Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

September 04, 2009 13:49 ET

Economic Recovery Must Be for Everyone

Labour Day 2009 Message from Wayne Samuelson, President Ontario Federation of Labour

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 4, 2009) - As always, Labour Day is a time for working people to take stock of where they stand, to celebrate their accomplishments, and to rededicate themselves to the inevitable struggles to come. Labour Day 2009 is more important than ever. The year that has passed since last Labour Day has been a terribly trying one for working people in this province, in this country and around the world.

Yet throughout the media we hear reports of "green shoots": the markets are up; banks are back to record profits; and the GDP is growing again, only by one-tenth of one percent. Some headlines have even triumphantly proclaimed that the recession is over. But over for who? Perhaps it is over in the stock markets and for those on Bay Street, but, in the labour market and for those on Main Street, this recession is far from over.

Don't try to tell one of the 222,000 Ontarians who lost their job in the past year that this recession is over. Don't try to tell the legions of unemployed who have paid into the Employment Insurance fund for years, only to find they cannot collect benefits when they need them most, that this recession is over. And don't try to tell those seniors who have seen their pensions evaporate and their retirement security collapse that this recession is over. For them and untold others, this recession is far from over. GDP growth of 0.1% gives them no sense of comfort and no hope that recovery is on its way.

If there is to be a fall election, as many are now predicting, then it must be about recovery. The ballot question is simple: what kind of recovery do we want to have? Do we want a jobless recovery; a recovery of bull markets and obscene executive bonuses, that leaves working families behind? Or do we want a "good jobs" recovery; a recovery of our shrinking middle class and the decent incomes that sustain it?

For the Ontario labour movement and the working families we represent, the answer is simple. There is no recovery until there is a jobs recovery. There is no recovery until those who cannot find work are able to draw from the EI program that they helped fund. There is no recovery until pensions are secured and our seniors can enjoy their retirement years in comfort and dignity.

Nothing less than this is a genuine recovery; nothing less is acceptable. From the shop floor, to the streets, to the ballot box, the labour movement will redouble our efforts to ensure that the future for working families is much brighter than the present.

Contact Information

  • OFL
    Wayne Samuelson
    416.571.7408 (mobile)