May 25: Rockin’ Robbee and some live tunes and reflections on Windsor; CLC senior economist Angella MacEwen on changes to Canada’s EI program

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Listen to entire program here:

On the program I had a chat with Rockin Robbee in between songs about life in this city as one on a low income and living in social housing. With scandal licking at the doors of city hall and the current turmoil on the library board, we should be, as citizens, doing a better job at holding city hall and council accountable. One councilor, Alan Halberstadt is the lone dissenter on council and that’s gotta be wearing. We have an obligation as citizens to get organized now for the next election as it takes time and lots of effort to mobilize people and find alternative representatives. Robbee isn’t waiting and maybe he is a good example for the rest of us, as he takes a petition around Ward 10 that asks Councilor Al Maghnieh to resign over his misuse of a library credit card.

Robbee opened the program with his version of Something in the Air:

In this clip Robbee describes Windsor from his perspective and later how Occupy Windsor inspired him:

 Angella MacEwen is a senior economist with the Canadian Labour Congress and we’re now hearing some details about changes to Employment Insurance. These changes could have a significant impact on this area because the changes coincide with the move to allow temporary foreign workers to be paid less than Canadian workers. Windsor has the highest unemployment in the country plus, while there are hundreds if not thousands of jobs in the greenhouse industry, most are filled by non-union temporary foreign workers. The conditions in the greenhouses are harsh and the agricultural industry cannot be unionized because unjust Ontario laws prevent it. How will workers be able to fight for improved wages, benefits and working conditions? They will be forced to accept any job under any conditions for fear of losing EI. In my view the Harper regime is shaping the future for a monstrous labour system that will pit worker against worker in what will amount to work camps – unless we manage to organize resistance and have a plan for the next federal election.

Here, MacEwen gives an overview of EI and some context on what the proposed changes look like:

The changes to EI will have a harsh effect on Temporary Foreign workers and pit workers against each other as all wages drop:

Robbee closed the program out with a version of  Neil Young’s Harvest Moon:

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