Union leaders host Sudbury forum to put income inequality on the agenda

Top elected leaders from eight major Ontario unions will be in Sudbury Tuesday night to host a forum on income inequality in the province.

Sudbury (07 Jan. 2012) - Inequality is on the rise in Ontario. Wages are falling; profits are soaring. The poor are getting poorer, the middle class is shrinking and the top one per cent is getting a lot richer. The public services we all depend on are being slashed to pay for tax cuts for the richest corporations in the country.

So why is this happening? And what do we do about it?

A live town hall forum featuring panelists James Clancy, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), and Janet Gasparini, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury will explore the issues surrounding income inequality and the impact on the community.

Date: January 8, 2013Time: 7:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.Place: United Steelworkers' Union Hall, 66 Brady Street, Sudbury

"The growing gap between high-income earners and everyone else is the number one economic story of our time, yet with few exceptions our politicians and business leaders are either making it worse or ignoring it altogether," said James Clancy, president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "The purpose of our forum is to engage grassroots union members and make income inequality an issue our leaders ignore at their peril in 2013."

The forum, called "The Rich and the Rest of Us," will marry the event at the Steelworkers Hall with a teleconference of union members across northeastern Ontario. Broadcaster Andrew Nichols will moderate the discussion, which will include members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, NUPGE, the Ontario Nurses' Association, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the Service Employees International Union, the Society of Energy Professionals, and the United Steelworkers.

Janet Gasparini, executive director of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury, will join James Clancy as a panelist for the discussion.

"Social Planning Councils across the province have been working on poverty reduction strategies since we've existed," said Gasparini. "Talking about income inequality gets people talking about poverty in a much broader context. This is not just about poor people - it's about all of us. I'm really looking forward to the discussion."

"Growing income inequality is not an accident," said Clancy. "It is the result of deliberate public policies that have boosted corporate profits while reducing tax fairness, cutting and privatizing public services, undermining collective bargaining, driving down wages, and abandoning any notion that a successful modern province needs a modern industrial strategy. Exploring how we turn this situation around will be a key part of the conversation on Tuesday night."

A light supper will be served at the Steelworkers Hall starting at 5:45 p.m.; child care is available.

To find out more about the issue of income inequality, watch the latest new video on from the All Together Now! campaign.

For further information:

Deborah Duffy (613) 709-0382

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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