McMaster University Workers Rally for Pensions

August 12, 2009, 11:40 AM EST

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Hundreds of CAW members, community allies, politicians and retired workers rallied at McMaster University to demand the school reach a fair deal with CAW Local 555 members that protects pensions.

In a noon-hour demonstration on July 30, protesters heard from a range of supporters including federal and provincial politicians and local labour representatives.

Assistant to CAW National President Peggy Nash re-affirmed that the bargaining committee, supported by the members, is fighting for fair pensions. "You didn't create this economic crisis and you shouldn't be held liable for it," said Nash.

Federal NDP pension critic and Hamilton East/ Stoney Creek MP Wayne Marston warned demonstrators of the strong trend towards Defined Contribution pension plans in the United States and cautioned against allowing this to move to sweep over the country.

Paul Miller, Ontario NDP pension critic and MPP for Hamilton East, echoed his comments, saying that across the country, unions are being attacked in an attempt to lower living standards and create a society of "$10 an hour wage earners."

Matt Root, president of CAW Local 555, encouraged all members and supporters to make their frustrations known in a letter to McMaster University President Dr. Peter George.  A sample letter can be found at:

Demonstrators also heard from McMaster University's Labour Studies Department Dr. Wayne Lewchuk said that in his 30 year career at McMaster, the university has always been in dire straights, according to the administration, when it came time to negotiate contracts with staff.

Don Fraser, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council also brought greetings and support from the 40,000 workers represented by the labour council.

Negotiations have been ongoing with McMaster University since April and the current collective agreement expired in June.


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