Canada Employment and Immigration Union -
November 1, 2011

Oshawa local pushes back against EI consolidation

Poorer service to the public and the loss of EI processing jobs brought members of CEIU Local 521 (Oshawa, Ontario) together with community supporters at a rally to oppose HRSDC’s decision to consolidate EI operations. Approximately 45 EI staff in Oshawa would be affected by the cuts and service to the Durham area, which includes the massive General Motors assembly plants and feeder plants for GM and Chrysler, would decline significantly.

The Local 521 Executive, led by President Trina Fitzpatrick, built the foundation for the rally with an earlier visit to Oshawa mayor John Henry. They briefed him on how EI consolidation will hurt service to the public and see EI processing jobs in Oshawa move to the six new “hub” offices in Ontario. The mayor pledged his support for keeping the EI jobs in Oshawa and said he would write the Minister, Diane Finley, on the issue.

The Oshawa Executive also advised the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) Local 222 of the loss of a key position, that of the EI Liaison Officer. The CAW represents thousands of GM workers in Oshawa and the Liaison Officer is needed to ensure that the specific needs of this large workforce are met. In response, the CAW wrote an extremely supportive letter.

Members of the CEIU Oshawa local have a proud tradition of being responsive to the needs of their community. Local President Fitzpatrick points to the recent case of IQT Solutions, a call centre company that closed its doors in July without notice or pay to its 400 Oshawa employees. “We knew these workers would be in a desperate financial situation and that they would be unable to get their Records of Employent,” said Fitzpatrick, “and our members were the first ones to put up their hands to work on these tough claims. These are members of our community and we wanted to do the best we could for them.”

The October 20 rally was well attended by CEIU members and by supporters from other PSAC component unions, the Professional Institute of the Public Service (PIPSC), the CAW, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) and the United Steel Workers (USW) and members of the public. Local 521 President Trina Fitzpatrick spoke to the rally about the work done by EI processing staff in Oshawa and the effect on service to the public that would follow if their jobs were eliminated. She was followed by a number of speakers that included:

The rally generated strong coverage in local print, radio and television media. “We need to let our communities know what’s at stake here,” said Trina Fitzpatrick, “because we will all lose if the government is allowed to make these cuts.”

Trina Fitzpatrick


John Henry


Sid Ryan

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