Ontario’s provincial government has passed Bill 124, which empowers the Ford Conservatives to override collective bargaining and impose settlements that lock front line workers into wages that cannot keep up with inflation.
“This is a regressive bill that for years will prevent the majority of Ontario’s 280,000 CUPE members, as well as tens of thousands of hardworking frontline workers who belong to other unions, from exercising their constitutionally protected right to engage in free collective bargaining. It is absolutely shameful,” stated Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario.
The average annual salary of CUPE members is around $40,000.00. Both public sector and private sector wage settlements in Ontario have been below inflation every year for the past 10 years. The Ministry of Labour’s own data reflects this. The Ford Conservatives have a revenue problem which is a direct result of continuing Liberal and Conservative tax policy which fails to raise revenue by not taxing profitable corporations and the wealthiest in our communities.
Bill 124 is based on the belief that frontline worker wages are the problem. Wages are not the cause of Ontario’s deficit. Bill 124 is unnecessary, unfair, it violates the Charter and most importantly, it makes life more difficult for hundreds of thousands of hardworking people and their families.
“Bill 124 blames working people and strips them of the rights that workers in this country, in this province enjoy. No one believes that people working in a childcare center, or a personal support care worker in Long Term Care or the myriad of other important frontline workers delivering services caused the deficit. It is just not true.” added Hahn.
By blaming these workers and stripping them of their rights, the Ford Conservatives are directly attacking the services our communities rely on.
“There are no services without the people who actually do this work and it is those people that are being impacted by this regressive bill.” Hahn further added, “All that speculation of a change in direction by the Ford Conservatives, is just smoke and mirrors. Bill 124 proves that their agenda of cutting public services and blaming front line workers for the deficit hasn’t changed.”
This assault on hard working people cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. CUPE Ontario will work with other unions to build resistance against cuts in communities across the province. “The Liberals attacked free collectively bargaining, CUPE Ontario challenged them and we won. That is why we are taking up this fight because workers’ rights matter and must be defended” said Hahn.