TORONTO – In a statement issued on behalf of 260,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, sent a strong message of support to the workers at Northstar Aerospace, who are fighting to defend their pensions.
Hahn also urged CUPE members to head to Unifor’s picket lines in Milton as a show of solidarity with Northstar workers and called on the provincial government, as well as the employer, to protect workers’ retirement security.
Hahn’s statement reads:
Ontario’s largest public-sector union stands shoulder to shoulder with Ontario’s largest private-sector union, as Unifor members defend their pensions from unfair and arbitrary cuts by Northstar Aerospace.
By taking direct action to protect pensions for current and future retirees, the workers at Northstar Aerospace are not just standing up for themselves, but for their families, their communities, and for every other worker whose retirement security is under threat from corporate greed.
These workers have paid into their pension plan in good faith; some have worked at Northstar Aerospace more than 40 years. It’s bad enough that the plant is closing; workers shouldn’t have to suffer a 24 per cent cut in their pension benefits as well.
Yet we see this sort of injustice occurring with infuriating regularity, right across the country; we have only to look at what has happened to workers at Sears Canada to see how vulnerable our jobs and retirement security really are.
Seeing these workers act to defend their pensions is deeply significant for all of us and should act as a wake-up call to our politicians.
Successive governments could have put legislation in place long ago in Ontario to protect workers’ right to security in retirement; they could have stopped companies from abandoning their obligations to their workers and retirees. But since government hasn’t acted, workers have had to.
CUPE Ontario is calling on both the provincial government and Northstar Aerospace to heed this action by workers and to do what is right and necessary to protect workers and their futures.
As a mark of our determination to see that happen, CUPE is organizing with the rest of the labour movement to offer every possible support to Unifor and Northstar workers as they engage in this important struggle.
CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.
For more information, contact:
Mary Unan, CUPE Communications, 647-390-9839