Press Release: United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America

Publisher:  United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), Don Mills, Canada
Year Published:  1978
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX830

A report on United Electrics concern with the use of SIN numbers on identification tags at the General Electric plant in Peterborough, Ontario.

The Canadian General Electric plant in Peterborough wants its employees to wear identification badges that include the person's Social Insurance Number (SIN). These two press releases of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Worker of America (UE) state their opposition to this move on the grounds that it is a "passport to tyranny" to use one, easily computerized number for all forms of identification. The first press release states that an Ontario Supreme Court injunction application was filed to prohibit Canadian General Electric from using the SIN I.D. scheme. The union sees the scheme as a dangerous encroachment on civil rights. This is reflected in the larger society by the increased use of the SIN by police, government and financial institutions for identification. In an age of interlocking computers, this presents frightening possibilities to the U.E.
The second press release, calls attention to a telegram sent to Prime Minister Trudeau supporting legislation to limit the use of the Social Insurance Number to the express purposes for which it was designed: income tax, unemployment insurance, manpower, Canadian pension plan and old age security. This would disallow its use as a worker identification number and thus make it more difficult for interlocking computers to pull together information about individuals from different sources.

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