CAW President Buzz Hargrove’s Labour Day Message
September 4, 2005
The current lock-out of Canadian Media Guild members by CBC
is just the latest example of a very troubling trend facing workers across North America.

Full-time jobs with good pay, benefits and pensions are under increasingly vicious attacks by
employers.  These jobs are being destroyed only to be replaced by contract work, which offers no
security, no steady income, no benefits and where pensions are but a distant memory.  

Instead of the security of a permanent job and steady income for loyal workers who are attempting
to raise families, pay mortgages and put down roots, more and more workers today face the
dismal prospect of contract work.  It’s a recipe for insecurity. Throughout society, workers, their
families and the communities they live in are facing increasingly uncertain futures.

While thousands of CBC workers remain locked in a high profile struggle with an employer attempting to force contract work down their
throats, we must remember it’s only the latest example.  At TELUS in British Columbia and Alberta, the phone company is unilaterally
attempting to impose a contract that will cut jobs and reduce service.  Again, it’s a case of thousands of workers simply seeking to
maintain a measure of job security who find themselves locked out.

In Ontario, 1,000 members of the Society of Energy Professionals were forced on strike at Hydro One, which maintains and operates
electricity transmission across the province.  This strike is about a two-tier wage system, where the company wants to pay new workers
much less, provide them with 50 per cent less in benefits and reduced pensions.  The company also wants to force the professionals to
work an additional four hours a week with no pay.

An American example is Northwest Airlines, where the company is refusing to settle contract talks with 4,000 unionized workers and
instead is bringing in outside aircraft mechanics and maintenance workers.

How much more do big corporations want from working families? At a time of record profits and historically low new investment, the
latest salvo demonstrates that more and more employers in our ever-changing economy no longer see the value in a loyal, long-term
and stable workforce.  This is a dangerous trend that if unchecked, will not only hurt the work standards of unionized workers, but will
also drive down wages, benefits and work standards for the unorganized.

The result will be an insecure, transient workforce which will be reluctant to make long-term commitments in terms of a mortgage, major
household purchases and vehicles.  The tax base is being eroded, meaning there is less money for schools, hospitals, roads and
services.  Everyone is going to pay the price for this short-term corporate thinking.

During these challenging times, workers and their unions must stand up to employers who are trying to lower standards and devalue
work in a continuing race to the bottom.  It’s up to the labour movement and progressive leaders in Canada and the United States to stop
the trend toward more and more temporary and contract jobs with low pay, no benefits or pensions.

As we celebrate Labour Day 2005, we must commend those who are fighting to protect secure jobs and a better future.

It’s no wonder that a new Canadian Labour Congress study shows that while our young people are better educated, they take longer to
find work and they earn less than earlier generations.
Working people need to make a personal commitment to stem the tide now so our children have a real a chance for a decent standard of
living.

Source:  CAW NewsNow

More Labour Day Articles:

Celebrate Labour and Labour History this Labour Day

Labour Day:  The Holiday Canada gave the World
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