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Local 1769 and the Federal Election Part I
October 10, 2008 - 12:32am EST
Local 1769 and the Federal Election

I would like to thank everyone for coming out today.
The purpose of this meeting today is to go over this local’s position on the upcoming federal elections.

When I first started in the union – wasn’t convinced of unions in politics.
Being responsible for the members in my plant was where I thought the line was drawn.
But as I became more involved, and then ultimately took the position of President, I was now responsible for not just the members of my work place, but also of several other workplaces.

I then started to realize that belonging to union, this union, was more than just representing workers in the work place.

To truly make gains for our members we must see things outside the scope of the work place
-as a member of the union for almost 12 years,
-As a chair person and a steward for 8 years
-As an executive board member for 10 years
-And as president for the last year and a half, I am very proud of the many things that Local 1769 and its members have accomplished.

We have raised over $39,000 for children with cancer and the Kingsville youth association in the last 6 years at the polar bear dip.
We have raised almost $50,000 for the united way, all through your contributions since 2004.

When our members are sick, or have passed on, our members, without influence from our companies or the union, have come together collectively to raise money for them and their families.

In 2001, when LDM was going to close its doors, we held job fairs, and worked hard to find our members employment.
I watched members at ElringKlinger, when it was Versatech about to walk off the job, because the company brought in temps to sort our bolts, which resulted in the removal of all the temps and kept good paying jobs for our members.
I watched Plastech have a wild cat strike against Fords, and as a result won a severance package, and retirement allowance that they wouldn’t have otherwise received.

As Plastech has now closed we have established an action centre that our members run, trying hard to find work for all the members who have lost their job.

These are all examples of how as a union we have benefited ourselves as well as our community through our actions.
This is what makes us a social union.
Why should we involve ourselves in the upcoming federal election?

We must look at the effects our current gov. has had on our Local, our, friends, and our families.

We are a social union – and as such our responsibility shouldn’t stop at the table. Fighting for workers rights and the right to work is something that should carry over into the community and is something that all people should believe in, not just union activists.

We pay taxes to have a government run our country in the best interests of it population, but whose interests do they have in mind?
We want MP’s that will voice our concerns in parliament, not MP’s that will voice parliament’s agenda to our communities.

KUS closed their doors Oct. /05

This had nothing to do with the union; they had been unionized for many years. Our current economy then drove them to Mexico, the company outright told us that.

Plastech closed their doors May/08 with only given 2 weeks’ notice of closure.
The government didn’t step forward to help. The mayor of Leamington, Mr. John Adams, appealed both to the government and to Plastech to keep the work in Leamington. Again, no help.

I did a press conference with Ken Lewenza in Aug, and we proposed that the government allow for employees who are out of work due to bankruptcy to be considered the first among secured creditors, so they may receive the money owed to them because right now, we aren’t even considered a secure creditor.

Dave van Kesteren responded to the media that he believes the banks and corporations have the right to the money before employees do, Banks and corporations that received $3 Billion in tax breaks. Conservatives believe that the banks should be paid prior to employees. Why? Are we scared to actually make the banks more competitive?
$3 Billion dollars in tax breaks to banks and corporations, but no to severance and in lieu of notice, owed to the workers who put their money in the banks.
And when companies do go under, and the lucky few who actually get a severance cheque, why do they have to wait to collect their unemployment until they have used every dime of their severance?

We have all paid for EI… that is our money… we paid for it.

There is a $54 million dollar surplus in EI that the conservative government has spent on god knows what… but we have to wait to use it because we were paid (if you’re lucky) severance (money paid to compensate you for your years of service)

Like I said earlier, we need an MP who will take our concerns, and represent our communities in parliament, and not represent parliament in our communities.
I believe when companies start up in the first place, they should have a fund in place to protect workers from bankruptcy.

ElringKlinger is experiencing slowdowns in the market resulting in short work weeks (we haven’t even used up our strike bank).

We need changes to the EI system to allow for work sharing applications when the employees need it, not at the convenience of a company who isn’t willing to participate.
Peterson Springs – is making gains, but it comes at a price. Its sister plant in Windsor is closing its doors, and if we hadn’t negotiated an early status quo agreement, then the Kingsville plant would be closing as well. I have heard it argued that the CAW is to blame for all of these job losses.

This region has the highest unemployment rate it has ever seen – 10.2%
Do you really believe that 10.2% is all CAW shops? Not even close.

 
   
 
 
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Last Updated: October 9, 2008 11:42:44 PM