Archive for August 2017

NDP Leader Candidates Survey Questions and Answers (Jagmeet Singh)

Jagmeet did not respond yet to the survey but here is a Summary from his website:

 

Jagmeet Singh’s Better Work Agenda:

A Jagmeet Singh-led government will immediately implement a $15 per hour minimum wage for the tens of thousands of workers employed under federal jurisdiction, indexed to keep pace with inflation. Setting a living wage floor for federal workers not only ensures that they have fair work standards, it also sets a benchmark for wages across Canada.

 

Establish a national workplace law review to revise and update federal labour standards under the Canadian Labour Code. This review will specifically address the increase in contract and temp agency work, pay and benefit inequity, and barriers to forming a union.

 

Recognizing that the rise of temporary work is undermining good jobs, ensure that all workers employed through a temporary job agency under federal jurisdiction receive the same wages, benefits, and working conditions as permanent full-time workers doing comparable work.

 

Further, end the practice of long-term temporary assignments and require that workers be made permanent employees after working a cumulative total of six months.

 

Immediately extend the proposed ban on unpaid internships to require that interns working for federally-regulated employers as part of an academic program be paid.

 

Create a national framework for enshrining Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) in federally-funded infrastructure projects. While Trudeau’s infrastructure bank creates opportunities for rich investors, Jagmeet will ensure that every public dollar is put to its best possible use, creating local economic opportunities and building support from local communities.

 

Through partnerships between community, labour, governments, and employers, a CBA framework will provide communities accountability and enforceable targets and allow each one to define benefits as its sees fit –whether that be access to unionized construction jobs, new space for public use, or to achieve environmental goals or other priorities.

 

Reinstate the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act. This act ensured workers employed on federal construction contracts received fair wages and required employers to put in place non-discriminatory hiring practices. Jagmeet will extend the principles of this act to all federal government procurement, ensuring that the highest labour standards and non-discriminatory hiring and promotion practices are followed by all companies contracted by the federal government.

NDP Leader Candidates Survey Questions and Answers (Guy Caron)

Guy did not respond yet to the survey but here is a Summary from his website:

Guy Caron Workers First plan includes:

  • Investing in a Job Action Plan to fund the large-scale job creating infrastructure projects required to transition to the green and automated economy. These investments will total $90 billion dollars over a period of 10 years:

◦ $32 billion into new renewable energy production and technologies, including solar, wind and geothermal.

◦$30 billion to retrofit buildings into Green Buildings and identify energy efficiencies.

◦$18 billion for public transit expenditures, to reduce both personal emissions and overall transportation emissions.

◦$10 billion for Higher Speed Rail Transport, to take more cars off our roads and highways.

  • Updating the Canada Labour Code to replace the 8-hour workday with a 7-hour workday, without wage loss. In the next 10 years, nearly a third of on-the-job tasks in over 60% of all jobs will be automated. We can already see right now how so many Canadians are affected by job precarity. By reducing working hours, the length of the work week will once again reflect the realities of our economic times.

Increasing fairness in federal labour regulations to give workers a decent wage to fight poverty and improve quality and working conditions, notably:

◦A $15/hr minimum wage

◦Promoting full-time permanent work

◦Fair scheduling

◦Paid sick leave

  • Creating a new Community Economic Development Program to help affected communities in their efforts to diversify their economies. The program will also:
  • Strategically direct significant investments toward Indigenous, rural, and remote communities where there are fewer alternative employment opportunities.
  • Work with employers, the provinces and territories to identify appropriate timelines for slowdown and closure of industries to mitigate negative impacts on affected communities, and ensure that the majority of affected workers are able to receive skills training, transitional support, or retirement benefits.
  • Provide incentives for volunteerism: even where people have limited employment options, many participate in important and little-recognized volunteer work that has an enormous positive impact on our communities.
  • Creating an Interim Support Program that includes:

◦A Basic Income supplement to lift all low-income Canadians out of poverty.

