Employment Insurance: Workers Deserve a Leg Up, Not A Smack Down, say Steelworkers

TORONTO, Feb. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - "If you pay into an insurance policy but are denied the coverage you've paid for when you need to make a claim, that's called a scam," says United Steelworkers (USW) National Director Ken Neumann. "Employment Insurance should be a leg up, not a smack down."

The USW supports the NDP's petition calling on the Harper government to reverse the devastating changes it has made to EI and restore fair access to decent EI benefits for jobless workers.

The USW also supports the rallies organized recently in Quebec and the Maritimes. Workers and supportive communities are demanding an end to the Harper government's draconian EI reforms that require unemployed workers to accept a 30% cut in wages and look for work up to 100 kilometres away from home.

The United Steelworkers supports the protests against EI reforms. "We all pay into EI. It's insurance. It should be there when we need it," said Neumann.

"These wrongheaded EI reforms are bad for workers and communities. Forcing workers to accept a job at 30% less is a race to the bottom when many workers are already cobbling together precarious part-time jobs without benefits or a pension just to get by," said Neumann.

"Why is this government making house calls checking up on workers who lost their jobs? Maybe they should be visiting all those corporations that are hoarding cash instead of investing in job creation," said Neumann.

Canadian corporations get tax breaks and incentives, but instead of investing and creating jobs, they're hoarding over $500 billion in "dead money."

EI isn't just failing those who work in seasonal industries. Changes have made it harder to qualify for benefits - six in 10 Canadians can no longer qualify for benefits even though they've paid into the program.

Steelworkers can help pressure the Harper government to back off the EI reforms that blame workers for being unemployed. Sign the petition: Hands off our EI.

Petition: Hands off our EI

SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, bgallagher@usw.ca