2014 Canadian Political Action Symposium

Dear Brother and Sisters,

I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Canadian Political Action Symposium (PAC) at the William Winpisinger Education and Technology Centre in Maryland, USA.  (02-05 September).

This symposium was organized in response to increasing pressure from the Federal Conservative government on unionized work forces in Canada through funding cuts, tax audits, and restrictive legislation.  You might recall the back-to-work legislation that was imposed on the four unionized groups at Air Canada in the last few years, while executives reaped in record bonuses.

Provincially, we’ve seen an attempt by the Ontario Progressive Conservatives of Tim Hudak, to bring right-to-work legislation to Canada.  There are currently 24 right-to-work states in the USA, and the facts are in…                    Right-to-work states generally have lower wages and incomes, less job-based health insurance coverage, higher poverty and infant mortality rates, less investment in education, and higher rates of death on the job.

We don’t need to compete with this race to the bottom in Canada!

From across the nation, the IAMAW sent 65 members to the PAC.  In Alberta we have 2758 members, and of that, I selected to go.  It is my hope that more people will become engaged and express interest in future symposiums.

During the three days of meetings, our goals were to identify some of the negative legislation that would affect the IAMAW membership.  We believe that these issues should motivate our colleagues, and raise some volunteers to join a political action committee in order to resist the Harper Conservatives in the next federal general election in 19 OCTOBER 2015.

  1. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
  2. Back-To-Work Legislation.
  3. Old Age Security changing from age 65 to 67.

(The Old Age Security (OAS) pension is a monthly payment (Approximately $563.74) available to most people 65 years of age and older)  Source: http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/services/pensions/payments.shtml

The Harper Government, in Budget 2012, announced that if you were born before April 1, 1958 will not be affected by these changes.  If you were born between 1958-1963, you will receive less OAS, and if you were born after 1963, you will have to wait till you are 67 to receive OAS.  (That could cost you over $13,500! in lost income support 65-67).  Bet you didn’t know the Harper Conservatives picked you future pocket!

Understandably, these are big, political issues, and require a good deal of research to understand these massive changes that will affect our lives.  The more people that are confused by these changes, turn away, ignore and disengage, the better off the Conservatives are.

That is why we need to work together, and work with labour supportive parties, like the NDP, to confront these challenges to our livelihoods.

If you are interested in assisting with political action within your Local Lodge, please contact a union representative or myself.  Thank you for your interest,

Jamie Kleinsteuber /  jamiekleinsteuber@hotmail.com