◦A Fair Departure Program to ensure that employers provide severance, health insurance and pensions for workers who have been laid off due to the transition.

◦Reducing the number of hours required for EI eligibility from 900 to 360.

◦Allowing workers who lose their jobs due to the transition to receive full Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits starting at age 60, without penalty.

  • Introducing Activity Accounts for Lifetime Learning for every Canadian: financed by contributions from workers, employers, and the federal government, the account will enable its holder to finance lifetime learning and job retraining. It would be portable so that if the individual moved or switched jobs, the account would migrate with them.
  • Introducing a Green Economy and Green Skills Survey: a community-level study of potential employment impacts of the transition to a green and automated economy, this survey will provide crucial information on economic activity and skills needs, and allow the federal government to make evidence-based decisions about future strategic investments – rather than ideological and partisan ones.

 

Investing in Our Common Future

 

In restructuring our economy, we are undertaking an enormously ambitious and essential project for the future of our country. Thus, it may be necessary to incur a deficit.

 

We have identified a number of sources of funding to pay for the necessary expenditures, including a robust carbon tax, which will be implemented across the country over a period of 10 years. The costs of retraining, job matching and interim support programs will be paid for through an increase in the corporate tax rate (my plan to overhaul Canada’s tax system already calls for the increase of the corporate tax rate from 15% to 19% – one percentage point of which will be invested directly into the Workers First transition). As previously noted, the Basic Income supplement will also be paid for through the restructuring of our tax system.

 

Finally, as a further source of funds for this crucial transition, we propose to increase the inflation target from its current level of 2% to 4%. This move is expected to raise gross domestic income by an additional $50 billion per year.

NDP Leader Candidates Survey Questions and Answers (Charlie Angus)

Good jobs and fair wages are important to our members. How will you potentially as the next Prime Minister ensure Canadians have access to good jobs?

This work will need to begin before I get the chance to become Prime Minister in 2019.

Right now we are facing a number of crucial issues that workers will need a strong voice in Parliament to stand up for their rights. You need a champion this fall who will fight against Trudeau’s plan to sell off our airports. You need someone in House who will stand up for workers’ rights while Trudeau renegotiates NAFTA. This is our second chance to final get this trade deal right, but you will need someone in Ottawa to make sure the Liberals don’t give it all away… again.

As Prime Minister making sure Canadians have access to good jobs would be my top priority. One of the first things that I would put in place is a job pledge as part of all big federal contracts to ensure that workers and our communities benefit the most of these projects. It is not acceptable for a company like Bombardier to receive federal funds and then turn around and ship the work out of Canada.

With regard to working conditions, I would raise the federal minimum wage, fight outsourcing in the public sector, pass anti-scab legislation, fight for pensions, and step up labour inspections. I would work to expand employee ownership of workplaces through a phoenix cooperative law allowing workers the right of first refusal to buy closing companies.

 

Many IAM members work in manufacturing and industry. It seems harder to find employers willing to support training and apprenticeship completion rates have fallen. What should a Prime Minister be doing to support new and young workers?

I would also look at ways to encourage and promote apprenticeships across the board. Perhaps with the tax or other incentives to help companies be solid corporate citizens. I also want to make post-secondary education more accessible to both young and older workers by phasing out tuition fees and making sure that midcareer students are getting aid appropriate to their needs.

As Prime Minister I would ensure that contractors and sub-contractors working on federal projects would need to provide support training and apprenticeship. Along with the job pledge it make sure that we not only supporting our current work force but also the training the workers of tomorrow.

 

Many of our Members, particularly in BC and Alberta, work in resource-based industries (mining, forestry, oil etc.). A) Environmental concerns in these industries?

Luckily our workforce is ready to take on the challenge.

