Ken Georgetti’s remarks to ITUC news conference

The Canadian Labour Congress is very pleased this week to be host to the International Trade Union Confederation’s Second Congress – bringing together union leaders who collectively represent more than 175 million members in 155 countries and territories around the globe.

With me today are the ITUC’s General Secretary – Guy Rider, and its President – Sharan Burrow – welcome to Canada, welcome to Vancouver!

We are honoured that Canada has been chosen by the ITUC for this important world congress and that Vancouver is the host city.

While the attendance at the ITUC Second World Congress will be slightly less than the number of people who came here for the 2010 Winter Olympics, this truly is a gathering of great international importance.

The ITUC Second World Congress precedes the critical G8 and G20 G20 The Group of Twenty, or G20, is a forum for international cooperation on the most important aspects of the international economic and financial agenda. It brings together 19 countries and the European Union, which together represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade and two thirds of the world’s population. Summit meetings in Ontario – meetings where a handful of national leaders will discuss the global economy that affects us all.

And they will do so while hidden behind a one billion dollar security system.

Regrettably, the labour movement fears that the voices of workers will not be heard by the powerful.

And the concerns of workers at this ongoing time of economic crisis must be understood.

At this ITUC Second World Congress we will hear that workers everywhere are deeply disturbed by corporate demands that governments cut public services and slash deficits – at a time when our economic recovery is fragile, at best.

Around the globe, unemployment has risen by 34 million workers since the financial meltdown of 2008 – and many millions more are under-employed.
Workers face daunting challenges and so many personal tragedies with this unacceptable level of unemployment.

But we ask – given this crisis – why are governments taking orders from the same greedy voices of the financial establishment that pushed the world into economic chaos?

Now is not the time to increase unemployment while reducing needed public services.

Working together at this Second World Congress, the delegates of the ITUC will develop alternatives to the bankrupt strategies that have failed over and over and over again.

And that’s why this meeting is so important.

Now I would like to turn to my international colleagues for their perspective.

(Check Against Delivery)

Speaking Notes

for

Ken Georgetti
President
of the
Canadian Labour Congress

to the

News Conference with ITUC Leaders
before the
Second World Congress

Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre
Vancouver, B.C.

Monday, June 21, 2010
8:30 a.m.