Unions decry inaction on job losses

CAW campaign targets changes affecting skilled trades workers
By Gordon Sova
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/12/2008

Judging by a presentation made to the Canadian Auto Workers’ (CAW) Skilled Trades Bargaining Conference in February, the union is in a fighting mood. However, its main target would appear to be the federal government and not the private-sector employers (and specifically this year the Big Three) with whom it negotiates.

However, the analysis in the document does point out some interesting aspects of the changes that are taking place in the economy through their direct impacts on skilled trades workers.

Losses in the manufacturing sector have been heavy and, as the statistics show, the losses have not been limited to labour-intensive industries. Even high value-added jobs are being lost. The seven industries identified as being the most skilled-trade intensive show job losses of 156,400 between 2002 and 2007. Using a rough estimate of one skilled trades job out of each 10 manufacturing jobs lost, the overall toll is estimated at 35,000 tradespersons. And the jobs that are replacing the lost ones provide few opportunities for skilled trades.