The Conservatives' EI proposal would help only “long-tenured workers,” those who have contributed to the EI program for at least seven out of 10 calendar years and who have received regular EI benefits for no more than 35 weeks in the past five years. It would extend their benefits by between five and 20 weeks.If this is what the bill truly says (since we are all living in the land of speculation at the moment), then Layton can call a news conference, have the presidents of the big unions and the CLC standing with him and reject the bill. He can have the union leaders give his decision context. In my opinion, if that is the thrust of the bill, Layton not only can do this, he should. Recommend this Post
But as Toronto labour economist Armine Yalnizyan points out, the program's restrictions act against the nature of much of Canada's industry – manufacturing, the oil patch, forestry and, increasingly, the service sector – that is subject to periodic layoffs.
Plus, she said, the government is not addressing what the program was designed to be: an economic stabilizer that would prop up consumer spending during an economic downtown and a cushion to prevent middle class unemployed workers from slipping into destitution if they were suddenly hit by major expenditures.Laurel Ritchie, national representative of the Canadian Auto Workers, said few laid-off members of her union – “only handfuls” – have been able to meet the long-tenure definition.
Canadian Labour Congress economist Andrew Jackson said his understanding of the new proposal is that it would fully apply only to unemployed workers who have initiated a claim to EI benefits since the beginning of the year.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
From the Globe today, comes these tidbits about labor reaction to the EI proposals: