New federal EI plan is 'crumbs' for the unemployed, says CAW president Lewenza

The head of the Canadian Auto Workers Union calls the federal government's new EI plan "discriminatory" and crumbs for the jobless.

TORONTO - The head of the Canadian Auto Workers Union calls the federal government's new EI plan "discriminatory" and crumbs for the jobless.

CAW president Ken Lewenza says what Canadians really need from proposed changes to EI to be released today is a "full loaf of bread."

He says the plan to extends benefits for workers who have been employed for seven of the past 10 years will not help the vast majority of the country's 1.6 million unemployed.

Lewenza says only half of those people receive EI benefits, and under the plan, workers who have received more than 35 weeks of EI over the past five years would not see additional EI benefits.

The union leader adds that it's no easier for someone previously laid off for 40 weeks to find a job than someone laid off for 20 weeks.

Lewenza says, "when you're unemployed, you're unemployed."

The CAW leader also said the Harper government's plan is only temporary.

"We need genuine reforms that fix the EI hours system so that more workers qualify for benefits and those who do qualify get benefits for a longer period of time, at a decent benefit rate," he said in a statement.

"The measures introduced by the Harper government won't do that."

 
 
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