WATERLOO – Ontario NDP Economic development critic MPP Catherine Fife said today that the Wynne Liberals are failing workers at Northstar Aerospace. This morning, workers occupied the Northstar plant in Milton to demand the company address a significant shortfall in its pension fund before closing its doors at the end of September.
“Workers at Northstar are losing their jobs at the end of September when the company relocates to Chicago – if that wasn’t bad enough, they have a pension fund with a significant shortfall,” said Fife. “Without action, the people who worked hard and made that company profitable will be faced with a 24 per cent reduction in their pensions. Wynne and her Liberal government are doing nothing to help. It’s unacceptable.”
This is not the first time in recent months that the Wynne Liberals have been on the side of big business and not workers. Sears workers affected by the store’s bankruptcy have also been neglected by the Wynne Liberal government even after the Liberals signed on to an NDP motion at the provincial legislature that called for changed to bankruptcy law that mean workers get paid first when a company goes belly-up.
“Workers have spent years paying into their pension plans and earning contributions to those plans – it’s their money,” said Fife. “For a company to be able to take that money, close its doors and move down to the US is simply wrong. My heart goes out to these employees – and all the others that have faced similar situations in Ontario in the last few years and are now going to bed at night wondering if the savings they worked hard for will be wiped out.”
Fife said that Wynne and the Conservative leader have been silent on this issue because they’re not on the side of the workers. For his 17 years in politics, including nine years as a Harper MP, the Conservative leader has been a cut-and-privatize politician who supported anti-worker legislation. He voted for the anti-labour C-377 and for right-to-work legislation – attacks on unionized workers and he was there when Tim Hudak announced the Ontario Conservative plan to cut 100,000 jobs. When it comes to protecting workers, neither the Conservative or the Liberals can be trusted.
“The NDP knows whose side we’re on,” said Fife. “Executives, big corporations and foreign creditors can wait – Ontario workers should get every penny of what is owed to them.”