“Green Jobs” have always been a bit of a joke. Although not a very funny one.
Back in 2010 McGuinty signed a deal with South Korean company Samsung, and promised Ontarians that all kinds of employment would flow from it.
The Liberal government ended months of speculation in September when it confirmed it was in talks with Samsung about a project that could create about 15,000 jobs.
Ontario’s manufacturing sector has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the recession. The deal with Samsung would likely be the linchpin in McGuinty’s push for renewable sources of energy and his plan to create 50,000 jobs. CBC, 2010
The numbers were highly inflated in that press release. Even Samsung’s website could only cough up minuscule (although inconsistent) numbers.
Thanks to Samsung’s Green Energy Investment Agreement with the Government of Ontario, we are creating 9,000 jobs, kick-starting a new industry in Ontario and generate 1,369 megawatts of clean energy. Samsung Renewable Energy
Samsung and Pattern Energy’s wind power projects in Ontario are creating more than 1,000 jobs Samsung Renewable Energy, 2014
Our investments will create 900 direct renewable energy manufacturing jobs and 9,000 high-skilled jobs in Ontario. Samsung Renewable Energy, 2014
Down down down the number fell! We went from a promised 15,000 Samsung jobs in 2010, to a possible 900 in 2014? So what is the real number? I suppose nobody is really counting anymore. The fact is the province blatantly lied to the people of Ontario just so this juicy deal could be pushed through without much fuss. One would think the opposition parities would do as much as they could to investigate WHY this deal had to be made…The jobs weren’t all that great either. CS Wind for instance:
The Korean company, which manufactures the towers used in wind turbines, is a partner in a consortium led by Samsung that promised to open factories to employ Canadians building wind turbines and solar panels. In exchange, the province agreed to buy nearly $10 billion worth of renewable energy from producers at above market-rates (later reduced to $6 billion after complaints it would drive up energy bills). CS Wind said it planned to hire as many as 500 local workers, many of them out-of-work welders, and build towers out of steel from Sault Ste. Marie. Macleans, 2014
Instead they ended up hiring two dozen workers, not from Ontario, or Canada, but Vietnam.
An Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling released last month to determine which of CS Wind’s employees could form a prospective bargaining unit—as part of a union drive by the Iron Workers—noted the company had employed more than 30 workers from Vietnam in jobs that ranged from welding to assembly to quality control. Many worked more than 60 hours a week, compared to an average of 46 hours a week for Canadian counterparts. Three employees told the board they were being paid the equivalent of between $960- $1,600 a month in Vietnamese currency, while the company also gave them a retention bonus and covered their Canadian living expenses. The employees, who had come from the company’s Vietnamese factory, originally expected to stay between six months to a year to train Canadian workers. But the company extended their work permits because of “production and quality control issues” at the plant. Many have now been there more than two years. Macleans, 2014
Yep, it was cheap labour.
Initially, says McNevin, the workers were paid roughly five times their Vietnamese salary, which ranged from $140-$421 a month, because they were expected to stay for only a few months. Macleans, 2014
They even claimed that they couldn’t train Canadians for the job.
Ultimately, McNevin says CS Wind hopes to transition to an entirely Canadian workforce, but the training process can take years. “This is not an employer attempting to avoid hiring local workers,” he says. “The bottom line is a lack of skilled workers in Canada and the need to improve apprenticeship programs.” Ray, of the Iron Workers, argues that two years is plenty of time to train a group of welders on how to learn a new type of welding. “We build cars, we build robots. We’re used to building stuff in this country, he says. “You can’t tell me that you can’t have your workforce trained in two years.” Macleans, 2014
Worse yet is how they treat the Vietnamese workers. This story deserves to be read and fumed about in it’s entirety:
Windsor Star, Anne Jarvis
A pregnant CS Wind employee who was told she would be fired if she worked less than 17 hours a day and was called a “stupid Vietnamese woman” was awarded almost $60,000 by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
CS Wind, which received $10 million in incentives from the city and whose parent Samsung has a contract with the province giving it more than $100 million in incentives, violated multiple sections of Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the tribunal ruled.
The company’s treatment of employee Tin Trinh was “vexatious, offensive and humiliating,” states the decision last month signed by tribunal vice-chairman Laurie Letheren. It was “so intolerable that it formed a poisoned environment … It had become a condition of her employment that she must endure discriminatory conduct and comments … she had no option but to resign to escape this environment.”
The company was also ordered to review its human rights policy, distribute copies of it to employees and provide training on employees’ rights.
“Naturally, we don’t agree with the decision,” said CS Wind human resources manager Donna Kinsman. Read full article
She worked too long shifts, from 3 AM to 8PM. When she became pregnant her doctor said she would have to cut her time in half (you know, to normal hours). But she was told by the company she’d lose her job if she did that, so she continued to work 17 hours shifts – while pregnant!
Is this the kind of ‘job’ Ontarians wanted to see created, for “the good of the earth”?
She testified Kim asked her what the company could do to keep her. She said she was interested in a different, weekend job. That requires driving a forklift, she testified, he said.
You’re “too pretty to drive a forklift,” he said.
Kim told the hearing it was a funny comment. Actually, he said, she isn’t pretty.
I guess we can take heart in knowing these wind plants will shut down eventually, of course. All good scams must come to an end.