Retiree Report October 2018

Retiree Chairperson’s Report – October 2018

Well, the Fall is here! Things are going well with the Retirees Centre and in the local union itself. The battle with Ford’s government is finally gaining some strength. We have a bus going to Toronto next week on Tuesday October 23rd, 2018 for the rally to defend our healthcare system which is going to be facing greater attacks. The bus will be leaving the union hall at 9:30 a.m. sharp.

Ford is talking about changing back the province’s labour laws.  The Liberals changed them for the better in several ways that include having the minimum wage increased to $15 an hour on January 1st, 2019.  This government is not there for workers in Ontario.  Knowing the Tories as I do, they will make more changes in the labour laws that will be really bad for workers in Ontario.  These changes will be in addition to other things that they will do to change healthcare and drug plans. Expect a government means test to separate the haves and the have nots when it comes to who gets healthcare coverage. Anyone with gray hair in their head will remember the 1970’s.  My daughter was born on January 13th, 1970.  By the time she was five years old, I had paid out in 10% payments about $5000 for doctors at Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital and in London, Ontario.

The new trade agreement USMCA replacing NAFTA did not change a lot for the auto industry in Canada and it is still being hammered by tariffs on steel and aluminum.  There are changes in the agreement allowing drug companies to get (2) more years of patent protection for the drugs they make thereby allowing them to make even more money for an additional two years.  This will make the drug benefits paid for in our Health Care Trust cost more.

Dairy farmers also took a hit by letting the American dairy producers, who are less regulated and whose products are not as safe, to ship more dairy products to Canada.  The Canadian government says it will pay Canadian farmers for their losses in income but that is just an unacceptable band aid solution.   We are all being put at greater risk.

I think we should start putting resolutions together for the 2019 Retiree Workers Conference and should have boycotts of American dairy products.  Let’s also start putting some resolutions in each month starting in the Spring of 2019.

Fred Dougan
Chairperson, Retiree Chapter, Unifor Local 199