Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

October 10, 2008 11:30 ET

OFL News Conference Job Losses in Welland Devastating says OFL

Attention: Assignment Editor, Media Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - Oct. 10, 2008) - At a news conference in Welland today, Ontario Federation of Labour President Wayne Samuelson said the number of job losses and plant closures tells the story of the dramatic shift in the economic outlook for workers in the region from good manufacturing jobs to lower paying and often part-time or temporary work.

"When Stephen Harper was campaigning in Welland recently he didn't even mention manufacturing job losses until the local media asked the question," said OFL President Wayne Samuelson. "He allowed only one question on job loss. Harper played down the fact that so many jobs have been lost by saying, 'Statistically, Niagara is better off than it was a year ago. It's not all doom and gloom, we have to stay the course.'"

"What course?" OFL President Samuelson asked. "Harper doesn't have a plan - he is so out of touch with what's happening to jobs and economy that he figures laid-off workers can play the stock market with all the falling stock prices."

"When plants close down and people lose their jobs they will be lucky if they can go to the supermarket - not the stock market."

The number of jobs lost in Welland in the last two years alone is devastating to the city of 45,000 people. What we have now is low paying temporary work that job-starved workers are taking because the situation for working families is grim. The only work available is low wage with only the most basic employment standards. In this economic shift, we see people and future generations working long hours with low pay, no pensions and no on-the-job protections.

Unemployment is increasing and laid-off workers in the Niagara region are discovering the failure of the unemployment insurance system. In Ontario, only 30% of unemployed workers can collect unemployment insurance benefits because there are so many barriers.

"What we need from the Harper government is a plan to address the problems in the manufacturing sector, an unemployment insurance system that provides more support to workers who lost their jobs and a training system that works for people," Samuelson said. "We don't need a discussion about banana-flavoured tobacco and what stocks to buy."

cope343 /For further information: Wayne Samuelson, President
Ontario Federation of Labour
416.571.7408 (cellular)/ IN: LABOUR, MEDIA, POLITICS, OTHER

Contact Information

  • Dana Boettger, OFL Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-441-2731 ext. 665
    Secondary Phone: 416-443-7665
    Toll-Free: 800-668-9138