Message from GVP Stan Pickthall to IAM members – 6 April, 2020
TEXT OF GVP STAN PICKTHALL’S VIDEO
Sisters and Brothers, my name is Stan Pickthall and I’m the General Vice-President of the Machinists Union here in Canada.
It’s been four weeks now since we called a pandemic, and lives have changed for all of us in so many ways. We’re staying at home, we’re staying socially isolated, we’re staying physically isolated and we’re trying to maintain distance in order to do our part in flattening the curve of this virus that has gripped the planet.
I will tell you that over those four weeks, our staff have been working non-stop to try to work with our members. Almost half of the members working in Canada have now been laid-off or placed on off-duty status – or other forms of being out- of-work.
We’ve seen the government come forward with various programs from Employment Insurance to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and various other programs. And I’m sure more will be rolled out.
I will tell you that we’ve been working with our members and with our representatives to try to put information forward. And if you’re on our website – IAMAW.CA, you will see the information that’s there. There are many, many pages and I urge you to read them.
We’ve talked about how members can access the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will provide $500 per week to those who have lost their jobs and have no other income coming in.
We’ve got information about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which will pay up to $847 – 75%of earnings, up to $847. This should be matched by a 25% contribution from the employer. And those who can get this can get up to $1129 a week.
This conversation is going forward across the country and we’re answering lots and lots of calls. We’ve had a conversation with Minister Garneau and Minister Morneau about providing relief to industry. And what can we do?
And we’re saying it must be workers first. We must preserve jobs for workers. We must preserve incomes for workers. And that’s the priority. And that will maintain to be the priority for the Canadian Machinists. And just yesterday, we released a letter that we sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that if we can find a way to re-purpose some industry in Canada towards providing personal protective equipment to those on the front line, those are the health workers. Those are the people who are working in airports. Those are the people who are facing the public daily, the grocery store workers. They need to be protected so that the infrastructure that we need in our country can be maintained. There’s a lot of work that’s been done. There’s a lot of more work to do. That’s to come. I know it looks like this is going to go forward for weeks, if not months longer. For those of you who are out of work and those you who are at work wherever possible, stay home.
If you don’t have to be out, stay physically isolated from others so we don’t spread this disease any further. And sisters and brothers, stay safe. Thank you.