CEP President Urges Continued Solidarity During the Economic Crisis

August 19, 2009, 11:39 AM EST

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"We need to light a fire, a really big fire," CEP President David Coles told delegates to the CAW's 9th Constitutional Convention.

Coles said the entire labour movement has been under siege during the current global economic crisis and the labour movement needs to join together to launch a strong fightback.

In Canada, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) union members continue to face the crunch, especially those in the forestry sector, where up to 80 per cent of union members will have lost their jobs by the time the fallout is over.

On top of the overall economic crisis, Canadian forestry workers have been impacted by U.S. government subsidies. Some provincial governments such as Quebec and Newfoundland have stepped forward to help forestry workers and their families, but the federal Conservatives have in effect called forestry a sunset industry.

Coles blasted the Stephen Harper Conservatives for their refusal to truly help workers and their families in the 300 forestry communities across Canada where CEP members face daily struggles to protect their jobs and the very future of this critical industry.
Many forestry employers have used this economic crisis as an excuse to attack the rights of workers. Coles urged all workers to push for a progressive economic system that provides workers a say and ensures that they get their fair share back.

He pledged to ensure that the Harper Conservatives pay the price in the next election for the neglect and hardship they have fostered in those 300 communities.

CEP, like the CAW, is determined to fight back across all sectors of the economy, which are suffering from a global economy that continues to fail workers.

Coles thanked CAW members for their support in numerous campaigns including the recent boycott of Petro Canada to raise awareness of the plight of 300 CEP members who were locked out at a Montreal refinery. The boycott ensured a successful conclusion to the dispute with no concessions given by the workers.

CAW President Ken Lewenza thanked Coles for the continuing solidarity and support of CEP in numerous fightbacks across the country.

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