Labour activists take to the streets

 

Organizing is the only way workers have ever won battles, and it is the only way they ever will. To that end, hundreds of labour and community activists recently took to the streets in defence of strong Crown corporations and robust public services.

 

In September dozens of workers in Moose Jaw from Unifor, SGEU, CUPE, SEIU-West, and the Moose Jaw and District Labour Council gathered in front of Sask. Party MLA Warren Michelson’s constituency office to protest the Sask. Party government’s aggressive privatization agenda.

 

“It is no accident that we are gathered here today,” said SFL president Larry Hubich at the rally, “the Sask. Party government has embarked on an aggressive privatization experiment, and not only is it costing taxpayers millions of dollars but it’s costing job all across the province – including here in Moose Jaw,” he added.

 

“The Sask. Party MLAs from Moose Jaw – Warren Michelson and Greg Lawrence – have not only remained silent while dozens of good jobs have left our economy, but they’ve actively supported this sell-off of our Crowns and public services,” said Hubich. He then called on workers to fire any politician that refuses to stand up for Saskatchewan jobs, and said they could do so during the April 4th, 2016 provincial election.

 

In October two rallies in defence of Crowns and public services were held – one in Yorkton and one in Saskatoon.

 

Combined, hundreds of workers participated in the two rallies.

 

“Privatization means the benefits of strong Crowns and public services get ripped out of our communities, and given to out-of-province corporations – sold, it seems, to the lowest bidder,” said Kent Peterson on behalf of the Own It! campaign to the Yorkton rally, “when we lose our Crowns and public services, it means we lose transparency, accountability, and it means we lose them forever,” he added.

 

“I don’t care what Brad Wall said to get elected,” Hubich told the Yorkton rally, “he and his Sask. Party government are tearing down the Crowns that built Saskatchewan, and they are exporting good local jobs,” he added.

In Saskatoon over 500 labour and community activists gathered outside the Government of Saskatchewan cabinet office in the city’s downtown.

 

At the Saskatoon rally Hubich read the crowd a quote: “Crowns are not going to be privatized and [subsidiaries] are not going to be wound down.”

 

“That was said by Brad Wall in September of 2007. In November of that year he was elected premier,” explained Hubich, before citing nearly a dozen instances of Crown privatization from the Sask. Party’s first two years in government. “The sad part is, I could go on,” said Hubich, “the Sask. Party is privatizing behind the backs of Saskatchewan voters!”

 

After being provided a large number of additional privatization experiments – prisons, hospitals, surgeries, MRIs, selling-off Crowns, bypasses – Own It! campaigner, Kent Peterson, offered the Saskatoon crowd a chance to organize against privatization.

 

“We need to act right now to stop the sell-off, and say YES to the benefits of Crowns and public services,” said Peterson, “the only way to do that is if you engage in the Own It! campaign and volunteer with us. Sign-up at www.OwnYourSask.ca, and be prepared to do the work that is necessary as we get closer to April 4th to fire any politician that dare sell-out Saskatchewan and sell-off what belongs to all of us,” he added.

Saskatchewan's Labour Movement: the folks who brought you the constitutional right to strike!