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Federal budget must support workers, strengthen Canada: United Steelworkers union

April 7, 2022

TORONTO – Two weeks after the NDP struck a deal to deliver for people, and two years after the pandemic began, the United Steelworkers union (USW) is calling on the federal government to use Thursday’s budget to show they are listening to workers and committed to securing a stronger economy that will create jobs and support people across Canada.

“It’s been a hard two years. The recent agreement with the NDP, along with a couple of other measures to protect Canadian jobs and workers’ rights, provides the opportunity to turn the corner and help people build for the future,” said USW National Director Marty Warren. “Everyone will benefit if the Liberals deliver on their commitments to make the richest corporations pay a little more and fund supports for families, like dental care, housing and retrofit programs.”

Warren noted, after the last two years, it is crucial for the Liberals to take concrete action to have the backs of working people. Instead of being left at the back of the line of creditors in cases of corporate bankruptcy, the law must be changed to ensure that workers can access the entirety of the pensions they earned throughout their careers. Changes are also needed to bring Canada in line with other countries that allow labour unions to initiate actions on behalf of workers in case of a trade dispute.

“We need to see a real plan to defend and create jobs, protect workers’ pensions, and since they’re refusing to properly protect workers, they need to stop blocking labour unions from directly fighting for members when foreign countries’ unfair trade practices  threaten our jobs.”

When it comes to reducing emissions, the lower-carbon footprint of Canadian-made steel, aluminum, cement and wood products and other resources must be a central part of any plan or agreement – domestic or international. The government also needs to ensure that these low-carbon materials are used to build all public Canadian infrastructure projects.

“People need the federal government to deliver for them,” said Warren. “With their recent agreement, the NDP set some important and clear yardsticks to make sure they do just that with the supports they’ve secured. This budget is the first test of the agreement and workers across the country are watching.”

Summary of key USW federal budget priorities:

  • Starting to deliver on promises negotiated by the NDP in the recent NDP-Liberal agreement.
  • Raising the ultra-low corporate tax rate to help fund programs like dental care, housing and retrofitting.
  • Investing in job creation and ensuring public infrastructure projects are made with Canadian materials.
  • Changing corporate bankruptcy laws to ensure that workers can access the entirety of the pensions.
  • Bringing rules around trade remedies in line with other countries where unions can initiate actions on behalf of workers.

The United Steelworkers union represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

Marty Warren, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 647-522-1630,

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