SIU urges members in Newfoundland and Labrador to vote for candidates that best support workers in upcoming Provincial election

February 4, 2021

With less than two weeks until voters head to the polls in Newfoundland and Labrador for a Provincial election on February 13, 2021, the SIU is urging members who are residents of the Province to review what is being put forward by each electoral candidate in their riding and to consider what the Parties are promising as part of their plan to govern, if elected.

It is no secret that the Province of Newfoundland & Labrador is in a serious and unprecedented situation financially and as a Union we strongly believe that now is the time for bold ideas and strong leadership. With approximately twenty percent of the Union’s active membership having residence in the Province, the SIU has a vested interest in the outcome of this election as the next Government will need to undertake one of the most ambitious plans to date to help lift the Province out of economic hardship. Members should be looking for which Party is going to put workers and their families first.

With very little information available in terms of a concrete platform from the Parties on what they plan to work towards if elected, the Union is looking to the Parties to make their plans known immediately so that members and their families can make an informed choice. We encourage our members and their families to review those platforms as they are released, to vote in the upcoming election and to engage with local candidates about their own priorities.

As a union, the SIU would like to see all Parties in Newfoundland and Labrador commit to programs that will support workers and their families and create and support jobs in the Province, including in the offshore and marine transportation sector where many of our members are employed.

More specifically, the Union is looking for Parties to make commitments on:

  • Investments in and support for energy jobs including those in the offshore and support for Provincial marine sector jobs including cargo and passenger transportation. As you are all aware, the SIU has long advocated in favour of restrictions on foreign vessels operating in Coasting Trade and supports Federal regulations on marine transportation to reserve the transportation of goods and people within Canada to Canadian vessels, crewed by Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents of Canada. The Union will be looking for continued Provincial support on these regulations which directly maintain and support thousands of jobs in the Province related to the offshore and the transportation of cargo and passengers by vessel throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

  • Implementation of a $15 minimum wage legislation, increased protections for part-time, gig and temporary workers and paid sick days. The SIU has strong ties to many communities in all parts of the Province, improving Provincial labour standards is a top priority for many of our members who work in the Province and have family working in other sectors such as retail and fisheries. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased hardships for workers in these sectors and so implementing stronger, more worker-friendly labour standards should be a top priority for the next government.

 

  • Access to Provincial funding for skills upgrading and training in the marine sector. The marine transportation sector continues to see increasing demand for skilled workers and more specifically, as a continued shortage of qualified officers and engineers remains a prevalent issue in our sector, Parties should commit to making training funds available for residents of the Province to upgrade their certificates and ensure training is made available within the Province for in-demand STCW certifications, including basic and specialized training required for offshore operations as well as LNG, oil and tanker certifications;

 

  • Ensuring vital transportation links are revived as the Province and country emerges from the COVID-19 Pandemic. As many regional, inter-provincial and national flights, as well as Provincial ferry services in the marine sector, have been reduced or cancelled indefinitely, it must be a primary objective of the next government to ensure these transportation links return and residents and workers in the Province alike are able to move freely to and from their home and workplace. In addition, facilitating travel for visitors and tourism more generally will undoubtedly be a vital component to the Province’s long-term economic recovery.

 

  • More generally, the SIU looks to the Parties to address these larger issues:
    • Job creation and addressing unemployment and precarious work in the Province
    • Put a concrete plan in place to deal with the Provincial debt that avoids diminishing public services and cuts to the public sector
    • Continue to successfully mitigate the COVID-19 Pandemic
    • Address access to Health care and ongoing doctor shortages in the Province

The SIU remains committed to supporting pro-labour, pro-worker political candidates that will work with us to ensure continued success in the domestic marine shipping sector, which means promoting the use of Canadian-flagged and Canadian-crewed vessels in all marine operations in Canada while also putting forward policy and regulations that benefit workers and their families.

 

Election Day is February 13, 2021

For information on voting and voter eligibility in Newfoundland and Labrador please visit: https://www.elections.gov.nl.ca/elections/voters/registration.html