youth poverty and homelessness.
​In return for the neck-ties, we’d like to offer you some practical poverty reduction strategies to bring back to Ottawa:
1) Create a comprehensive national housing strategy to bring good, affordable housing to our community;
2) Ensure all homeless youth have access to social services regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender;
3) Increase funding for addiction and mental health services;
4) Implement a job creation strategy to bring back good paying jobs to our community; and
5) Re-open the Youth Employment Centres that were recently cut in the federal budget.
Again, we’d like to thank you for recognizing the need to address youth homelessness in our community. Now, it’s time for this government to make poverty reduction and youth homelessness a priority through social policy at the federal level. We need less neck-ties and more action.

Sincerely,
Citizens for Social Justice:

For Labour and community groups:

We want to initiate a twitter/Facebook campaign to coincide with this press release. We would like to use the hashtag #DearLaureen and use it to offer poverty reduction solutions one tweet at a time. Please spread this widely to your network of social justice, labour, and poverty reduction activists and ask them to post a tweet with the hashtag “#DearLaureen”!
Here are some examples:
#DearLaureen, while neck-ties are nice a National Housing Strategy would be better.
#DearLaureen, neck-ties may raise some money but re-opening Youth Employment Centres reduces youth poverty.
#DearLaureen, neck-ties don’t put youth to work or create jobs.
#DearLaureen, tell Steve to keep the neck-tie – our community needs mental health and addiction counselling.
#DearLaureen, please ask your husband to create a REAL job creation strategy!

A New Year a New Class

Today the Canadian Labour Congress Ontario summer school kicked off. Many important course’s are underway to build and renew the labour movement in Canada. The participates have come from all around the province and are settled in to the Family Educational center in Port Elgin.

I have the great opportunity to deliver a course in labour technology and website building. Many trade union activist have for years relied on many forms of union communications (i.e posters, face-to-face meets and union newsletters) however this week we are going to spend our time on another form of union organizing, mobilizing members and educating the greater public with the use of web 2.0 tools. The increase in  smart phone technology and ‘soapbox’ options of transforming the message often not heard or seen in most media outlets today opens opportunity’s for labour to reach out.

In fact as brother Derek Blackadder wrote in the June/July Our Times magazine

Canadians now spend more time online than watching TV. Does your unions communications strategy reflect that? We have far more access to the web in getting out our message than we ever had to TV –

Well this week we hope to harness the tools available to our movement to create the better world that is possible.  Our workshop is focused on the content management system of weebly. A simple drop menu of widgets and elements in a system that new users can quickly pick up, get creative and quickly get their word out on the campaigns and struggles their members and workers around the world are currently facing.

As we build, develop and host discussion of broader communications using the web, I’m sure the unions who have invested in labour education will have a greater equipped activist in their member ranks at the end of this week.  Stay tuned for what’s to come.

Again, I want to thank those who have supported building and supporting the work needed in order to bring this program to our members and our movement.