Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

March 21, 2007 09:30 ET

C-257: Working Families Urge MPs to Vote 'Yes'

Ken Georgetti and Henri Masse call on MPs to vote for balance and fairness

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 21, 2007) - Hours before the critical third reading vote on Bill C-257, the leaders of the largest labour federations in Canada and Quebec are on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, to meet MPs to remind them that nothing has changed since October, when a majority of 167 approved the bill in second reading.

Bill C-257 would make it illegal for employers to hire replacement workers while their own employees are locked out or on strike. In the provincial jurisdiction, such legislation is already in place in British Columbia (since 1993) and Quebec (since 1977).

Balance and Fairness in Labour Relations

"We call on all MPs to stand solidly on the side of balance and fairness and vote 'yes' this evening to Bill C-257. These are the values that must guide good labour relations." This is the message delivered to MPs by the president of the FTQ (Quebec Federation of Labour), Henri Masse and the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, Ken Georgetti.

Irrational Arguments Unrelated to the Bill's Content

"This legislation is a matter of fundamental respect for working families. It is about bringing balance and fairness in labour relations," explained Georgetti.

"Since October, the business lobbyists in Ottawa have mounted such a campaign of fear that many MPs are now second guessing their support for the bill. Yet, none of the lobbyists' irrational arguments against the bill are about the bill or the practice of hiring replacement workers."

A Law that has civilized Labour Relations in Quebec

Henri Masse, president of the FTQ, stresses the fact that "such legislation has been in application in Quebec for three decades. There were then apocalyptic predictions but the law helped improve social peace immensely. No business ever closed down because of a strike."

"Over the last thirty years, governments have changed, business and labour leadership have changed, yet there has never been a call to reopen our anti-scab law: this law has civilized labour relations and has reduced the number of disputes and their length. Workers and employers, everyone has been a winner," says Masse.

Stand Up to the Lobbies

To the Quebec Liberal MPs and to the sole Quebec Conservative MP who voted in favour of this law, the FTQ's Henri Masse says: "You've had the courage to support this bill in second reading; you must now resist the lobbies that are predicting the end of the world if this bill is adopted in third reading."

No Discrimination Among Workers

"In Quebec, right now, and the same thing is true in British Columbia, if you work under the Canada Labour Code, you have less protection than the majority of workers who work under the provincial labour laws. Adoption of this bill would correct that unfair situation. There should not be two categories of workers in Canada," Masse and Georgetti concluded.

On October 25, the second reading vote tally was 167 in favour and 101 opposed. The labour movement still expects today' s third reading decision on Bill C-257 to be a free vote for the Conservatives and for the Liberals.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils.

The FTQ (the Quebec Federation of Labour) is Quebec's largest organization of working people with over half a million members.

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413
    www.canadianlabour.ca
    or
    FTQ
    Jean Laverdiere
    514-893-7809