CAW Demands Universal Access To Pension Guarantee Fund

April 9, 2009


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CAW Demands Universal Access To Pension Guarantee Fund
CAW Demands Universal Access To Pension Guarantee Fund
dated April 9, 2009

Toronto, Ontario
April 9, 2009

       The Canadian Auto Workers union has come out fighting over Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty's suggestion that retired auto workers would not be eligible for Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund support.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "This isn't about auto workers. The Pension Guarantee Fund isn't about autoworkers. It's about retirees. They have to be guaranteed some money, exactly what the fund was established to do. To suggest that retirees could bear the brunt of something that they have no control of is just unconscionable! I can't even suggest to you how furious we are as an organization to suggest that our retirees won't be treated with decency and respect during this particular crisis."

       The CAW pointed out that the province created the problem the GM plan is facing right now by allowing large companies to delay funding their pension plans.

Sym Gill
CAW Director Pension & Benefits

       "Instead of amortizing their deficiencies over five years, GM has been allowed to amortize over 15 years. They have had a much longer period of time in which to reduce, or pay off their obligation that has resulted in a significant shortfall in the pension fund directly as a result of the provincial government rules."

       The province should remember that seniors built their communities while they were working and are continuing to play a key role according to Len Harrison, President of the CAW Retired Workers Advisory Executive

Len Harrison
CAW Retired Workers Advisory Executive

       "If it wasn't for seniors' volunteerism our Medicare system would collapse because we do so much work to help in the community. If it wasn't for our seniors, just imagine how many mothers wouldn't be working because we are baby sitters to. We go and help our children. And we spend our money. We pay taxes in the community and we deserve some respect in the community. And it wasn't us and it wasn't the workers in GM, Chrysler and Ford that caused this crisis."

       CAW National President Ken Lewenza said rather than ducking their responsibility to retired workers, the province and the federal government should be taking immediate action to support workers and retirees.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "The first thing they ought to be able to do is say to the unemployed workers," the two week waiting period is gone. We're going to increase the benefit level based on the circumstance that we are in today. And then we are going to get out there and we're going to strategically, on a sectoral by sectoral basis, invest in key industries to make sure that those workers have jobs to come back to after the global financial crisis."

       Retirees reacted with both fear and anger over McGuinty's suggestion that they would be excluded from the pension guarantee program.

John Gatens

       "We have people in long term care that could be left without any coverage, any benefits, and a loss of pensions. It's absolutely devastating."

Terry Gorman

       "I think the government has got to step up. And if they are helping out the corporations then they certainly have to help out the workers."

       The CAW is organizing the fight to ensure that all retirees are protected by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund.

Ken Lewenza
CAW National President

       "We are going to have a mass demonstration that will bring our retirees together along side of the active force and demand social and economic justice for our retirees and to demand that we continue to work incredibly hard to maintain the 600,000 jobs that are important to the tax base, important for a return to all Ontarians and all Canadians throughout the country."

       The mass rally in front of Queens Park will be held at noon on April 23rd. Len Harrison, warns the McGuinty government this is just the start of the fight back.

Len Harrison
National President CAW Retirees

       "We're going to keep this up, We're going to keep whacking at it. We're going to keep on the streets. We're going to keep going to the legislature. We're going to keep going to the MPP's offices because all we want, all we really want is some justice! We've done our bit and we continue to do our bit and with the help of the good people in this country we will continue to do that."

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.


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