Tag Archive: community


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.

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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

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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

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CAW calls on fishing crisis

QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 19 /CNW/ – The CAW is calling for immediate
intervention on the fishing crisis that has hit the Fraser River in British
Columbia.
This crisis comes after years of failed government policies on the
fishing sector which has devastated communities on both ends of the country,
said CAW National President Ken Lewenza.
“Thousands of workers could be out of a job as a result of the dramatic
drop in salmon in British Columbia this summer,” said Lewenza. “The economic
crisis has already had terrible consequences for the fishing industry which
was already faltering as a result of poor government policies and
unsustainable off-shore competition.”
As part of the union’s Constitutional Convention which has brought
together more than 1000 CAW members, staff and guests in Quebec City, the
union has passed an emergency resolution demanding government action on the
environmental, economic and social degradation which has occurred on both the
east and west coasts of the country.
“The federal and provincial governments on both coasts have neglected
this industry and the loss of approximately 9 million salmon should be a wake
up call to government and industry,” said CAW-FFAW President Earle McCurdy.
“On both coasts, the global economic recession has had a devastating impact on
fishing families and communities.”
The CAW represents approximately 2,500 fishery workers in British
Columbia (CAW-affiliated United Fish and Allied Workers Union-UFAWU) and
approximately 10,000 fish harvesters and 6,000 fish plant workers in
Newfoundland and Labrador (CAW-Fish, Food and Allied Workers-FFAW).
As part of the union’s emergency resolution, CAW leaders and members will
ramp up lobby efforts to all levels of government, including the applicable
provincial and federal departments.