“We are here to remind this government that they promised anti-scab legislation and we are still waiting. We all heard Minister O’Regan: he committed to bringing this piece of legislation in before the end of 2023. We were clear on what this legislation must look like, and I hope he heard us,” said National President Mark Hancock, speaking to a crowd of hundreds gathered on Parliament Hill this afternoon.
Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan spoke to those assembled and promised that government will pass anti-scab legislation by the end of this year.
The use of scab labour lengthens labor disputes, increases safety risk and drastically tips the bargaining scales in favor of employers.
“For too long, too many employers under federal jurisdiction have used scabs to undermine our constitutional right to free collective bargaining,” said National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “They’ve gotten away with it because federal governments have refused to ban strike breakers. But now, finally, pushed by the NDP, Justin Trudeau’s government has promised change. And Minister O’Regan, we are holding you to that commitment.”
CUPE members at the Port of Quebec are experiencing this problem firsthand: they have been locked out since September. “The Port of Quebec refuses to bargain with us because they are still making money, while they have locked out our members. The tactics are clear. They lock out our members, they bring in scabs, and they continue to reap profits. It’s unacceptable!” Hancock said of the dispute.
CUPE’s submission to the federal government outlines how the use of scabs undermines the constitutional right to strike recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015.
To restore the balance between employers and workers at the bargaining table, CUPE proposes comprehensive anti-scab legislation including:
- A complete ban on replacement workers, covering contractors and remote work
- Robust protections for workers who refuse to cross a picket line.
CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing 715,000 workers across the country in many sectors. It represents over 35,000 members in federally regulated sectors, including workers in airlines, communications, ports, public transit, ferries and rail, and various federal crown corporations, all of whom would benefit from federal anti-scab legislation.