Federation of Labour Presidents Demand Action on Job Losses

August 6, 2010

On August 6, Canada’s Federation of Labour Presidents wrapped up three days of meetings in Winnipeg by demanding action from provincial and federal governments to stop the job loss hemorrhage. Statistics Canada reported when the meetings were in progress that in July, 139,000 full-time jobs had been converted to either part-time jobs or they simply disappeared, resulting in a net loss of 9,300 jobs.

MFL President Kevin Rebeck

Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck (right) said this underscores the message the Federation Presidents have been repeating to Canada’s Premiers while they, too, met in Winnipeg.

“The economic crisis is clearly not over in this country and failure to take effective action would be irresponsible. Governments need to continue their stimulus spending programs since its obvious the private sector can’t stop the slide into recession by itself.”

Some of the social action group representatives who were at the rally

As one way to help get labour’s message across to Canada’s political leaders, the Federation of Labour presidents and Canadian Labour Congress President Ken Georgetti led a rally outside the Winnipeg hotel where the premiers were meeting. In addition to labour leaders, the rally was attended by various other social activists groups (above). In his comments to the rally, MFL President Kevin Rebeck included reference to the pension problems facing Canadians.

Media cameras at the rally

“Canada’s current retirement system is simply not up to the task anymore. Too many Canadians are faced with either not enough money for a retirement with dignity, or no retirement at all because they can’t afford to leave paid employment.

“One third of Canadians are without a workplace pension plan. And more employers are shifting from a defined predictable pension plan to a riskier defined contribution plan. The changes we need are threefold.

 Alana Mackinson speaking at rally
Alana Mackinson, Provincial Chairperson for the Canadian Federation of Students, was among those who spoke at the rally

“First, a federal system of pension insurance. Second, changes to federal bankruptcy laws that put workers interests first, protecting their deferred wages. And third, a doubling of the Canadian pension plan benefits, and an increase to old age security to ensure all Canadians can retire with dignity.”

At the conclusion of the meetings, the Federation presidents delivered a joint statement on the economy and thevneed for job creation to officials close to the Premiers’ meeting in which they lay out a multistep plan to make economic recovery more attainable.

Rebeck said, “Now is not the time for government to abandon their efforts to stimulate the economy in the wake of the 2008 collapse and shift their attention to deficit reduction. They can’t abandon working families and let the job losses continue. We need to create productive jobs, not let them disappear.

“The statement that is on its way to the Premiers contains many good ideas on stabilizing the economy and making sure that working people are part of a recovery and are partners in creating more, desperately needed jobs. I hope the Premiers take this outline to heart.”