CAW National President Ken Lewenza Addresses CAW Council

Toronto, Ontario

December 7, 2012


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CAW National President Ken Lewenza Addressees CAW Council
December 7, 2012






Toronto, Ontario
December 7, 2012


Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

"One thing we do in the CAW is we engage. And that's what makes our union different. When I came in here at eight o'clock this morning to greet the delegates, I was greeted with enthusiasm. This CAW family and those that are not here today, is what inspires us day in and day out.

Since our last convention where you gave us the unanimous approval to continue the negotiations with CEP and make it a reality, that we strengthen our union, that we strengthen our commitment to our membership, that we strengthen our commitment to economic and social justice. This isn't about isolation, it's about inclusiveness. It's about building a union and strengthening our desire, and defending the interests of our members, but then we get out there not with words but with activism. With the confidence that if you fight you win.

The CEP/CAW discussion will give us more tools, it will give us more ability, and it will give us the real opportunity based on our presence in community after community, after community in this country to build a labour movement that we can be proud of.

I just want to talk about Bill C-377 for a minute. We've talked about it over and over and over, and Brothers and Sisters, the talking is over. They are interfering in the business of the union, and they're interfering in the business of the union because they want to destroy the unions, they want to erode the strength of the labour movement. This isn't about union transparency, this isn't about union accountability, it's about building cynicism within our members against our union. It's about a government monitoring the work of the union; it's about the government limiting our ability to defend the interests of our members. It's about ultimately getting rid of the RAND formula in our country and destroying unions like other countries have done under Thatcher and others.

Why is it that public sector workers are under attack? Why are their wages under attack? Why are their pensions under attack? Why is everything that they fought for and generations fought for under attack? Because governments are using austerity programs to attack things that they won. Brothers and Sisters let's not think in isolation of wages, benefits and pensions, let's think about the public services that they provide through our tax structure. So we have to have a tax structure that supports infrastructure that supports transit that supports the reality that hospitals need to be refurbished, that educational facilities need to be refurbished, that money has to be spent on these incredible social institutions to make sure they are around for the next generation.

So the best thing we can do as a nation, not as local unions, is to invest in our transit, invest in our infrastructure. We should have more people taking Via Rail, we should have more people again transporting through CP and CN. These are the folks that provide good public services for us, they need our support, and they need to know it's not just about them in isolation. It's about what kind of a nation we want, what kind of environment do we want for our kids for our future? What kinds of modes of transportation do we want moving forward?

This is what bonds us from one end of the country to the other; this is what bonds us from one end of the community to the other. These are the folks that when you are in a healthcare facility relying on the services that you provide, that we need for our friends, for our grandparents, our children, our own members of our union. These are the folks working in the education system trying to provide build confidence and build an education system that is second to none. We want a fair standard of living; we want a share in the success of the taxes paid by Canadians and the interest. We want a fair taxation policy that builds our nation.

Brothers and Sisters, all of us in this council today want to recognize our public sector workers, whether it's healthcare, whether it's education, whether it's transit, whether it's our rail system. Brothers and Sisters, these are the folks that bond the love that we have for our families, as a result of the care they provide. These are the folks that where we drop off our children that we expect them to have a safe educational experience that'll give them opportunities. These are the folks that get us from A to B, from one of the country to the other and the CAW salutes every one of you for your sacrifices in the interest of the services that you provide.

We are going to work together to fight for your services in the interests of Canadians. And we're going to continue to fight for free collective bargaining winning justice through the power of the union. Thank you Brothers and Sisters! "



CAW Making A Difference.


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