Canada Employment and Immigration Union - http://ceiu-seic.ca/en/campaigns-and-issues/union-members-rally-for-jobs-in-northern-ontario/
May 26, 2010

Union members rally for jobs in Northern Ontario

CEIU members, along with those from the United Steelworkers and the Canadian Auto Workers, rallied in Sault Ste. Marie against the job losses sweeping Northern Ontario. Jobs in both the private and public sectors are disappearing across the north, and the rally spotlighted the problems as well as the solutions.

In Timmins, mining giant Xstrata is shutting down its Kidd Creek processing operation and is shipping the ore mined in the Timmins area out of the province for processing. 640 workers have lost their jobs as a result.

700 jobs have been lost at the Vale Inco operation despite the job protection promises given by the Brazil-based Vale when it took over Inco. Making matters worse, a strike against the profitable Vale Inco by the United Steelworkers has been running since July 9, 2009.

At Service Canada, most of the north, with the exception of Sudbury, has been designated a “non-growth” area, meaning that as staff leave, they will not be replaced. Instead of a new vacancy opening in the community, the job will depart for a hub office as part of Service Canada’s centralization policy.

The rally called for governments at the provincial and federal levels to act for the hard hit communities of the north. The provincial government should amend its legislation to require that ore mined in Ontario be processed in Ontario. At this time, it requires only that it be processed in Canada. The federal government received assurances about jobs when Vale took over Inco, but the Harper government has not challenged the job losses.

As for the centralization of file processing at Service Canada, CEIU National President Jeannette Meunier-McKay reminded the rally what the employer stated in the past: “Modern communications technology would save smaller communities,” she recalled, “not hurt them. The technology would let E.I. claims and pension applications be processed anywhere, not just in the big offices in the south. Well, the technology didn’t change, but Service Canada’s thinking did.”

Regional and local leaders at the rally gave their perspectives on the issues and solutions, and they are available in audio format below (English only). The National President’s speech to the rally is available here.

Organizer Laura St-Jean thanked those who helped to make the rally a success and summed up her message to members: “Stand up. Fight back!”

Laura St-Jean [audio:laurastjean.mp3|titles=Laura St-Jean]

Jan Liberty [audio:janliberty.mp3|titles=Jan Liberty]

Travis Lahnalampi [audio:travislahnalampi.mp3|titles=Travis Lahnalampi]

Valerie Fargey [audio:valfargey.mp3|titles=Valerie Fargey]

Jill Rivard [audio:jillrivard.mp3|titles=Jill Rivard]

Jeannette Meunier-McKay [audio:jmmspeech.mp3|titles=Jeannette Meunier-McKay]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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