June 14, 1945

CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

The question is wages over there. The question here is union security, and that is provided in the United States.

What is the solution? My solution is this, and you have a precedent for it. I do not expect the Minister of Labour to run around all over this country wherever there is a labour dispute; for that is not his job. But he has in his department the necessary machinery and officials that he can direct. I think that what the Minister of Labour should do immediately is to send a controller to Windsor to take over the Ford plant there. If he is prepared to do that the workers at Ford are prepared to go back to the status quo prior to their going out. The Minister of Labour then, through his controller, would try to bring the employer and the employees together to work out an agreement between employer and employee that would be in accordance with the many government pronouncements that have been made in this house on the question of collective bargaining. That is the answer, and it is not something new. This government has already done it. In the middle of the war they took over National Steel Car at Hamilton. There was a strike there, and the Minister of Labour sent in a controller. The strike was settled, and there have been no difficulties there since. The government did the same thing in Montreal in connection with the Montreal Tramways strike last year, where the situation was worse than it is at Windsor now. The Minister of Labour sent in his controller and the difficulties were settled. Just a couple of months ago the Minister of Labour again, when there was a strike in British Columbia in American Can, a company with ramifiea-

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink

Ford Motor Plant Strike tions all across this continent, sent a controller in there, in a bigger show than this Windsor set-up, and to the best of my knowledge he settled that dispute satisfactorily. The United States government at the present time are not adverse to that line of action. Just a few days ago the United States government stepped into the oil industry in the United States and took over, and is now bringing employer and employee together. The fact of the matter is that we fought this war for something; hundreds of men left the Ford plant at Windsor to join the armed forces, and now they are coming back and are working in that plant. That is their means of livelihood. We preached to them that in fighting this war they were fighting for democracy, and now they come back to the Ford plant and find that their employer is refusing them the very rudiments of industrial democracy-the right of the employee to bargain with his employer, the right to sign an agreement, the right to say-what their wage rates are to be. Now what will be the opinion of the boy who comes back from fighting this war and finds his employer taking that attitude? It is the same old game that we saw in 1914-18. We fought a war from 1939 to 1945, and now the war is over, and the war slogans are down. Personally the war is not over for me, and it is not over for the hundreds of thousands of young men who are coming back to this country after fighting a war that they really thought they were fighting for democracy. I say, Mr. Speaker, that in a situation such as this, where there is a dispute, the first one in the post-war period that can affect labour relations clear across this country, the responsible government should step in through the Department of Labour and see to it that a sensible understanding is arrived at, based on the principles which were often enunciated by the Minister of Labour and other members of the government on the subject of labour relations during the process of fighting the war. My hon. friend over here was much concerned about the question of wages, and I said that I was not going to go into that because it is not my business; it is the business of Ford and the employees when they come together. But let me leave this thought with you, if you think that the wage demands which the employees are making at this time are unreasonable. I understand from fairly good authority that during the years of the war the Ford Motor Company, Canadian section, made $27 million profits after all taxes were paid; they increased their reserves from $60 million to $90 million; they paid dividends to shareholders of $9 million. I understand that if two and a half million dollars were taken from that $30 million of reserves they put away during the process of fighting this war and were applied to the dispute now going on at Windsor, it would settle the whole question. The company would still have a lot of money.


PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

What does the hon. member mean, that two and a half million dollars would settle the whole question?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

It would provide for the increases in wages.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

For how long?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

For a year.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

And after the year was up, what then?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

Take some more out of the $90 million reserve.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

That is all right, but explain that.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
?

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL@Rosetown-Biggar

We can see where their friends are.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

Ford's friends are very obvious in this house.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

No, not "Ford's friends"; but we are not going to be deluded by a one-sided argument.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. GILLIS:

I shall not detain the house any longer. I feel very strongly on this matter, and I seriously suggest to the Minister of Labour and every hon. member that action should be taken by the department immediately to head off what I consider to be the initial stages of a general industrial upheaval in this country if the dispute is not handled at once and in a reasonable manner.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. ALISTAIR STEWART (Winnipeg North) :

I believe the workers of this

country are puzzled, dismayed and discouraged at the lack of a positive labour policy on the part of the government. We can remember that up to June 11 they had a policy-jobs, work for all, security for all. Where is that policy now? The workers at Windsor are without protection, and surely the most elementary protection for the workers in a democracy is the right to join the union of their own choice, the protection of union security, the closed shop, and the check-off. Yet these are being denied to them, and apparently the government does nothing about it. Well, I believe either the government's promises are going to be ful-

83S

Ford Motor Plant Strike

filled, or their bluff is going to be called, because the insecurity of labour is becoming more and more obvious.

