Georgetti Responds to Coon Come on Anti-Scab Legislation

Opponents of Bill C-257 need to identify a purpose served by replacement workers other than strengthening the bargaining position of employers in relation to their employees. Hence the misleading claim that replacement workers are needed to provide essential services during labour disputes.

Matthew Coon Come, a former aboriginal political leader who became a corporate CEO, has lent his support to the business case against Bill C-257. In Wednesday’s National Post, he invented an apocalyptic scenario in which remote aboriginal communities would starve without replacement workers to deliver their food. Today’s National Post included a slightly shortened version of Ken Georgetti’s response to this nonsense:

Matthew Coon Come has a new voice: it’s that of a CEO of a corporation who along with his big business buddies wants you to believe that it is the interests of working Canadians they are really worried about.

Essential services are protected by both the Canada Labour Code and other statutes that deal specifically with federal public services. Passing Bill C-257 does nothing to diminish those protections. Those protections are contained in section 87.4 of the Canada Labour Code which are in effect and will remain in effect. The argument to the contrary is simply not true.

The truth is that in the last six years there have been only seven lockouts or strikes in the federal sector and in every circumstance the parties have, on their own, agreed to the maintenance of essential services to the complete satisfaction of the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

Mr. Coon Come in his new role, conveniently forgets the assistance and support native peoples have received from the working men and women who make up the union movement. Whether it was treaty negotiations in British Columbia, Ipperwash or New Caledonia, unions and their members have always been there.

Our history shows that we are not a movement that will allow the health and safety of any community – aboriginal or otherwise – to be threatened through job action. Essential services are always maintained in accordance with the law.

He is using the same type of scare tactic that has been used against the settlement of aboriginal claims in Canada and Matthew Coon Come should be ashamed of himself.

Ken Georgetti,

President

Canadian Labour Congress

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