UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

January 30, 2015 17:38 ET

Canada's Leading Union Applauds Supreme Court Decision Upholding Workers' Right to Strike

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 30, 2015) - The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) welcomes today's historic ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada declaring that Canadian workers have a constitutional right to strike.

In a 5-2 majority ruling, the Court said that the right to strike is an essential part of the collective bargaining process in Canada's system of labour relations. It further ruled that while governments have the authority to limit the right to strike for workers who perform essential services, they should not limit this right more than necessary. And the Court said that not all public sector workers should be deemed to be performing essential services.

"We applaud the Supreme Court for affirming workers' right to strike in Canada," says Paul Meinema, the National President of UFCW Canada. "The right to withdraw labour is a universal human right that is essential to ensuring fairness in the collective bargaining process," Meinema adds.

The landmark ruling comes as a result of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour challenging a regressive 2008 law - passed by Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party government - that limited the right to strike for workers who perform essential services. The law also gave the government unilateral power to determine which workers were essential, while failing to provide them with meaningful alternatives to settle labour disputes.

"While the vast majority of collective agreements in Canada are negotiated without a strike, and while a work stoppage is always a last resort when bargaining, the right to strike is nevertheless integral to enabling workers to negotiate with employers on more equal terms," says the National President. "That is why UFCW Canada welcomes today's ruling."

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada) is the country's leading union, representing more than 250,000 workers in various industries across Canada.

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