Thursday, February 12, 2009

In support of northern workers

This week Northern Ontario workers in Marathon, Thunder Bay
and Sudbury received devastating news.

The Thunder Bay Chronicle reported that 1,000 laid-off workers
at Buchanan Forest Products' three Thunder Bay lumber mills will
not be getting their severance pay.

The paper also reported 200 workers at Marathon Pulp Inc.
learned on Tuesday their plant is being idled and they are losing
their jobs. This despite an agreement last fall by plant workers
to cut their pay by 12 per cent.

And in Sudbury, the Star reported today that 700 workers laid
off at Xstrata are resigned to not getting their jobs back.

Here are some quotes from these papers about what workers are

From Buchanan:
"Same stuff we've been hearing for years, nothing new," said one
employee on his way out the door.

"I should have just stayed home. It's the same old story –
there is no light at the end of the tunnel," said another.

From Xstrata:

"There's no real hope for this thing to turn around and us get
our jobs back in the next couple of months, or even in the next
year or two, maybe," said miner Darren Anderson, 29.

"I've been laid off, I've got a wife and two kids and we bought
a house when I started (three years ago), so it's going to be
a struggle," Anderson said.

And the Thunder Bay Chronicle reported that workers at Marathon
Pulp were shocked but not surprised as the plant had been
struggling as much as other area mills with high costs and a
slump in product demand.

This is Dalton McGuinty's status quo. It's wrong and it won't
stop until we:

• give northerners control over their economic destiny with a Northern hydro
system and a commitment to keep resource revenue in the North.
• save forestry jobs by embracing a value-added forestry
• Promote new industries for the North such as light-rail

I will be in Thunder Bay Friday morning meeting with workers
representatives because workers need to know that McGuinty's
lack of action doesn't mean there is no hope.

Ontario New Democrats will work with our federal counterparts
in the North to help workers get the severance pay they earned
from Buchanan. At a time when Canadian workers are footing the
bill for billions of dollars given to banks, we will not allow
workers to be denied their severance pay during these tough times.

We have made-in-Ontario solutions to bring down the costs for
small plants like Marathon Pulp to keep workers on the job.

As leader of the Ontario NDP, I will work with our northern
federal counterparts to fight for workers.

I will be in Subury on Sunday, February 15 and Monday morning
when I will meet with workers and their representatives.
Ontario New Democrats are committed to fighting alongside northern
workers to keep their jobs and to help northerners gain more
control over revenue generated from northern natural resources.

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