Labour to campaign for economic change

Canadas labour leaders have given a resounding thumbs-down to the economic stimulus package presented in the federal budget. While it may address some of the difficult circumstances that working families face, they say it is fundamentally flawed and fails to address the problems faced by the hundreds of thousands of people who are losing their jobs.

Meeting in Ottawa this week, the leaders representing 54 of Canadas unions, including the largest unions from both the private and public sectors, along with the heads of every provincial and territorial federation of labour ... representing in total more than 3.2 million workers ... expressed their deep dissatisfaction with the Conservative governments response to the economic crisis. They also served notice that they do not intend to take it sitting down.

All of them vowed to provide the resources necessary to wage a campaign for change: one that would mobilize Canadians to demand that the federal government do more for the victims of the recession while continuing to provide the economic stimulus thats needed to save jobs while building the infrastructure we need to remain prosperous.

-We can do better for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have and who will lose their jobs because of what has happened to our economy. They did not cause the economic crisis that has robbed them of their livelihoods. Neither did the thousands who have seen their life savings and their dreams for a comfortable retirement taken away because of the rampant greed that right-wing governments unleashed and let run wild in the financial markets. We can do more for them. We must do more for them," said Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, who called and chaired the meeting.

The campaign for change would amplify the voices of the innocent victims of this crisis until our governments hear them. It will include mass mobilization of people at rallies and demonstrations, as well as add to the labour movements ongoing education and advocacy campaign to give people an outlet for their anger and frustration.

-Theres anger out there and tremendous frustration. It is an anger that needs to be given a voice and a face for the government to really see them, so it can understand that it is not doing enough and needs to change its program. It is also an anger that needs to be focussed on finding solutions so the mistakes and flawed politics that lead to this crisis are not repeated again," said Georgetti.

In addition to the campaign for change, the labour leaders called for a National Summit of labour, business and community leaders to discuss those solutions to the economic crisis facing workers and their families.

-We need an economy that values a healthy private sector and a vibrant public sector working together for the benefit of all," said Georgetti.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils.