Hollywood, MD – International President Bob Martinez loves to talk to Canadian members whenever the chance occurs but seldom does he get the opportunity to talk the entire Canadian staff, leadership and local lodge executives in one room. He did just that today during his address to the 2017 Canadian staff and leadership symposium at the IAM W3 Centre.
“We have listened to our members on how we can improve our great union,” said Martinez. “We have stressed the need to organize but we can’t organize unless there are jobs and I don’t have to remind you that Canada has lost 30,000 manufacturing jobs in the past year. Companies like Electrolux have bled Canadian jobs by taking tax breaks in Tennessee and taking advantage of right-to-work legislation. Bombardier should not be moving jobs to Mexico, Morocco or Ireland, they should stay and grow in Canada. Corporations are exploiting Mexican workers at the expense of Canadians and Americans.”
He praised Canadian efforts in Political Action. “When it comes to political action, Canadian Machinists are the loudest voice for workers on Parliament Hill and that’s what working families deserve,” he said. “No union has been watching Prime Minister Trudeau closer than the IAM.’
Regarding the upcoming second round of NAFTA talks, Martinez says he welcomes the opportunity to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. “We told you what would happen the last time and we were right,” he explained. “You need to ‘Buy Canadian’ and you have to drive that message home. We have to have real labour standards with strong rules of manufacturing origin. Organized labour should have a seat at the NAFTA table and we must keep up the pressure until we do. Having negotiators pay only lip service is unacceptable.”
Buoyed by the success of defeating ‘Right-to-Work’ legislation in Missouri, Martinez applauds Canada’s NAFTA demand to outlaw ‘Right-to-Work’ as part of the agreement. “Right-to-Work is an attack on our democracy in our workplace, it’s dagger in the heart of labour and it must go.”
On the topic of the ongoing trade talks concerning Boeing and Bombardier, Martinez made his position very clear. “Boeing is the bully of commercial aviation and from the beginning of the C Series program at Bombardier, Boeing has attempted to divide our American and Canadian membership,” he said. “This will not happen and I will tell you today, I will always support our Canadian brothers and sisters at Bombardier.”