I am REPRODUCING, in full, the following letter I received from Canada:
Please feel free to send feedback or to forward.
From: KERRY HINZMAN
Subject: CAW workers concessionsDate: Monday, April 20, 2009, 10:01 AM
I am a second generation worker who earns an hourly rate of $33.85 (with the pay stubs to prove it!) a far cry from the government and companies claim I earn $76 an hour because they have included costs from every disabled worker, every retired worker (living or dead) and his spouse or surviving spouse and their dependents and declared it to be my wage. Are you aware they have even included unemployment insurance when I am laid off as a part of my wage?
Talk about dishonest!
Toyota has no pensioners in this country because they have not been here long enough to have workers on pensions so of course they have zero legacy costs in Canada.
There is no way for CAW workers to compete with them on this fact (our wages however are almost identical) unless you'd like to pile all of our retired workers onto an ice flow to appease Tony Clement and Stephen Harper and the companies who seem indifferent to the fact that these workers earned those pensions with 30 to 40 years of hard work.
What this government is doing by including auto workers as stakeholders and using the blackmail tactic of withholding loans to these companies unless workers take a $19 an hour pay cut is shameful!
Workers are not stakeholders, we do not earn profits, at the very most we earn an hourly wage which we break our bodies for and a pension we more than deserve at the end of the 30 years or more IF we are still alive to collect it.
The Harper government that is trying to dictate and blackmail unionized workers and force them into poverty without pensions is the same government that has their hand in my pocket taking 46% of my cheque each week, the same government who is saying sorry we cannot guarantee your pensions yet this government sets their own wage and their own pensions after one term in office, that is 4 years!
We have been made the scapegoats of an economic crisis that would have happened regardless of whether we earned $34 or 34 cents and hour. An economic crisis that this government played a major roll in creating yet are now trying to pin the price tag for their mistakes onto the shoulders of the working class people of this country?
Out of 20 countries who are helping their auto industries Canada is only one of two who are using the economic crisis as its opportunity to break the union and push these workers into poverty.
This is a free country and no government (aside from a dictatorship) has the right to dictate how much a man or woman can earn in a free society. Especially when that government is living off the taxes of the very men and women they are trying to push into poverty.
Talk about bite the hand that feeds!
And speaking of biting the hand that feeds, these companies really need to wake up because the very people they are trying to push into more and more concessions are the same people they rely on to buy their products.
The workers are the customers who drive what we build (one walk through our parking lots will prove this), if they'd like to see us earning a non-union wage they better hadn't expect us to be buying union made vehicles with that non-union wage, we can purchase a Kia for much cheaper.
Loyalty is a two way street and perhaps they need to be reminded of this. We may only be workers but we are thousands of workers, thousands of workers with thousands of families and thousands of friends.
If they burn the employer/employee bridge they can expect it paid back ten fold when these workers return the favour.
Ask these companies if they want to take from us now in the form of concessions and lose from us later in the form of car payments.
Less than a year ago workers from the big three gave back to these companies more than 900 million dollars in concessions (independent of government blackmail!) when they signed to accept a contract to carry us through to 2011.
Now it appears these concessions were not enough in the eyes of the company as these companies are now asking for ever more in what we the workers of these companies are viewing as a personal attack on us by the government and the companies we have loyally worked for all these years.
Does Tony Clement want these workers working and contributing to the faltering economy or at home on IE or welfare draining it?
The choice is theirs, this government needs to give these companies loans without the strings attached that the workers shoulder the blame in the form of concessions.
There is no reason to attach these kind of conditions to the 'loans' (bailouts are not paid back, loans are paid back with interest!) other than breaking the union and targeting hard working men and women.
Especially when you consider that these loans are nothing compared to the secret free hand out/bailout the Harper government slipped under the table to the banks, behind the backs of the taxpayers!
Kerry Hinzman CAW local 707