Posts Tagged ‘ anti-poverty ’

Fair Wages Now Takes On Temp Agencies!

Monday April 14, 2014, 11am: As part of the monthly Fair Wages Now province-wide day of action, PMUS and allies toured downtown Kitchener, distributing literature on the streets and making stops at a few of the temp agencies.  

The temp agency industry made $11.5 billion in revenues across Canada in 2012.  The majority of those revenues were made in Ontario (50% of the industry).  Ontario’s temp agency industry had revenues of $5.7 billion in 2012. The Canadian temp industry made just under $1 billion in profits in 2012 by exploiting the precarious income security of workers. 

Temp workers get paid 40% lower than permanent workers doing the same job, often at minimum wage jobs. A recent Labour Ministry labour enforcement blitz showed that 3 out of 4 temp agencies were violating basic employment standards. Ontario workers need decent wages, working conditions and a decent minimum wage!  With this is in mind, we took our demands directly to the offices.

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Stops included Express Employment Professionals, Pivotal Action Fare, Adecco and Liberty Staffing. Participants sought to speak with management but were not given that courtesy and instead read a statement denouncing the exploitation of temp workers. Responses varied at the temp agencies from hostility and dismissal through to the disclosure that one employee was involved in campaigning for an increase in the minimum wage. 

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Community response, both in the waiting rooms and on the streets, was very positive.

 

See a full province-wide round-up of events and learn more about the campaign at www.raisetheminimumwage.ca

 
 
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In Waterloo Region, join Poverty Makes Us Sick and allies to demand an end to poverty wages!
 
@kwpmus
 
The KW mobilization of the Fair Wages Now campaign is facilitated by Poverty Makes Us Sick with the support and endorsement of Waterloo Region Labour Council and KOALA, and the coordination of Workers Action Centre (Toronto)
 
Source: Statistics Canada (2012) Employment Services Service bulletin Catalogue no. 63-252-X online:http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/63-252-x/63-252-x2014001-eng.pdf
 
Source: Statistics Canada, (2005) Study: Earnings of temporary versus permanent employees, The Daily, Wednesday January 26, 2005. online: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/050126/dq050126b-eng.htm
 
 

 

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Ontario Liberal Convention, 2014

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                                   When Our Pots Are Empty, They Become A Weapon

March 22, 2014:  Raise the Rates organizations from across the province converged on Toronto to march on the Ontario Liberal Convention.  Joined by No One Is Illegal, Fair Wages Now and Labour allies, the messaging of the day emphasized the need for solidarity between poor people, migrants and other working people.  Poverty Makes Us Sick organized free buses from both Kitchener and Ottawa.  PMUS is thrilled to now be operating in both cities. The Ottawa bus also joined our friends and allies in Kingston Coalition Against Poverty for the trip. The march and rally was attended by a few hundred people, who banged their empty pots and pans – and the windows of the convention centre – to the beats of Rhythms of Resistance.

Jointly, we demand an immediate increase in social assistance rate by 55%, the full restoration of the Specials Diet Allowance and CSUMB, no OW/ODSP merger, access to services and access to a living income – beginning with an immediate increase in minimum wage to $14.      In the case of ‘failed’ Refugee Claimants, seeking acceptance on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds, we demand access to income itself. 

The Ontario Liberals, under “social justice” Premier Kathleen Wynne, have continued escalating their attack on the poor, overseeing the further degradation of and already inadequate social assistance regime and leaving full time workers below the poverty line.  We resist their assault.  This march and rally, along with OCAPs disruption of the Liberals $1500 a plate gala earlier in the week, serve as but one public front in a daily struggle to end this injustice.  We choose to survive the death sentence of their welfare.  We will endure their indignities and their beatings and we will win our just demands.

In addition to PMUS’s new work in Ottawa, where a re-energized Raise the Rates mobilization is rapidly taking shape, organizers with PMUS Waterloo Region have been bottom-lining work with the Community Coalition On Refugee and Immigrant Concerns, the Sanctuary City Network and members of No One Is Illegal (Toronto), to build a Sanctuary City campaign in Kitchener.  Initiated by PMUS, the work has been ongoing for some time and is about to have a public launch including the formation of a community steering committee.

Poverty Makes Us Sick remains committed to economic justice for all. 

Check out this video of the march and rally, disrupting the Ontario Liberal Convention!
Posted on Toronto Media Co-op by our friends and allies at the Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance:
http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/video/anti-poverty-march-disrupts-liberal-convention-tor/22267

 

PMUS on Line 9

February 21, 2014:  NEB Line 9 hearings report; Not Worth The Risk, released in KW. The report, compiled by Rising Tide Toronto and Toronto West End Against Line 9, showcases a staggering range of injustices associated with Enbridge’s Tar Sand proposal for Line 9. Poverty Makes Us Sick member Mark Corbiere presented a statement speaking to issues of poverty brought forward in the report. Thank you to our friends and allies at Waterloo Region Against Line 9 and Grand River Indigenous Solidarity for inviting us to speak at the press conference for the KW launch of this important report.  See link below for more details and to read the report.

