On Wednesday, April 18th at the membership meeting we had a surprise visit from Unifor member and former president Wayne Gates. Wayne stopped in at the membership meeting to talk to our members about the upcoming elections in June 7th. Wayne Gates was the president of local 199 for 12 years, Wayne said he was very happy as president but when the conservative government threw down the gauntlet and declared they would cut jobs, attack unions, the rand formula and bring in Right to work legislation he decided to get more involved in provincial politics. If Tim Hudack had been successful we would have lost 100,000 good paying jobs. Wayne was subsequently elected in the by-election and again a few months later.
Wayne reminded the GM members in the room that when the Auto industry was in crisis the conservative were saying let it die, thousands of jobs would have been lost, the retirees pensions would have been worth 30 cents on the dollar and retirees would have lost all health care benefits. When it came time for negotiations it was the conservatives that were demanding concessions of our members as a condition of financial assistance to save our jobs. Given these facts it’s hard to imagine why autoworker would vote for the conservatives.
Talking about Bill 148 and personal paid leave Gates said “Autoworkers are being treated differently which is wrong, everyone should be treated the same when it comes to personal paid leave. Wayne talked about the NDP platform, which includes Healthcare, Pharmacare, the need for long term care beds and dental care. Kathleen Wynne is saying there is no crisis in health care but after holding a forum on healthcare in Niagara Falls Wayne knows Kathleen Wynne is wrong. Wayne said “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after hearing the personal accounts of terrible conditions pertaining to lack of beds and poor care in Niagara”
Wayne told us that the provincial government is collecting 25 million dollars interest for student loans. “It’s not right, we shouldn’t be charging students for getting an education and trying to better themselves. Wayne wrapped up by thanking the membership for their support over the years. “I would not have been an MPP if it wasn’t for my Union and your support” Wayne said he enjoyed his time as a union president and would never leave his roots behind.
Before he left Wayne said he once again was asking for the support of our members, “You need a need strong voice and I’m the only UAW/CAW/Unifor member elected in provincial parliament.” If elected Wayne said he will continue to give every ounce of energy to making the province a better place for everyone.
Wayne Gates constituency office is at 4030 Montrose Road, Niagara Falls, , any member would like to volunteer some time to help Wayne, stop in or call 905-356-9303.
A Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled at the Union Hall, Wednesday May 16th to talk about the upcoming elections. The meeting is scheduled between the retirees and general membership meeting at 4 pm everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend.
Unifor Local 199