TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Yesterday's passage of Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act) by the Ontario Legislature makes changes to Ontario's labour and employment laws that should be seen as the first in a series of necessary steps toward fairer employee rights, says the United Steelworkers (USW).
"Bill 148 is not the comprehensive overhaul that is needed for Ontario's labour laws, but it will help many employees and our union is proud of the role our members played in its development," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.
The new laws provide a fairer path for some employees to choose union membership as well as strengthened employment standards in areas including minimum wages and scheduling. Other measures include better rights for union members during lockouts and strikes and greater powers for the provincial labour board to remedy illegal actions by employers.
"Our union works hard for improved labour and employment laws," said Warren. "We gave the government's advisory process our best input and ideas, but just as importantly, our members were front and centre at the hearings and in the streets making their views heard."
Absent from Bill 148 is an innovative shift in bargaining structures that could have efficiently and fairly addressed the needs of tens of thousands of workers in the franchise sector. Broader-based bargaining, recommended to the Minister of Labour by his own expert advisors, was absent from Bill 148.
"We'll keep on pushing for more effective and durable solutions like broader-based bargaining," said Warren. "We hope that this government will soon set up plans to consider this and we expect the opposition parties to take a stand as well."
The USW was a strong supporter of the Ontario Federation of Labour's "Make It Fair" campaign and supported amendments proposed by the Ontario NDP such as three weeks of paid vacation after the first year of employment and extending card-check certification rights to all employees.
"We are disappointed that those amendments did not find support from the government. We'll keep employee rights on the front burner in next spring's provincial election campaign," said Warren.
View the full list of the labour law reform priorities identified by the USW.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)