Too often we pit jobs and the environment against one another, as if we can only have one or the other. However, I have found that in cases that industries that need to be more environmentally friendly they also create more jobs. When hard caps where placed on many of the mining companies due to acid rain, these industries invested and built new technology to deal with this environmental problem. They actually turned it into a side business, capturing and selling the acid to other industries. We have an opportunity now to build the infrastructure for the next century. That will mean jobs and opportunities that should boost a generation of workers. B) Employment concerns of workers in these industries? A large part of Canada’s wealth has and will be our resources. Mining, forestry, even oil production will still be needed, especially if we are moving to a more green economy. We will still need steal, plastics, aluminum, etc, to build and produce this next industrial revolution.

 

Concerns have been raised about labour issues like anti-scab, minimum wage, contract flipping, and airport privatization. Your views?

New Democrats have always stood up for workers in Parliament and have pushed forward legislation that would curtail bargaining rights, and workers’ protections. For years, we have proposed and even brought to a vote federal anti-scab legislation. I have proposed that we bring in a $15 minimum wage that is indexed to inflation so workers do not fall behind. I think that contract flipping is wrong and the practice is a way to suppress wages and keep workers down. As PM, I will ensure that this practice stops. Of course, I will oppose any effort by Trudeau government to privatize our airports.

 

As leader; what is your position to support our union and workers in general?

As I mentioned above, need to wait to see action from us on contract flipping, airport privatization and NAFTA. We will be pushing the government to ensure that they start siding with workers over their Bay Street friends. Too often these days, governments have been short sighted in trying to save costs but eliminating unionized positions. That will not happen under my leadership. We need a strong unionized workforce to ensure that we have a strong and prosperous middle class—who have the means to raise their families and to retire in dignity. We will also ensure that barriers put in place against unionization are removed and that health and safety regulations are up to date and fully resourced.

 

Is there anything else you would like our members know?

We must once again be bold and unapologetic in standing up for our values. This cannot wait until the next election. There is too much at stake for workers, pensioners, and their families. Unfair labour practices, selling off of public assets like airports, and NAFTA have the potential to keep pushing workers and our economy further from our control.

As leader of the NDP, I will make sure that IAMAW and other workers have a voice in Ottawa and that they will know that I will always have their back.

This leadership race is an opportunity to re-forge the connection between the NDP and the labour movement in Canada. It only takes looking south of the border to see what happens when the political left becomes disconnected with workers and the needs of their community. That is a big reason why I entered this race. We cannot pretend that the election of a Trump like figure cannot happen here. Harris, Wall, Pallister, Harper, have all done their damage.

 

NDP Leader Candidates Survey Questions and Answers (Niki Ashton)

In early summer 2017, the IAM sent a survey to all federal NDP leadership candidates to find out their positions on worker-related issues. 

 

We are pleased to forward you the answers from Ms. Ashton and her campaign to the survey you have sent us. We hope this reaches you well.

Q: Good jobs and fair wages are important to our members. How will you potentially as the next Prime Minister ensure Canadians have access to good jobs?

The economic situation facing workers today is the result of decades of neoliberal policies by Liberal and Conservative governments, and it requires that we take a bold and systematic approach to reverse these trends.

In my platform for Economic Justice, I have a national jobs plan to promote full-time, good-paying jobs. We need to have a vision of full employment, and focus on sustainability and long-term prosperity, not short term projects.

I support higher minimum wages, and I will also introduce a living income policy, using federal powers to ensure that household income keeps up with the cost of living across the country. I will reject unfair, job-killing trade deals, and invest in public and social ownership. Together, we will fight back against the forces that seek to depress wages and exploit workers.

Q: Many IAM members work in manufacturing and industry. It seems harder to find employers willing to support training and apprenticeship completion rates have fallen. What should a Prime Minister be doing to support new and young workers?

My campaign has developed an innovative and bold vision for a green economy and for transitioning towards a carbon free economy that includes a jobs plan for tradespeople and for young people. Green infrastructure and housing will create jobs and will help transition our economy for the future. Within this plan, we want to implement a Youth Green Job Guarantee, a variant of which was implemented with success in the European Union. It would help transition young people into the labour market and cut down on precarious work.

