For years, I’ve worked for Labour Unions like PSAC ,OPSEU, and now, SEIU Healthcare, helping to support workers in many different industries and types of work. I believe in collective action because I’ve seen it work. I tell workers that there is nothing more terrifying to an employer than united workers. They have the money and we have the labour, and without solidarity, we are unbalanced. Labour Unions are about bringing balance to work so that you as a worker are never taken advantage of by an employer. Worker solidarity is essential to a just society.
It’s hard to be a worker in Ontario right now. Precarious work is pervasive. Trudeau’s Liberal government has told us we need to just get used to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re a server, a teacher, a sheet-metal worker, an electrician, administrative assistant, or a public servant – you are a worker – and you deserve to have your right to collective action respected.
But here in Ontario, it’s particularly bad because of the Ford Conservatives. And you can be sure Erin O'Toole will be just as destructive to worker rights. The Green Party has no consistent plan for workers. And Trudeau’s government had to be dragged by the NDP to provide $500/week with the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit – so that workers could have some income while being forced to isolate. Trudeau has to be forced to do the right thing for workers and New Democrats will always fight hard to press for better politics.
In the recovery, employers are brazen in the concessions, justifying their deep cuts as necessary. Even as they access and use more than $636 billion in federal supports, pay Executive bonuses, and issue shareholder dividends, they are putting heavy concessions on the table, in some cases trying to eliminate or drastically reduce access to hard-fought gains like paid-sick time, designated holidays, vacation time, parental leave, short-term illness, emergency leave, and even pay equity.
And then there are wages. In 2019 every person in Ontario making minimum wage should have gotten a raise to $15. But we have all lost out because the same old Conservatives have never been the friend of working-class people.
We must do better.
Here’s what NDP worker solidarity looks like:
- Creating and sustaining 1 million jobs in the Green economy and just transition in building retrofits, domestic zero-emission vehicle production, and renewable energy.
- 10 paid sick days for all Canadians starting with an enhanced Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) to allow 1 or 2 days of leave paid by the Employer who can then apply for reimbursement.
- Including episodic disabilities in the EI system and expanding sickness EI up to 50 weeks.
- A Low-Income Supplement that means no EI or special benefits are less than $2000/month
- Mandating that contract and part-time workers be given the same rights and privileges as those working full-time work.
- Pushing for legislation that ensures temporary and contract workers doing equivalent work to full-time permanent staff are compensated equally. Employers can’t be allowed to pay some workers less and offer no benefits just to save some money.
- Bringing back Card Check Certification – when you sign a card, that should be enough to join a union. Period. We need to reduce barriers to your choice to join a union.
- Respecting your Charter Rights and Freedoms to conduct labour solidarity, collective bargaining, work actions, and strikes by standing up against back-to-work legislation and always fighting against right-to-work and back-to-work legislation.
- Standing up for Canadian workers in trade negotiations, maintaining our supply management sovereignty, and fighting against arbitrary and unfair tariffs.
- A Skilled Worker Tax Deduction for relocation costs.
- Replacing the disastrous, failed Phoenix pay-system and working to ensure that affected workers are adequately compensated for the incredible disruption to their lives while in public service.
- Introducing a $20 Federal Minimum Wage and growing that to a living wage.
- Protecting defined benefit pensions.
You can read our full plan here.