CUPE Ontario has thrown its wholehearted support behind Ontario New Democrats’ amendments to Bill 148, the proposed legislation that would raise the province’s minimum wage and make substantial changes to both its Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act.

At a news conference at Queen’s Park today (Thursday, August 10), Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath outlined the key amendments her party will put forward on Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017. The legislature’s Standing Committee will consider the NDP amendments beginning the week of August 21 as part of its clause-by-clause analysis of the Bill.

The NDP amendments, as backed by CUPE Ontario, would make it easier for all workers – not just some – to join a union; protect all workers – not just some – from contract flipping; and make clear the direction of these changes: to reverse the dangerous and increasingly precarious nature of work in Ontario.

Attending the NDP’s news conference, CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said, “The amendments that Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP are proposing are proof that they have been listening to Ontarians and are representing their interests. The proposed changes from the NDP around Bill 148 reflect what activists have been demanding for more than two years. They’re also what MPPs heard at the government hearings that took place across Ontario this past summer.”

Hahn pointed out that, at the hearings, the workers and organizations advocating for positive changes to Ontario’s employment standards and labour relations laws far outnumbered the Bill’s opponents – sometimes by more than 2 to 1.

Calling Bill 148 “a good start,” Hahn continued, “If the Liberals are serious about dealing with the changing nature of work – really serious about helping working people who are falling farther and farther behind – then they will take seriously the positive and progressive amendments being put forward by the NDP to make Bill 148 stronger.”

He warned that if the government refused to entertain the NDP’s amendments, the Liberals would be ignoring calls for similar changes from a broad range of individuals and groups, including every union in the Ontario Federation of Labour; community legal clinics; workers’ action centres; unemployed workers organizations; and women’s, ethno-cultural, and anti-poverty groups.

“The NDP’s amendments represent all the priorities that CUPE submitted as a union and that we, our partners, and allies agreed to advocate for,” concluded Hahn.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.