On the third day of the CLC Convention the discussion and debates focused on climate change. As one of the greatest challenges facing workers in Canada the Convention adopted a plan, outlined in the Green Jobs for a Fair Future policy, to guide the country through a necessary just transition to a green economy. Unifor’s delegation voted overwhelmingly to support the position paper and delegates pledged to take action for just transition.
Ken Smith, President of Unifor Local 707A, came from Fort McMurray to represent his members at the Convention. Smith explained his support for just transition and the plan saying, “It’s the right thing to do and it’s the right time.” He added that unions have an important role to lead the country towards just transition and the establishment of good, green jobs.
The policy paper calls on the CLC to lobby and work towards green jobs in home and building retrofits, expand public transit, ensure responsible resource development, and at the core, just transition for workers whose lives are already dramatically changed by climate change.
Affiliates at Convention also unanimously adopted an emergency resolution demanding the federal government take swift action to support communities affected by the massive tariffs levied by the US on Canadian softwood. It’s estimated that these tariffs could lead to the loss of 25,000 jobs in Canada.
“My father and grandfather still live off the forest. Our industry is totally integrated and as soon as one aspect is attacked, everything is attacked,” Unifor Quebec Director Renaud Gagné gave an impassioned defense of softwood lumber and of forestry in Canada. He urged the labour movement to press for urgent government action and investment to save the vital industry and thousands of jobs.
Canada’s forestry sector directly employs 202,000 people from every region of the country. Add your name to this letter demanding the federal government take action to protect forestry workers and include unions in the fight for a fair trade deal.