CUPE National President Paul Moist once again hosted a breakfast at the CUPE Alberta Convention to talk about the role of workers in the economy. The breakfast presentation was part two of the economic literacy program started in 2011 by Moist to help explain the causes of the 2008 global recession. This 2014 edition focused on how the on-going economic recovery is impacting workers.
The presentation showed how corporate profits and CEO bonuses have grown steadily since the 2008 economic meltdown, but the same can’t be said for average Canadians. “That is a recipe for crisis down the road,” said Moist.
“Canadians are being told cuts to public sector pensions, corporate tax cuts, and increasing privatization through risky P3s , are all necessary for economic growth,” said Moist.
“Even thought the government continues to tell us that corporate tax cuts will boost economic development, the opposite is true,” said Moist, showing that corporations are sitting on over $600 billion in profits and not investing them into the economy.
Moist added, “For all those who might still think Harper and the Conservatives are good economic managers, this is evidence that they most certainly are not!”
Moist showed that the cuts being promoted by right-wing governments are damaging the economy because they are hurting workers.
“As public sector workers, we are told that we must make sacrifices for the sake of the economy. But that doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Moist. “We need workers to have decent wages for the economy to thrive.”
Moist showed wages for workers have been stagnant. “Increasingly, our economy is controlled by the wealthy. In fact, the 85 wealthiest individuals in the world have as much wealth as 3.5 billion people: half of humanity.”
Moist pointed to strong public services – like childcare and universal public health care – as ways that can boost our economy and at the same time help workers.
Unions advocating for strong public services as a way to combat inequality is the reason behind government legislation attacking the labour movement.
“Instead of sharing the wealth and prosperity, conservatives are using government to weaken their opponents and to enrich their wealthy friends,” said Moist. “That is why the Unite for Fairness project is absolutely crucial to increasing economic justice and taking back our democracy.”
Contact: Lou Arab