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Hockey not Canadian!

Vicki Gilhula November 27, 2008 Vicki Gilhula No Comments on Hockey not Canadian!

Consider this news release from United Here, a labour group that is waking up Canadians to the fact that there is a good reason the number of Canadian manufacturing jobs are shrinking.

CNW/ – Labour union, UNITE HERE announced today it has launched a cross country campaign to persuade Reebok to bring back to Canada its production of hockey equipment and jerseys. Over the past six years, Reebok-CCM Hockey, Inc., the official makers of NHL apparel, has shut many of its Canadian plants and outsourced its production of NHL jersey replicas and other hockey equipment to Asia.

“Sporting associations in other countries have policies in place that restrict sporting apparel and equipment production from going offshore,” says Alex Dagg, Executive Vice-President and Canadian Co-Director, UNITE HERE.

“Hockey is a part of Canada’s identity and jerseys and equipment should be made by Canadians for Canadians.”

“From coast to coast to coast, in small towns and big cities, we support our national game and we demand that Reebok commit to producing jerseys and equipment once again in our country,” Dagg adds. “It makes good economic sense – Canadian production creates jobs, which allows for even greater support for hockey.”

Key facts:
– Five plants have closed in Ontario and Quebec over the past 6 years. (Harrow, Ontario; Richmond, Drummondville, Cap-de-la-Madeleine and Cowansville, Quebec)
– Almost 600 manufacturing jobs lost in Canada (500 jobs lost in Quebec)
– $55 million loss for the Canadian economy

Manufacturing work has been sent to factories in other countries, particularly China. An analysis of over 500 Reebok import shipments from the last two years shows that NHL jerseys, hockey sticks, ice skates and other items are produced in at least 12 countries, with nearly two thirds of the total product coming from factories in China.

“The game of hockey used to provide not only entertainment, but also a decent livelihood for many Canadian families,” says Lina Aristeo, Vice-President, UNITE HERE International. “Canadian textile workers sewed their pride into every letter on every jersey produced. Now these Canadians are jobless.”

UNITE HERE is asking supporters of Canadian hockey to take a stand and demand that Reebok produce hockey equipment and NHL replica jerseys in Canada
by Canadian workers.

UNITE HERE is the union representing 50,000 foodservice, apparel, textile, hotel and distribution workers across Canada. Its membership is the
face of multi-cultural Canada, with immigrants and women making up the majority of its members. UNITE HERE has a long history of fighting to maintain good jobs in the Canadian apparel and textile industries, and has called for fairer trade agreements that preserve manufacturing jobs.

Vicki Gilhula is a veteran journalist who lives in Sudbury.

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