PRESS RELEASE: MAY 07, 2009

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UFCW CANADA and Allies call to end Canada's Shameful Secret

On Thursday, UFCW Canada, along with the National Union of National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), and the Canadian Police Association (CPA) launched a national campaign to pressure the federal government, and its provincial counterparts, to work together to ratify and implement three core Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO is the agency of the United Nations that sets international standards and drafts Conventions regarding the fundamental rights of workers.

"Labour rights are human rights," says Wayne Hanley, UFCW Canada National President. "By failing to ratify three ILO conventions that protect working people, the Harper government continues to ignore the fundamental labour and human rights of workers in Canada."

Canada continues to hold out on ratifying ILO Conventions 29, 98 and 138 which ban forced labour, prohibit the exploitation of child labour, and uphold the fundamental right of all workers to organize unions and bargain collectively.

"By not acting to ratify these Conventions, our leaders send a message that they condone the worst kinds of worker exploitation," says Hanley. "And in spite of numerous rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada, that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the right to bargain collectively, we still have workers in this country whose rights to unionize are being violated."

Ontario agriculture workers are one such group. Earlier this year UFCW Canada filed a formal complaint with the ILO over Ontario’s current prohibition on farm unions.

"It is long overdue for the Harper government to protect the rights of all Canadian workers by working to ratify and implement the ILO Conventions," says Hanley, "and we are committed to working with NUPGE, the CTF and the CPA to make that happen."

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