2016—2017 · Vol. 44 No. 2



Thousands rally for decent work

On October 1, more than five thousand workers and their families from over 45 Ontario communities rallied at Queen’s Park to demand meaningful changes to Ontario’s employment laws. The Rally for Decent Work kicked off the OFL’s Week for Decent Work, October 1–7, encouraging workers to demand positive change by connecting with their MPPs and sharing information about what is needed to create fairer employment laws in the province.

“We’re here because we believe that it is possible to create an economy built on decent jobs,” said OFL President Chris Buckley at the rally. “We know we can do better—we can build the Ontario we want.”

A number of speakers addressed the crowd about the kinds of changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that are needed to improve their working conditions:

UFCW’s Tim Hum endured a 22-month strike at Wings Food Processing. He said the government needs to provide arbitration assistance so that workers and employers can get to
an agreement.

Deb Henry, a grocery-store clerk with Unifor Local 414, said that her colleagues, many of who are single parents, need employers to provide schedules two weeks in advance.

Paid sick days for all workers are needed so that workers don’t lose their jobs or their pay for being sick, said Laura Kaminker from CUPE
Local 1989.

OPSEU’s Marilou Martin discussed the need for decent hours, a higher minimum wage and the effect of precarious work on the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Security guard Jana Papuckoski, with United Steelworkers Local 5296, called on the government to end contract flipping.

Sulieman Bacharat, from Unite Here Local 75, spoke about employer intimidation and the need for card-check certification. He said that what kept him going was the poor treatment of the Trump hotel cleaning staff.

“This rally shows that Ontarians know that they need to tell the government to make it fair. It’s long past the time where Ontario should have created conditions for good jobs across this province, and that’s what we’re calling on them to do right now through the Changing Workplaces Review,” said Buckley.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and its partner campaign, “The Fight for $15 and Fairness”, brought together thousands of workers and their families from communities across Ontario to carry the message that fair employment laws are needed in the province.

The OFL’s Make It Fair campaign takes on issues of inequality in the workforce, and coincides with the province’s “Changing Workplaces Review.” The campaign gives voice to unions’ demands for across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier for them to join a union. />

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