• Why All Londoners Should Stand with Striking Cami Workers

    The reality is the economic under pinnings of London have been allowed to slowly rot away over the 20 years I’ve called this city home.

    First the internet’s digital revolution came for the white collar jobs, as the insurance and financial sectors downsized dramatically.

    Then automation started coming for the blue collar manufacturing jobs, that so many in the community looked down on as unimportant. And it wasn’t just the auto sector, places like Phillips lighting, where I once worked disappeared too.

    And throughout, corporate greed, empowered by so called free trade agreements, and the hollowing out of worker’s rights by provincial governments, made even good paying jobs more precarious.

    So in the face of that, it’s more important than ever that when our friends and neighbours go out on strike like the workers at CAMI have done, that we rally around them and say, enough is enough!

    A bit of job security for workers at one of the most efficient automotive plants on the planet shouldn’t be too much for them to ask of GM, considering the millions and millions in profit the automaker reaps from their labour every year.

    After 8 years of 6 day work weeks without care to what that’s done to people’s families, those UNIFOR members deserve to be treated with more respect and dignity in the workplace, and it shouldn’t be too much to ask GM to bring back laid off workers and lay off the mandatory overtime.

    By the way, what happened to that 40hr work week?…oh yeah the Ontario government doesn’t enforce that…

    CAMI workers aren’t fighting for big raises, and frankly they aren’t just fighting for their own jobs, job security for them means job security for the parts suppliers, but also for the grocery store clerk, the servers in local restaurants, and all the other spin off jobs they support. And we as a community, make no mistake, hundreds of Londoners work there and commute daily, should stand with them in solidarity!

    We should demand some social responsibility from corporations like GM. Henry Ford recognized a century ago that paying his workers a decent wage meant they could afford to buy the cars they were building, which meant more work, which meant Ford’s business would prosper in a sustainable way. If corporations won’t comply voluntarily to reasonable social standards, government’s have to act.

    We should demand our provincial government enforce labour laws and 40hr work weeks, forcing companies to hire more workers instead of working their workers into early graves.

    And there’s no better time as it renegotiates NAFTA to demand our federal government makes “Made in Canada” matter again. Fair trade and free trade are not the same thing!

    Because good, secure jobs, whether unionized or not, are the jobs that support local United Way’s, youth sports, cultural events, and our quality of life through their workers income and property taxes. That’s part of the poverty remedy, so by fighting for their job security CAMI workers are doing more to combat poverty than most of our elected officials.

    What we want for ourselves, we should want for all, that’s what CAMI workers are fighting for.

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