TWU, USW Say Harper's Verizon Scheme Is A Failed Plan for Canadians, Support Call for Federal Hearings
TORONTO, Aug. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Stephen Harper's hunt for votes should not trump good public policy, say leaders of the Telecommunications Workers Union (TWU) and the United Steelworkers (USW).
Both unions oppose the federal government's plan to hand over a windfall entry into Canada for Verizon, a multinational corporation that dwarfs all Canadian wireless providers.
The TWU and the USW have a combined and unique perspective on the situation. The TWU represents close to 12,000 TELUS workers across Canada and the USW has been a longtime critic of the federal government's policies around foreign investment in Canada in manufacturing, steel, mining and other key sectors that drive our economy. The TWU and the USW are currently in talks to merge the two unions.
"The Conservatives' scheme for Verizon echoes the same failed plan they have presided over elsewhere. Far too often, their core economic policy has been to let big corporations from other countries take over key Canadian assets and forget about the consequences for workers and their communities. Not only is there no net benefit to Canada, these policies have been a net negative in terms of lost jobs and lost investment here in Canada," said USW Canadian National Director Ken Neumann.
"Stephen Harper plans to give Verizon not just a welcome mat, but privileged access to the Canadian market and a free ride on the back of networks that our members have built," said Lee Riggs, TWU National President. "It defies common sense."
Recently, the Conservative Party of Canada launched a website to peddle the Verizon deal.
"Canadians deserve better than an election website bought and paid for by the Conservative Party," said Neumann. "Instead of giving Verizon the keys to the kingdom, we think it is time to have a real discussion about how Canadian telecom policy affects jobs in Canada as well as the rights of communities, consumers, workers and retirees. Mr. Harper has an opportunity to do the right thing - he should take it."
In the United States, Verizon has a checkered history around corporate taxes, lobbying to erode consumer protection and favouring rich urban areas over rural and poorer neighbourhoods for its high-speed networks.
The TWU and the USW support the call by the federal NDP for a special hearing of the House of Commons Industry Committee on the future of Canada's wireless sector.
Telecommunications plays a vital role in Canada's economic development. The federal government should instead be looking at market guidelines to protect consumers, foster durable job growth in Canada and ensure consistent, top-quality service in all regions.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)For further information:
Lee Riggs, TWU National President, 604-437-8601
Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org