Ford’s “For The People” Movement Drops Hammer on Workers’ Rights
Today, Doug Ford tabled legislation to scrap much of the pro-worker Bill 148 that became law earlier this year.
The repeal of Bill 148 was an expected move, but a daunting one for Ontario’s working people nonetheless.
Here is just some of what Ford’s anti-worker legislation, called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, proposes:
- Scrapping two paid sick days per year and replacing those with three unpaid days.
- Throwing out the 10 Personal Emergency Leave days per year.
- Freezing minimum wage at $14 per hour for 33 months.
- Ditching Equal Pay for Equal Work provisions.
- Tossing out legislation that made it easier for workers in some sectors to join a union.
- Eliminating the Ontario College of Trades, which governs apprenticeships in Ontario.
And, Ford is doing this all ‘for the people.’
They’re sure trying to sell it that way. Their own release on the province’s website says it’s easing the burden on business while protecting workers.
All the creative wording in the world doesn’t change the impact these regressive changes will have.
How does repealing progressive laws that actually help working people do anything to protect workers?
Scrapping these laws damages the most vulnerable people, especially those working in precarious jobs. The truth is, he only works for certain kinds of people – and it’s not the kind that make an hourly wage.
Bill 148 wasn’t perfect, but it was a move in the right direction and it was good for working people. With this move, Ford is turning his back on the very people that voted for him. He may have a majority government but the Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) are still responsible to the voters.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen so far, none of his MPPs seem to have a spine. Where is their integrity? At what point do they start protecting the best interests of their constituents?
Bill 148 marked the first time since the 90s that a review of our Labour Laws took place. Some of the enhancements, like the 20% increase to minimum wage, may have seemed extreme, but keep in mind, those changes were badly needed and long overdue.
Bill 148 marked an important step forward in protecting workers and helping bring people out of poverty.
Look at his track record so far: He’s repealing Bill 148. He scrapped much-needed funding for school repair. He turned back the clock on the health curriculum in our schools. And, he attempted to ditch policies to reduce carbon emissions.
Does any of this sound like someone who’s looking to the future?
It is clear that Ford is determined to force our province and its working people to take a giant leap back in time. Ford has zero interest in protecting the people who keep Ontario running.
In fact, Ford’s anti-worker agenda proves that Unions are more vital than ever when it comes to protecting the interests of all workers.
Your Union will continue to fight alongside the Labour Movement to protect the rights of our Members and all workers regardless of what legislation gets thrown our way. We will move forward in negotiating progressive contracts that reflect the gains and protections that our government should be eager to provide and enshrine in law.
Yours In Solidarity,
President, UFCW Local 175
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