Unemployment

The Rich Get Richer Again

From People’s Voice

Welcome to 2015. Unless you are Gerry Schwartz or another one of Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs, you actually have to work for a living. Or perhaps you are retired or a student, having worked all your life or hoping to land a decent job. In either case, Mr. Schwartz and his pals earned more before lunchtime on the first working day of January than you will during this entire year… on average, of course. If you have a higher‑paying job than most, it could take one of the top 100 until quitting time to match your 2015 income. On the other hand, a minimum wage earner was left in the dust by morning coffee break.

The annual CEO pay review published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) drives the corporate elite bonkers. It’s not fair, whines the Fraser Institute: the CCPA counts stock options and other perks as compensation! Even worse, the CCPA leaves out lower-paid executives, who would drag the CEO average figures down to “reasonable” levels.

Oh, boo hoo. Mr. Schwartz was paid $87.9 million in 2013, but even Number 100 took home $4.14 million, an increase of 30% over the 2008 figure. Working people were smacked hard by the capitalist crisis of 2007‑08. But after an initial drop, pay for the top 100 soon rebounded to pre-crisis glory days, to an average $9.2 million, or 195 times the average Canadian income of $47,358. These big bosses “earned” 237 times the average salary of women employees, showing that some things really never change.

And here’s another nugget to consider: 43 of the top 100 CEOs have a defined benefit pension plan worth an average of $1.39 million a year, and 75 received stock options as part of their 2013 pay package, worth an average of $3.16 million.

Yes, it’s tough for the ultra‑rich when their wealth is exposed for the world to see. Before long, people will start talking about taxing the greedy, not the needy. Will the horror never end?

Bully Tactics Doomed Target in Canada says leader of Canada’s Retail Union

From UFCW

Toronto — January 15, 2015 — Target Canada’s failure in Canada, “is a direct result of its bully tactics and its disrespect for Canadian workers and shoppers,” says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union). On Thursday, Target announced it would be shutting its 133 locations and filing for Companies’ Creditors protection, only 22 months after opening stores in Canada. The company’s entry led to the shutting of the Zellers chain, and Target’s refusal to honour the jobs of more than 20,000 Zellers workers.

Target-continues-to-fail-V4-300“Target was a bad neighbour and Canadians don’t accept that,” says Meinema, the leader of Canada’s union for retail workers. “They kicked aside the Zellers workers who had many years of experience and good jobs that supported thousands of families. A good neighbour would have welcomed them. Instead, Target showed them the door.”

Target’s decision to clean house and to hire a new workforce not only caused hardship for the Zellers workers and their communities. It also contributed to stores where shelves were often empty because of poor inventory tracking and merchandising. Respect for consumers was also suspect, after Target’s computers leaked the credit data of 700,000 Canadians to hackers.

“The Harper government gave Target the green light to move in,” says Meinema, “while rejecting a national petition that the government ensure any takeover by Target would require the company to respect the rights of Canadian retail workers.”

“Twenty thousand jobs were lost then. Now add to that the crushing news that another 17,000 workers are being shoved out,” said the UFCW Canada leader. “We are very concerned for the Target workers and their families, and appalled that Harper’s rubber stamp approval of the corporate agenda has once again injured tens of thousands of workers and their communities.”

UFCW Canada is Canada’s leading private sector union, representing more than a quarter of a million workers in Canada’s fastest growing industries. UFCW Canada is the country’s most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities.

By the Numbers: The Wealth Gap

From UFCW

Toronto – January 14, 2015 – According to a new poll by the Broadbent Institute, an overwhelming majority of Canadians believe income inequality has worsened in the last decade. To address this inequality, 73% of those polled say that the government can – and should – do something to reduce the gap between rich and poor.

67.4%

The wealthiest fifth of Canadians, or top 20% hold, more than two-thirds (67.4%) of the wealth in Canada.

0.1%

While the wealthiest fifth hold more than two-thirds of the economic wealth in the country, the poorest fifth, or bottom 20% – own almost no share at all; just 0.1%.

91%

An overwhelming number of Canadians (91%) believe that income inequality exists in Canada.

80%

Four out of five Canadians believe that the gap between the rich and everyone else has widened over the last decade.

73%

Three in four Canadians (73%) believe the government can do something to reduce the gap between the rich and everyone else.

75%

Three out of four Canadians support increasing corporate tax rates back to pre-2008 levels to address inequality.

62%

More than half of all Canadians support taxing capital gains and stock options at the same rate as wages to address inequality

80%

Four of the five Canadians support increasing the federal income tax rate on the highest income bracket.

83%

Percentage of those polled who object to further tax cuts tax cuts that may increase the gap between the rich and everyone else

68%

Percentage of those polled who support an increase in funding for social assistance to low-income Canadians.

69%

Seven out of 10 Canadians support a publicly funded national child care program to address income inequality.