All across this country to-day men are being laid off; plants all over Canada are reducing their staffs. I draw to the attention of the house the fact that when a man is laid off or when he is on strike it is a very serious matter for that individual. There are few scourges worse than unemployment. When a man is unemployed he has no income. It is true that to-day he gets this miserly pittance of unemployment insurance, but that is far from adequate to pay his rent, it is far from adequate to provide food, including the dairy products which are so necessary to keep his children in health; it is far from adequate to provide medical services if they are needed; it is far from adequate in these days of approaching winter to see that the house is kept properly warm and that the children do not suffer. Always under strikes or mass unemployment it is the children who suffer most. Therefore I suggest that there is much validity to our case and to the union case that when the worker is being transferred from war-time to peace-time employment, during the period of transition he should be given a minimum of $25 a week. He and his family cannot expect to live on less.

Under capitalism as we have known it the lot of the worker has been unemployment, then work for a little time, then unemployment again. There is no security. In our lifetime we have gone through two wars and two major depressions, and the mass of the people have always suffered the worst. There are young men coming back to this country whose only chance in the nineteen thirties was the chance in 1939 to fight and die for Canada, These boys are coming back expecting something better than when they went away. They want a Canada wherein there is work for them, and some sort of union security, but apparently the government is unwilling to provide that type of security. In Winnipeg we have the case of MacDonald Brothers Aircraft plant, which at the peak of employment had 4,500 men employed. The number is now down to 400. What has happened to those 4,100 people? Some, though only a few, have got other jobs; some have left the province; the great majority are unemployed.

I want again to emphasize the fact that unemployment is a personal tragedy for those who suffer from it, and therefore, it is the duty of the government and this house to do everything within their power to ease con-

ditions for these people and see that the pledges are kept that there shall be work for all in Canada.

We are told that there are a million new jobs in sight. Where are they, and at what rates of pay? I believe that the "million new jobs" is a mirage. It does not delude the workers of this country. It is true that there may be a million new jobs, but if there are, they are at twenty-five cents an hour, and we are not going to take them at that wage.

The trade unions of Canada are far in advance of the government with plans for reconversion. The trades and labour congress have already presented their recommendations to this government. They have asked:

(1) That all citizens -who have been engaged in essential civilian industry be immediately allowed "reconversion pay" during this period of dislocation on a basis of one month's pay for each year's service up to three years;

(2) To spread available employment, a maximum forty-hour work week be put into effect, with no reduction in wages;

(3) To create confidence and maintain buying power, that general reductions of Pay be prohibited;

(4) That restrictions be lifted from building materials and that the construction of homes be carried on with the same effort, ingenuity and dispatch as was displayed in the production of urgently needed war materials;

(5) That necessary public works be immediately commenced; and

(6) That the reconversion of all war plants suitable to peace-time production be speeded to the utmost.

There, Mr. Speaker, is a programme. The workers of Canada have a programme. Where, then, is that of the government? In Winnipeg we have signs of another strike, a national strike, in the packing house industry. I was at a conference of packing house workers a few days ago. These men appreciate the problems of industry and the problems of the national economy; they only hope that the government appreciates them in exactly the same way. The question of income tax was discussed by these workers. They had no objection to high rates of income tax provided they were sure that their fellow workers were getting jobs. They discussed rationing. They had no objection to rationing; they encouraged it in order to feed the starving people of Europe, though they disagreed in many respects with the way the government was handling it, but that is another matter. If the government are to be sure of getting the support of the working people of this country, they have to support-

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
PC

Wilfrid Garfield Case

Progressive Conservative

Mr. CASE:

Will the hon. member permit a question? Does the hon. member mean to imply that there is lack of employment in the

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink

Ford Motor Plant Strike Ford Motor Company, that there is no employment there? He is speaking about unemployment.


CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. STEWART:

I implied nothing of the sort. What I said is that there is lack of employment in Canada.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

Where?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. STEWART:

It is very obvious. Go to any employment exchange and you will see evidences of it. Talk to the workers, and they will tell you. You can get jobs at thirty-five or forty cents an hour, but nobody can afford to work at that.

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

How much do you want?

Topic:   HOUSING
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   OCTOBER 9, 1945
Permalink

June 14, 1945