CAW Fighting for Canadian Jobs Rally
May 30, 2007
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May 30, 2007
In the early morning light of May 30 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the 'Job Loss Cemetery' appeared with tombstones representing 250,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2002. Despite efforts by the Prime Minister's office to have the graveyard removed the Canadian Auto Workers union members who erected the graveyard stood fast and the graveyard remained up for the demonstration later that day.
Meanwhile bus loads of CAW union activists flooded into Ottawa and assembled at the Ottawa Congress Center. CAW Council president Ken Lewenza greeted them.
CAW Council President
"I want to salute you for your determination, for your activism, for your volunteer spirit, for speaking up for the manufacturing sector, for speaking up for our jobs, our community and our future."
Marching through the streets of downtown Ottawa the CAW members delivered a clear message to the city demanding Jobs! Now!
CAW brothers and sisters from Qubec joined the march, which then filled the front lawn of Parliament Hill where they were greeted by Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress which organized the demonstration.
President Canadian Labour Congress
"This is the beginning of a long campaign my friends. We're not going to stop yelling and showing our faces until this government acts to create jobs that will keep us employed with dignity and respect and the ability to build communities in this country that last a lot longer than this Parliament."
CAW president Buzz Hargrove made it clear what the fight for manufacturing jobs was all about.
CAW national president
"It's time to take action! Action to protect our jobs, to create new jobs in manufacturing. We have a slogan. The slogan said 'Our jobs, Our communities, and Our future.' I have my grand daughter with me here today, Alexis. This is the future. This is what we are fighting for brothers and sisters. The future of our young people, for our young people to have opportunities and good paying jobs in dynamic industries, whether it be the forestry industry, the fisheries industry or the auto industry. Not the situation we have today."
The leaders of the three opposition parties, Jack Layton of the NDP, Stephane Dion of the Liberals and Gilles Duceppe of the Bloc Qubcois, pledged their support in the fight for manufacturing jobs.
"We're going to use the E.I. Fund to train workers when they have been thrown out of work and make sure you qualify for the assistance that you pay for. Right now the governments are stealing your money from the EI fund and that's got to stop."
We've got to stop unfair trade deals. There is no way we should be signing trade deals that say to other countries they can send their products here and we can't send our products there."
"I want to say that the crisis that we are facing, 300,000 jobs lost in the last years; that means families; that means communities suffering. This should stop."
Bloc Qubcois Leader
"Keep on fighting and you can count on the Bloc to fight for a real employment insurance; to fight at last to have an anti-scab law."
More than 5,000 working people joined the protest including CAW national secretary-treasurer Jim O'Neil, Erin Harrison of Local 222 and Ernie Cousins of Local 523.
CAW national secretary treasurer
"It is time they started looking at 'fair trade;' started looking at the number of jobs we are losing, and they have to. The politics of it has to be that the politicians have to make some decisions to make sure we have 'fair trade' and we start building for the future and have jobs for our communities and our young people in this country."
CAW Local 222
"Everyday I have to wake up and think am I going to collect a pension at the end of it. Is my job going to be there for the next 25 years? It really worries me."
CAW Local 523
"If there is going to be free trade, make it fair. If they are going to bring steel into Canada charge them a tariff or something."
CAW president Hargrove urged all working people to join in the fight for Canadian jobs.
CAW national president
"And we have to keep the pressure on. Brothers and sisters we have to keep the forums going across the country and give working people the opportunity to challenge their leadership in the government, in the labour movement and in their communities."
CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."