April 27, 2009
Activists converge at Queen's Park at the Ontario Legislature demanding pension protection
 Bob Fitzgerald and Danny Andru
 
Over 15,000 demonstrators lined the grounds of Queen's Park, waving flags
and holding placards outside the Ontario Legislative Building on April 23, 2009,
demanding immediate action from governments and corporations to protect
workers pensions.  

The event brought together union and non-union activists, community groups
and senior organizations from across the province, a symbol of what CAW
President Ken Lewenza called the "collective power of people" in his fiery
speech to the crowd.

CAW Council 4000 President Bob Fitzgerald, Council 4000 Regional
Representative Danny Andru and CAW Local 4003 VIA Rail Chairperson Frank
Consiglio participated in the rally.

"Employers are taking advantage of this economic crisis to roll back the
progress workers have made over the years to improve their standard of
living," Lewenza said.  "But we're going to use the collective power of the
people to win economic and social justice."
Bob Fitzgerald (l) and Danny Andru (r) wave CAW
flags at the April 23rd Pension Rally outside the
Ontario Legislative Building

Lewenza was joined by a long list of speakers, including labour leaders Ken Georgetti
(President of the Canadian Labour Congress), Wayne Samuelson (President of the
Ontario Federation of Labour), Smokey Thomas (President of the Ontario Public
Service Employees Union) and Sid Ryan (President of the Canadian Union of Public
Employees - Ontario).

"Workers will not be fodder in this mess - workers didn't cause this mess," said Ryan.

CAW Retired Workers Council President and National Executive Board member Len
Harrison spoke about the important contributions retired workers make to
communities across the country every day through their tireless volunteer efforts.

Harrison, a General Motors retiree from CAW Local 199 in St. Catharines, Ontario, has
been outspoken on the desperate need to ensure the Ontario Pension Benefit
Guarantee Fund is fully backstopped by government, after comments from Premier
Dalton McGuinty indicated the Fund was in jeopardy should a major corporation, like
GM, go bankrupt.
 Frank Consiglio and Danny Andru
Frank Consiglio (l) and Danny Andru (r) rally at
Queen's Park at the Ontario Legislature

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath spoke about the connection between manufacturing job losses in the province and the
growing pension crisis, calling on the government to backstop the Fund and increase the maximum monthly payout from $1,000 to
$2,500.
 Bob Fitzgerald
 
Former CAW Local 1530 President Mary Jane MacKinnon, who represented
workers at Nortel in Belleville, Ontario, and General Motors Salaried Pension
Organization President Brian Rutherford, representing non-union employees at
General Motors in Oshawa, also spoke at the rally.

The pension crisis is not just an issue that affects workers in the manufacturing
sector, but one that touches all workers across the country, Lewenza said.

"It's about working people having the right to retire with dignity and respect,
and not having to worry about their pension and retirement income."

Labour rallies will continue across the country in the coming weeks as part of
the Canadian Labour Congress'
Get Real! It's the Economy Campaign.

Click on the banner below for more information on the CAW's ongoing
Protect Our Pensions Campaign:
Bob Fitzgerald stands in front of the police horse guard
outside the Ontario Legislative Building at the
April 23rd Ontario Pension Rally
 
 Danny Andru
 
 Protect Our Pensions Campaign - Read more about the campaign to protect workers pensions!
     
Danny Andru