Mr. Speaker, more than 15,000 members of the United Steelworkers Union have been on strike at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. since October 5. Workers at three Canadian plants have walked off the job to protest unfair contract proposals made by the company and the closure of the Goodyear plant in Tyler, Texas.
Goodyear workers vow to hold out one day longer than the company to obtain a fair and equitable contract that provides reasonable job security and a fair deal for retirees. Workers say the recent financial success of Goodyear owes much to the wide-ranging concessions workers made on their 2003 contract negotiations, including 6,000 jobs that were axed across the company and pay cuts for the remaining workers.
If the company gets away with the proposal at the table, it will be bad news for all steelworkers struggling to maintain a decent standard of living in Canada. The union members are also fighting to keep employers like Goodyear from discarding North American production facilities in favour of low wage overseas operations. This issue is one that has wide-ranging implications for the whole North American economy and as such demands our attention.
It is time for the Conservative government to stand up for workers, protect Canadian manufacturing and ensure our jobs are protected for the long term from threats overseas. Canadians demand job security. We must stop exporting jobs and make sure Canadians are manufacturing here.