Windsor West MPP presses Conservatives over anti-scab legislation
Anti-scab legislation was tabled Wednesday in Queen’s Park by Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and other members of the NDP which would ban the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout.
This is the 16th time since 1996 the NDP has put forth a bill like this and during Wednesday’s question period Gretzky pressed the Conservatives.
“No more rhetoric. Look right at those workers and tell them yes or no,” said Gretzky pointing to Ontario union workers out on strike, including some from Windsor Salt.
She wants the Doug Ford government to take a stand on legislation protecting workers from being replaced by temporary workers during labour disputes.
“You can't honestly say you're working for workers and vote against anti-scab legislation Mr. Speaker. It just doesn't jive,” said Gretzky.
Minister of Labour Monty McNaughton's response focused on Windsor Salt workers. He told the gallery the government has sent a clear message to the company they want a deal at the table.
“Mr. Speaker, 98 per cent of all deals in the province of Ontario are done at the table,” he said. “We want a good deal. A fair deal for those Windsor Salt workers and Mr. Speaker we know that they're at the table and we want them to get a deal as soon as possible.”
Gretzky was disappointed by what she calls a non-answer from McNaughton.
“I can just imagine how they feel knowing the minister just refused to say yes he would support the legislation.” Gretzky said.
Unifor Local 240 president Jodi Nesbitt was in attendance and felt let down because McNaughton couldn’t look the workers in the eyes during his response.
“It was very disappointing,” she said. “Very underwhelming to hear Monty not answer a question not once but he was asked that question two times.”
Bill Wark was not in Toronto, but the president of Unifor Local 1959 is happy to see the bill brought forward to help balance the employer and employee relationship.
“Legislation like this only serves to shorten labour disputes and brings together the parties in a more collaborative fashion,” he said.
Wark says the first round of negotiations produced baby steps. Both sides are set to resume four days of talks Monday with outsourcing and job security as major hurdles.
“To our knowledge they have not brought in any replacement workers yet but that's always a distinct possibility,” he said.
Gretzky says the government passed anti-worker legislation and feels the legislation to protect workers presented Wednesday could be pushed through in a 24-hours.
“The government could do it tomorrow if they wanted to,” she said.
In Tuesday's federal budget, the government promised to amend the Canadian labour code before the end of 2023 to prohibit the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout.
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