After 14 Years of Inaction, Ontario Liberals Must Enact Fundamental Labour Reforms

TORONTO, Aug. 15, 2017 /CNW/ - After a generation of inaction, Ontario's Liberal government must enact fundamental labour law reforms to address rising inequality and precarious work, says the United Steelworkers (USW).

"Over 14 consecutive years in power, the Liberals ignored the need for meaningful, comprehensive improvements to Ontario's labour laws, even as levels of inequality and precarious work skyrocketed," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

"Now, with an election looming next year, the Liberals are finally promising labour law reforms. But these changes don't go nearly far enough to improve working and living standards for many Ontario workers and families," Warren said.

Warren has called on the government to accept a series of amendments to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act put forward by the USW, other labour groups, workers' advocates and the opposition New Democratic Party.

"The government even ignored the advice of its own special advisors for reforms that would help many low-paid workers improve their working and living standards through collective bargaining," Warren noted.

The USW is calling for several amendments to Bill 148 – the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act – including greater fairness in the process allowing employees to form unions and to strengthen collective bargaining rights, he said.

The USW also supports proposed amendments to Bill 148 introduced by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, such as three weeks of paid vacation after the first year of employment, removing minimum wage exemptions for some worker categories, and making it harder for employers to label long-time workers as contractors rather than employees.

"We are calling on all parties to support the amendments put forward by Andrea Horwath to improve Bill 148 and address real problems faced by working people across Ontario," said Warren.

"Meaningful amendments are needed to Bill 148 to ensure all Ontarians are afforded the rights, decent wages, working conditions and benefits that they deserve."

For a full list of the labour law reform priorities identified by the USW, click here

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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