VANCOUVER, April 18, 2013 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) members from
across Canada are calling for an end to the Harper government's
scandal-plagued Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
More than 650 delegates to the USW's National Policy Conference in
Vancouver passed a resolution Thursday calling for Harper's FTWP to be
scrapped in favour of a system that does not exploit foreign workers
and that promotes skills training and job creation.
Chaka Rukobo, a Steelworkers member from Yellowknife, NWT, who
immigrated to Canada 12 years ago, said he is appalled by the extent of
the abuse of the FTWP under the Harper government.
"We all like to have our double-double in the morning. But do we want to
get that double-double from someone who has been brought into this
country to be exploited?" Rukobo asked during debate on the resolution.
"I see the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for what it is - it's a race
to the bottom. We have a duty to challenge this kind of thing."
"The Harper government has been abusing the Temporary Foreign Worker
Program as part of its low-wage economic strategy for our country,"
said Ken Neumann, USW National Director for Canada.
"We are adamantly opposed to a policy that seeks to undermine our
Canadian standard of living while continuing to exploit new arrivals to
our shores," Neumann said.
The Steelworkers' resolution endorsed a national campaign that will work
- "Scrap the federal TFWP and replace it with measures that ensure that
if temporary foreign workers are employed in Canada, they be provided
full rights of employment, with aggressive enforcement" of labour laws.
- "Make training available to Canadians including First Nations and
others who face higher levels of unemployment to prepare them for the
jobs of the future."
- "Promote, where necessary, full immigration to fill shortages of
In keynote address to the USW policy conference Thursday, Federal New
Democratic Party Leader Tom Mulcair slammed the Harper Conservatives'
mismanagement of the temporary foreign workers program, saying a
complete overhaul is needed.
The Steelworkers' position also was endorsed by special guests to the
USW conference, representing First Nations and Chinese Canadian
The USW has launched legal proceedings in Federal Court to challenge the
Harper government's approval for temporary foreign workers to replace
existing employees at RBC.
The USW also played a leading role in exposing the Conservative
government's approval for hiring temporary foreign workers for mining
jobs in British Columbia even though hundreds of Canadian applicants
were not even granted interviews.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
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