We also support amending the Canada Labour Code to crack down on temporary work agencies, which can exploit a loophole that frees employers from offering proper occupational health and safety protections, as well as stopping the abuse of unpaid internships.

Q: Many of our Members, particularly in BC and Alberta, work in resource-based industries (mining, forestry, oil etc.).

What is your position on: A) Environmental concerns in these industries? B) Employment concerns of workers in these industries?

There is no denying that climate change presents the greatest challenge that we have ever faced. A just, green transition means working with all partners, and bringing workers and industry to the table to ensure the reduction of carbon intensive energy projects is done fairly without impacting communities disproportionately, and while respecting Indigenous rights.

To undertake this challenge, I will create four industry-specific Green Canada Advisory Boards (GCAB) for forestry, agriculture, fishing and energy to bring all stakeholders to the table, and ensure that industry, workers and experts are working collaboratively to support a just transition to a green economy and sustainable resource development.

Workers in sunset industries will be partners in our efforts to phase out carbon intensive energy projects in a sustainable, non-exploitative way. Workers will be able to remain in their respective industries during the cleanup process, such as in the work to reclaim orphaned wells or cleanup of abandoned mines, while upskilling to growth industries that will need skilled, trained workers.

I will also implement a Youth Green Job Guarantee to help young people transition into the labour market, cutting down on precarious work. An initial program would provide applicants with a six-month period of good quality public or social employment or apprenticeship geared towards the new green economy.

It is important that we retool fabrication shops and factories to produce components for clean energy projects and other carbon pollution solutions. We need to upgrade our manufacturing capacity to rapidly transition Canada to renewable energy and to help mitigate climate change around the world.

Together we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs and invest in communities by tackling climate change. You can find my full Environmental Justice platform at nikiashton2017.ca.

Q: Concerns have been raised about labour issues like anti-scab, minimum wage, contract flipping, and airport privatization. Your views?

I support federal anti-scab legislation to support workers and their right to strike.

I support the Fight for 15 and Fairness movement and their calls for a $15 dollar minimum wage. My living income policy will use the power of the federal government to push up wages further.

Contract flipping, which forces workers to reapply for their jobs, is an entirely unethical practice used by employers to undermine the gains made by workers. I will amend the Canada Labour Code to outlaw this practice and protect successorship rights in federally regulated industries.

I am strongly opposed to privatizing airports and other public infrastructure. The NDP under my leadership will not just fight these attacks, but will build public and social ownership through nationalization.

Q: As leader; what is your position to support our union and workers in general?

I’m proud to support the labour movement and its struggles in support of working people and our communities. As a democratic socialist, I believe in building the power of workers so that we can push back together against corporate power and greed. My platform, including an economic justice and tax fairness agenda, will work to bring back power to the working-class, while distributing wealth and providing social goods like pharmacare, dental care, and free tuition. I will also fight for young workers today who are not able to join a union, and who work in highly exploitative precarious jobs. Many workers also face other forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, and homophobia and transphobia, and we need to fight against these at the same time.

This is an ambitious agenda, and I can’t do it alone. The NDP will need to work alongside unions and social movements as partners to achieve these goals.

Q: Is there anything else you would like our members know?

Our campaign is rooted in the same energy that has driven the labour movement since its inception – the quest for justice for the people, not only the rich and powerful, through mass mobilization and through system change. It is time that we have political leadership in Canada that reflects the social changes that we need to implement today to tackle inequalities. This means modernizing labour laws, but also granting basic healthcare coverage that includes pharmacare and dental care and by making sure that every Canadian has access to free post-secondary education. This is the way of the future, and if we all pull together, we can build a movement for social, economic and environmental change.


 

 

 

 

1st Ballot for NDP Leader
Thought on Labour

“La femme ne peut être émancipée que lorsqu'elle prend part dans une grande mesure sociale à la production et n'est plus réclamée par le travail domestique que dans une mesure insignifiante.” ― Engels Friedrich

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