ST. JOHN'S, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Stealing a page straight out of the
Harper government's handbook by attacking labour rights, the PC
government of Newfoundland and Labrador has succumbed to the employer
lobby rather than stand up for the rights of workers, says Lana Payne,
Unifor Atlantic Regional Director.
The government has reversed its own amendment to labour legislation
after just 24 months with the introduction of Bill 22 last night. One
of the 2012 amendments dealt with how workers exercise their Charter
right to join a union.
Payne spearheaded the labour side involved in the four-year tripartite
review of labour relations legislation that led to the amendments in
"The government may want to dress this up as being about democracy and
secret ballot votes, but really what they have done is made it tougher
for workers to exercise their Charter right while giving the green
light to employers to continue to intimidate and interfere with that
right," said Payne.
She notes that it is laughable that a government would fall for employer
groups who say this is about democracy for their employees. The vote
for a union occurs in the boss's place of work with a representative of
the boss or the boss looking on while employees cast their ballot.
Employers also have ample opportunity to interfere and intimidate
employees between the time an application is filed with the Labour
Board and a vote is held.
"That's not democracy, that's intimidation. This government has given in
to the same employer groups who argue against decent minimum wages,
improvements to labour standards and for cheap, complacent workers with
few rights from foreign countries," said the union leader.
"The best situation in a workplace is for workers to have a collective
voice so they can come together and bargain collectively to improve
their conditions of work democratically, and the government has just
made it a lot tougher to do that," said Payne. "How exactly does the
government think the wealth from our economy will get shared if workers
can't join unions? Does this government think this will happen
Payne noted that the labour movement has come to expect this kind of
treatment from the Harper government, and now it appears we have to
expect ramped up anti-worker treatment from the local Conservatives
Payne will join with the President of the Federation of Labour Mary
Shortall in a meeting with the Premier later today to outline labour's
The withdrawal of the Bill would be the best course of action.
For further information:
Shelley Burgoyne, Communications