December 17, 2018
Ontarians should be deeply concerned at the speed and the manner with which the Ford government brushes away Charter rights by using back-to-work legislation, says the Ontario Federation of Labour. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the rights of all Canadians.
“Charter rights must be upheld in all cases, they are fundamental to democracy,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “If Ontarians allow this government to treat Charter rights as though they are flimsy protections, that is what they will become, and we will all suffer as a result.”
The Ford government has repeatedly undermined Ontarians rights when it comes to workers’ issues. It used back-to-work legislation to end the strike at York University, and threatened to use the notwithstanding clause to force a reduction in the number of Toronto city councillors.
“These workers have not even gone on strike yet, and the government is proposing back-to-work legislation. The speed with which this government tosses out Charter rights should worry every Ontarian. This time it is power workers, but there is no telling who will be on the receiving end of these rash actions next,” said Buckley. “Once again, the government is quick to strip workers of their rights by meddling in a free and fair collective bargaining process.”
The Ford government recently used Bill 47 to take away workplace rights from Ontarians including two paid sick days and a scheduled January 1 increase to a $15 minimum wage, despite widespread protest from unionized and non-unionized workers across the province.
The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit http://www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
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Ford, and his caucus, a group rife with ignorance about workers and the full and comprehensive process of collective bargaining (a right enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that Ford has already shown his contempt for) out of the gate start calling for some sort of legislated end to the issues at stake. When government can’t even wait for the ink to dry on the announcement of referendum results it shows that there was never any intention of permitting the process to run its course. In the Ford government there will not be one obsequious MPP, even those who claim some knowledge of the Trade Union Movement, who will stand for the rights of workers.
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives will recall the legislature from its Christmas break to impose a labour deal and prevent a potential work stoppage at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), government sources tell Global News.
The Power Workers’ Union (PWU) rejected OPG’s final contract offer on Thursday leaving employees in a strike position.
“OPG is disappointed that its fair and reasonable offer was not ratified by PWU members,” OPG said in a media release on Thursday.
“The offer provided PWU members with reasonable working conditions and benefits while recognizing the fiscal realities of the company and the Province of Ontario.”
Global News has learned Premier Doug Ford has scheduled a meeting with his advisers on the matter on Friday afternoon.
“Our members’ first choice is always to reach an agreement through negotiating in good faith,” Mel Hyatt, president of PWU, said in a media release on Thursday.
“We are disappointed that OPG provided a final offer that remained unchanged from the previous offer that had already been rejected. We need to reach an agreement that will strengthen the reliability of Ontario’s energy sector.”
PWU said the bargaining committee will meet on Friday to discuss steps to begin a 21-day “safe shut down” period in preparation for a strike.
Workers have been without a contract since March 31 and negotiations between the two parties have since reached an impasse.
The union said OPG refuses to reconsider its stance to deny over 300 term workers the rights of full-time employees. Currently, 300 Pickering and Darlington power plants employees fit in the term worker category.
The Ontario government says OPG, a Crown corporation, produces close to 50 per cent of the province’s electricity.
The Ford government says any prolonged outage caused by a job action “would jeopardize electricity supply to Ontario’s industry and businesses, which could have a devastating impact and ripple effect on our province’s economy.”