CAW Joins EI Protest in Oshawa

March 14, 2009

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CAW Joins EI Protest In Oshawa
CAW Joins EI Protest In Oshawa
dated March 14, 2009

Oshawa, Ontario
March 14, 2009

       Hundreds of angry citizens rallied in front of Conservative MP Colin Carrie's constituency office in downtown Oshawa March 14th. Their message was simple.

John MacDonald
Laid off CAW Local 222 worker

       "I think they need to review the EI qualifying, reduce the hours and increase the weeks. Even the five weeks that they proposed in that federal budget is not enough at all."

Tammy Schoep
Laid off CAW Local 222 worker

       "They don't get that if we are all laid off this recession is not going to end. It is not going end. We are going to lose our houses; we're going to lose our cars. It is only going to get worse. They need us working. They need us with enough money to pay our mortgages."

       The peaceful protest was organized by Marissa Kata of Oshawa after her dad fell into poverty when he lost his job.

Marissa Kata
Protest Organizer

       "I watched my own father worry if he was going to run out of blood pressure medication because five weeks later he still didn't get EI. My mother is on insulin. We thought she would die without it. And we're not the only ones. I decided to do something about it and I got online and I did some research and found some of the local labour groups and anti-poverty groups, people with common goals and common interests and I started picking up the phone And calling them saying this is what I want to do. I want to get us in one place and I want to send a message to Ottawa. And I want to send a message to our member of parliament that it is not alright and people aren't okay!"

       Those attending the protest clearly voiced that message including Peggy Nash, assistant to CAW National President Ken Lewenza.

Peggy Nash
Assistant to CAW National President

       "We've got to fix EI by setting standard qualifying hours of 360, right across the country. It shouldn't matter where you live, if you need benefits when you are out of a job! And we need to get rid of the waiting period. If you are in a crisis, if you are drowning, if you lose your job you should get benefits right away. You shouldn't have to wait for them, two weeks, four weeks, six weeks. You shouldn't have to wait! And you should be able to earn a living income when you are on EI; 60% of your salary should be covered. You should be able to at least pay your bills and put food on the table for your families. And we shouldn't have people thrown off EI after a few weeks. We should have at least 50 weeks

       CAW Local 22 president Chris Buckley said the Harper government is in different to the plight of the unemployed.

Chris Buckley
Pres. CAW Local 222

       "Colin Carrie doesn't care. If he cared, would we have a member of Local 222 most recently who was disqualified for an EI Benefit because he was one hour short? One hour short. After paying into the EI premiums all of his life he needed 630 hours in order to collect EI to support himself and his family, and he had 629. I personally talked to our MP for Oshawa and asked him to bend the rules, one-hour. After three weeks of waiting the answer was there is nothing the government can do. That is an absolute disgrace in a country as proud and as great as Canada."

       Buckley urged people to follow Marissa Kata's example of using the internet and raising public awareness to pressure the politicians to act

Marissa Kata
Protest Organizer

       "I've been criticised, whether it be by our MP or by other politicians about networking that way and saying how I feel about this issue and calling out politicians on it, but I am going to continue to do that because this is a travesty. This is an injustice."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.

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