Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour
The Fight for $15 and Fairness

The Fight for $15 and Fairness

September 30, 2016 10:53 ET

Saturday: Workers Stories to Be Highlighted as Thousands Rally for Fair Employment Standards

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 30, 2016) - This Saturday October 1 at 1:00 p.m. at Queen's Park, there will be a rally mobilized by the Labour movement and its community partners. Precarious workers will share their stories to underscore the need for changes in the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act.

The Rally for Decent Work coincides with the Changing Workplaces Review, which will make recommendations for updating Ontario's long-outdated employment laws. The Rally for Decent Work will call on the government to use its Changing Workplaces Review to address the steep rise in precarious work across Ontario, and adapt our laws to protect workers who are trapped in jobs that are low-wage, part-time, contract, or temporary.

"These workers are suffering under our outdated laws. As precarious workers they face poor standards, a lack of stability in their earnings and scheduling, and obstacles to unionization," said OFL President Chris Buckley.

The OFL demands that when our government reviews its laws, it ensures that all changes improve basic conditions for workers across the province, whether those workers are in a union or not.

According to the Fight for $15 and Fairness, less than 25 percent of all workers are now fully protected by the ESA.

"People like us are left out," said caregiver Kristina Torres, who is a migrant worker supporting the Fight for $15 and Fairness. "There are too many exemptions in the laws that make migrant workers vulnerable. We are terrified of speaking out even when we do have rights because of the risk of deportation. We need laws that protect everyone."

Along with its partner organization Fight for $15 and Fairness, the OFL calls on the government to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, with no special categories that are paid a lower rate. All changes in the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act must work together to set a fair minimum standard for all workers. No worker should be stuck in precarious work.

The OFL's www.makeitfair.ca campaign takes on issues of inequality in the workforce, and coincides with the province's "Changing Workplaces Review." The campaign gives voice to unions' demands for across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier for them to join a union.

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

Rally speakers/ precarious workers are available for media interviews in advance of or after the rally.

Background:

The OFL's submissions to The Changing Workplaces Review identified a number of areas in which changes to government regulations could be made to raise employment standards for all Ontarians, whether or not they are in a union.

The OFL has identified the steep rise in precarious work (contract, temporary, part-time and low-waged jobs) as a growing problem for Ontarians, many of whom need to cobble together multiple jobs or multiple contracts in order to meet their basic needs.

The OFL submission to the Changing Workplaces Review "Labour. Law. Reform." can be found here.

The Fight for $15 & Fairness is a campaign supported by community, labour, student and faith groups across Ontario. It is calling for sweeping reforms, including fair scheduling; further regulating temporary agencies; investing in pro-active, public enforcement of employment laws; imposing meaningful fines for labour law infractions; legislating seven paid sick days; an end to contract flipping; easier access to unions and more. Central in the campaign is the demand for a $15 minimum wage for all workers, regardless of age, student status, job or area of work. For more information, visit 15andfairness.org.

Rally speakers will include:

Laura Kaminker (CUPE Local 1989):

She recently was involved with a strike that won a $15 dollar wage for pages and stronger rights for part-time workers in Mississauga libraries.

Tim Hum (UFCW Local 175):

Will talk about his experience as a precarious worker. He was a worker at Wings Food Products, who endured a 22-month strike before getting an agreement with the employer.

Erendira Bravo

Construction worker and organizer from the Latin American community (Toronto), who is part of the Fight for $15 and Fairness. Erendira will talk about the misclassification of workers, in particular contractors, as well as equal pay for equal work, and proactive enforcement.

Deb Henry (Unifor Local 414):

Grocery store worker who will talk about fair scheduling, paid sick days and $15 minimum wage.

Ted Hext (VP Ontario Federation of Union Retirees):

Will discuss senior citizens being forced to work longer, and ending up in poorly paid, precarious jobs.

Marjorie Knight (Organizer with Fight for $15 and Fairness):

Will speak on the impact of low-wage, precarious work and the issue of decent hours, and low wages.

Marilou Martin (OPSEU Local 557):

Will set her address on an organizing drive of part-time college workers, the need for card-check certification, and equal rights for all workers with no exceptions or exemptions.

Jana Papuckoski (USW Local 5296):

A hospital security guard, will talk about the effects of contract flipping and successorship rights.

Sulieman Bacharat (Unite Here Local 75):

Hotel worker and union organizer - part of the Trump and Renaissance Hotel organizing campaigns. He'll discus the difference between working in a union and non-union workplace.

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Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Meagan Perry
    Director of Communications
    416-894-3456
    mperry@ofl.ca

    Fight for $15 & Fairness
    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator
    (cell): 647-710-5795
    nil@workersactioncentre.org