Greene Report ‘reset’ will hurt workers and impede economic recovery

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The Big Reset. The Report of the Premier's Economic Recovery Team

May 6, 2021

ST. JOHN’S —The slash-and-burn reset’ recommendations in the Greene Report would hurt Newfoundland and Labrador workers, cut vital social services and impede a post-pandemic economic recovery if implemented. 

“Greene’s Big Reset is a Big Failure, lacking imagination or a vision for the future that includes good jobs and strong public services,” said Unifor Regional Director Linda MacNeil. “A framework that starts with balancing the budget and ends with privatization is not a reset, it’s a step backwards.”

The report by the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team (PERT), headed by former Canada Post CEO Moya Greene, was mandated to review government expenditures, fiscal capacity, delivery of services and areas of economic growth.

“The ‘old fashioned economics’ in this report are textbook austerity measures that have proven to fail time and time again,” said MacNeil. “Moya Greene missed the opportunity to recommend bold action to create jobs, boost the economy and to build back better, instead opting to cut healthcare to the bone, hold a fire sale on government assets, attack pensions, and freeze worker’s wages.”

The report was delivered May 6, 2021, following the resignation of the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour Mary Shortall from PERT in January.

“We were not expecting this report to be favourable to workers but the scope of proposed cuts, freezes, and privatizing is shocking,” said MacNeil. “This so-called ‘reset’ is the exact opposite of the type of investment that Unifor has called for in recovery programs and infrastructure for the future.”

Almost a quarter of workers in Newfoundland and Labrador earn $15 an hour or less. The provincial minimum wage of $12.50 is among the lowest in the country, even with a recent increase last month.

“Increasing the minimum wage would lead to an immediate spending injection to local and provincial economies, instead these recommendations put less money in people’s pockets,” said MacNeil. “The economy is much more than government finances. Workers in low wage sectors need higher income to boost the economy from the bottom up.”

Unifor denounces austerity measures that disproportionately penalize lower income earners while simultaneously reducing access to social services. The union instead calls for increased investment in programs and growth sectors to stimulate economic recovery, as outlined in Unifor’s document Myth-Busting Government Debt: How Deficits and Spending Foster Growth.

Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

For media inquiries or to arrange a Skype, Zoom or Facetime interview please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at @email or 416-896-3303 (cell).