Poverty Makes Us Sick’s statement:

Poverty Makes Us Sick is pleased to offer our voice to highlight the release of this important report.  We thank Waterloo Region Against Line 9 for inviting us and offer our support to all those fighting against this dangerous venture.

Moreover, as an organization struggling for justice against the exploits of capitalism and colonialism, we know that this struggle is our struggle.  Within this well cited and widely endorsed report we can see clearly the intersections of our work.

Our organization’s name, Poverty Makes Us Sick, is a reference to the fact that poverty is the number one social determinant of poor health.  We see in this report that the reversal of Line 9, pumping dilbit, is perhaps the number one commercial determinant of poor health – one that affects the land and all living things.

The risks posed to the watershed and to agriculture are great.  This project threatens our ability to produce healthy foods and have a safe habitat for ourselves and other life.  Poor people are already barred access to such things and this proposal seeks to escalate that denial of access while casting the net to include all non-elites of the area. 

The dangers of this pipeline will have a disproportionate impact on First Peoples. As the report shows us, Line 9 passes within 50 km of 18 First Nation communities, and impacts the watersheds of several more.  First Peoples also experience poverty at higher rates than the wider population. The deadly practices of capitalism and colonialism are left exposed by this report.

So, what are the promises of the proposal for Line 9?  Jobs?  The report brings forward a quote from Mike Harris piece in the Financial Post suggesting, “Ontario will gain 3,250 person years of direct and indirect employment, and Quebec will gain 1,969 person-years [over three decades].” The report then points out that this calculation amounts to merely 200 jobs a year in Ontario. Mike Harris is no friend of the worker, the poor or First Peoples.  We cannot take his word:  he is the one who gutted social assistance in 1995, leaving many more to suffer in deeper and deeper poverty.  Mike Harris conspired in Ipperwash and played no small role in the murder of Dudley George.  If he says ‘as low as 200 jobs’, it might mean more like 50.

Not only is there little guarantee of any significant employment stemming from this project but, in fact, it is likely to be a huge burden on taxpayers in Ontario, with the province on the hook to pay for large parts of any clean up efforts and healthcare costs associated with a leak or other disaster.  The Ontario Liberals have, since taking power, continued scrapping and gutting needed benefits for the poor in Ontario.  Social assistance rates remain woefully inadequate.  As active members of the provincial Raise the Rates campaign, we demand an immediate increase of 55%.  Instead of keeping all Ontarians healthy, the Ontario Liberals would rather offer taxpayer dollars as subsidies for wealthy industries to commit ecocide.

Finally, we will close our statement by speaking to the tar sands contribution to climate change.  Climate change has lead to a whole new type of refugee – the climate refugee.  Though not recognized by the Harper government, this reality is but another example of how marginalized and overwhelmingly racialized people are disproportionately affected by the devastation of the energy industry. Climate refugees are threatened with deep poverty as displaced peoples.

Whether through ecocide or direct attacks on the poor, Poverty Makes Us Sick opposes the deadly exploits of our current, unsustainable, economic order.

See the KW press release and link to the National Energy Board Line 9 Hearing Report; Not Worth The Risk, here

Raise the Minimum Wage – Monthly Event, December 14th

Saturday December 14th, 2-4pm
Fairview Mall, Bay entrance (near bus depot)

Distribute candy canes, have $14 Now holiday cards filled in to send to Premier Wynne

Dress up as an Elf, Mrs Claus, Santa or a Reindeer
Community Positive, Kid Friendly

Last month the growing province wide campaign visited 60 MPP’s!
PMUS and allies were able to secure the full endorsement of Kitchener-Waterloo NDP MPP Catherine Fife.  MPP Fife is the Labour and Economic Development Critic and has demonstrated her commitment to winning Fair Wages.  Our strong local efforts are seeing great successes.  Labour activists lead a delegation to Liberal MPP John Milloy’s office. MPP Milloy has yet to endorse the campaign.   We applaud MPP Fife for her integrity and for her commitment to serving the community in tangible ways. 

This month lets flood Premier Wynne with greeting cards demanding an immediate increase in minimum wage.
$14 Now!  Fair Wages Now!

See roundup of last months actions, here.

To get involved in Waterloo Region contact: forspecialdiet@gmail.com
Facebook: Poverty Makes Us Sick!
@kwpmus, #fairwagesnow

Learn about the Province wide campaign: rasietheminimumwage.ca

The Waterloo Region mobilization of the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage is co-facilitated by Poverty Makes Us Sick with the endorsement and support of the Waterloo Region Labour Council and Kitchener Ontario Animal Liberation Alliance in coordination with Workers Action Centre.

 

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