Union leaders plot strategy over Bill 115

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Teachers protested outside MPP Jim McDonell's office recently against Bill 115.

Union leaders are meeting today to create a campaign that takes aim at provincial legislation that has teachers walking picket lines.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) from area locals want to protect what they feel are eroding workers' rights to collective bargaining. It's part of 20 regional meetings taking place across the province.

"Public service workers across Ontario are facing threats of new provincial legislation that attacks our democratic rights to collective bargaining, and impartial third-party arbitration," said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. "These rights come from decades of hard work that have brought fairness and stability to labour relations in Ontario, they must be protected."

Critics are suggesting Bill 115, the Liberals' legislation that affects school board workers, and other proposed legislation, strips long-standing rights from workers who collectively negotiate their contract with employers.

CUPE says the legislation allows the government to dictate what a collective agreement must achieve and to change a negotiated agreement unilaterally. Proposed legislation also undermines the ability for workers to seek impartial third-party arbitration when collective bargaining hits a dead end.

The campaign is calling for the repeal of Bill 115 and an end to any further legislation proposed by the government and PC Leader Tim Hudak that undermines the rights of other public service workers.

"The Liberals are creating an unnecessary crisis by attacking our democratic rights," said Rennick. "The government's intrusion could destabilize public services people depend on. We will be discussing steps to be taken locally to help protect these services - and our members."

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees

Geographic location: Ontario

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  • Paul Waldie
    November 20, 2012 - 20:23

    I would like to thank Seaway News for the opportunity to post this. It has provided me with the opportunity to show why Bill 115 is just plain wrong. To sum up this bill: • Restricts bargaining between an employee group, the CUPE members, and their employer, the Boards, by imposing conditions. • Eliminates unvested sick days that have been earned after many years of service. • Freezes salaries this year and effectively rolls them back 1.5% next year for teachers. • Allows Cabinet, not the Legislature, to modify, reject, or impose any condition on any contract that is agreed upon by CUPE and the school boards. • Allows Cabinet, not the elected Legislature, to impose back to work regulations. • Bill 115 places itself above the Human Rights Code, The Labour Relations Act, and even the Canadian Courts by stating that this legislation is not reviewable by the very things that were put in place to protect all Canadians. • The list goes on and on. Don’t take my word for it, however, google the Bill and read it for yourself. The ruling party has given itself powers that before only sat with the elected Legislature and then prorogued the Legislature to limit the accountability to the people of Ontario. Our democratic rights are at stake here and even though some wish to only look at pieces and parts of what is really going on, those are the ones in severe danger of missing the big picture. Thank you.