CUPW Perspective (September 2015)

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Thursday September 10 2015
Volume 43, Number 1, September 2015

CUPW Perspective (September 2015)HEAVE STEVE

This year we vote for a better future for working people

It couldn’t be more clear: how we vote in the 2015 federal election will express how we want workers to be treated in this country.

So how have we been treated by the current federal government? The Conservative Party assault on our rights and hard-won benefits is like never before. The government’s record speaks for itself:

  • The Conservatives have legislated workers back-to-work more than any government in history. In 2011, the federal government sided with Canada Post by passing back-to-work legislation that eliminated our right to free collective bargaining, including the right to strike.

  • It passed Bill C-525, which makes it harder to become unionized and easier to decertify unions.

  • It also passed Bill C-377, a bill that requires every union and every union local to file a detailed financial report annually for posting on a public website. This new legislation is a thinly disguised attack on unions. It’s designed to set the stage for workers to complain about their union dues being spent on particular activities. It is meant to undermine the automatic dues check off and the financial strength of unions to protect members.

  • The government has blocked the expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) even though there is an overwhelming consensus among provincial and territorial leaders, pensions experts, unions and other stakeholders that an expanded CPP is the most effective, efficient and affordable way to improve income security for retired workers. The government’s recent announcement that it will hold consultations on allowing voluntary individual contributions to the CPP is nothing but a cynical attempt to appear to be addressing the retirement income needs of Canadian workers.

  • It has threatened to convert defined benefit pension plans, which provide retired workers with a known amount of money, into much riskier target-benefit pension plans whose payments could fluctuate with economic factors.
  • The government oversaw the expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), which resulted in widespread abuse of foreign workers. It was forced to make changes to the TFWP but the modifications did not address the precarious and vulnerable conditions of migrant workers in Canada.
  • Harper’s Conservatives have made it extremely difficult for people to access Employment Insurance.
  • They have cut tens of thousands of public service jobs.
  • Youth unemployment has increased since the Conservatives took power in 2006. The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 was a horrendous 13.2% in May of this year. The official rate underestimates unemployment for this group, by not including young people who have given up their job search or gone back to school because they couldn’t find jobs.
  • The federal government also endorsed Canada Post’s five-point plan, which includes the destruction of 6000 to 8000 jobs, the elimination of home mail delivery, large postage rate hikes, the closure and downsizing of public post offices and the reduction of their hours of service.

In short, the Conservatives have been the most antiworker government in living memory.

What CUPW has been doing

We’re fighting on the postal front, for jobs and service. In rallies, public meetings, canvassing, conferences and other forums, we’re discussing the recent cuts and the future of public postal service and jobs with Canadians all across the country. The public is telling us that the cuts to postal service and jobs are an election issue.

Once a federal election is called, the union will inform members about federal party positions on the postal service cuts, postal banking, postal privatization and deregulation, child care and more. Watch for this material on our website (cupw.ca) and bulletin boards. Vote in the upcoming election, and volunteer to support a pro-worker candidate in your area. The future of Canadian workers will be shaped in this election.