TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ontario Public Service Employees
Union is calling on Finance Minister Dwight Duncan to get a ruling on
the legality of his proposed public sector wage freeze legislation
prior to passing it into law.
On Sept. 26, Duncan announced the Liberal government would propose
legislation that would impose a wage freeze on nearly 500,000 public
sector workers, legislation that even Duncan admits may be
unconstitutional. "There's constitutional risk with this, there's no
question," Duncan said after unveiling details of the draft
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas is demanding that the government
get a stamp of approval from Ontario Court instead of passing a law
that could well be illegal.
"Every citizen in Ontario, whether they belong to a union or not, should
be extremely fearful of a government that would try to pass a law that
they themselves admit may be unconstitutional," Thomas said. "This
draft legislation is an attack on the democratic process in this
province, and it seems that Duncan and the Premier are declaring
themselves to be above the law. All Duncan has to do is get a judge to
rule on this beforehand. Instead, he will wind up spending millions in
taxpayer money trying to defend the law after the fact."
Thomas said that this has all the hallmarks of a government that is
acting in desperation, and is appalled that the McGuinty Liberals would
act so recklessly to a threat that hasn't even manifested itself yet.
"Our members fully understand the economic situation we are in," Thomas
said. "No one is making any exorbitant demands. Yet before negotiations
ever take place, the government wants to pass a law that freezes wages,
virtually nullifies the right to strike and that gives them the ability
to impose contracts. And Duncan doesn't even know if it's legal.
Frankly, that should scare the hell out of anyone who lives or does
business in this province."
For further information:
Warren (Smokey) Thomas: 613-329-1931
Don Ford, OPSEU Communications: 416-448-7442