July 15, 2017

Fight isn’t over! Help us strengthen Bill 148

You may have heard that the government is planning to make some important improvements to the wages and working conditions of Ontario workers — and this is fantastic news. But, nothing in the current plans are set in stone and we need to fight to make sure that the legislation — Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148) — moves forward and is strengthened.

Bill 148 is in committee, and we are half-way through the 10 day, 10 city tour that kicked off in Thunder Bay on Monday July 10. This first week’s hearings demonstrated an incredible show of support by community and labour groups who deputed in favour a $15 minimum wage, and other amendments needed to strengthen Bill 148.

Click here to see more photos of the Bill 148 public hearings

 

But, we know that the 1% are opposed to sharing their profits with the workers who help generate that wealth. For example, Cara Food Inc. — the company that owns Swiss Chalet, Kelsey’s & Montana’s, Eastside Mario’s and others — has deployed its representatives to make deputations during the hearings to suggest that sub-poverty wages are the foundation of their business model and any quick adjustment will somehow bring ruin to their restaurants. That flies in the face of the fact that the CEO of Cara Foods enjoys payouts and stock options worth $100 million.

Let’s be absolutely clear: the Ontario government introduced Bill 148, in response to the high levels of public support for decent work that our movement has demonstrated:

  • Campaign Research polling (click hereshows that 64% of Ontarians SUPPORT a $15 or higher minimum wage. Remarkably, a substantial minority of Ontarians — fully 17% — believe that $15 is too low.
  • 72% of Toronto residents SUPPORT a $15 or higher minimum wage (51% about right + 21% too little) These data appear on page 10 of the pdf linked above.
  • 62% of small- and medium-sized business owners SUPPORT a $15 or higher minimum wage (47% about right + 15% too little) These data appear on page 11 of the pdf linked above. That small- and medium-sized businesses support raising the minimum wage is not surprising. Data released in 2014 shows that small- and medium-sized businesses are already more likely to pay workers more than minimum wage, since they know first hand how important staff are to growing their businesses. This research from Social Planning Toronto looks at Statistics Canada data that show large firms are 5 times (500%) more likely to pay minimum wage than smaller firms. You may also be interested in a new and growing network of employers who are speaking out in support of decent work. Click here to visit the Better Way Alliance.

Until the Bill 148 becomes law, nothing is guaranteed. And even if it becomes the law it doesn’t stop a future government from rolling back the gains we made. 

Bill 148 has the potential to improve the wages and working conditions of millions of Ontario workers, by taking much-needed steps forward to raise the minimum wage to $15 by January 1, 2019; introduce fairer schedules; ensure equal pay for equal work for part-time, contract and temp agency workers; and so much more. Of course we need to go further and we are working hard to strengthen the current Bill, that’s why your actions in support of the Fight for $15 and Fairness are crucial.

Corporations claim that any improvement to wages and working conditions will bankrupt their business. That old and outdated story has been proven wrong time and again. Together, we must counter the corporate backlash that opposes our agenda for decent work. Our voices — the 99% — must be louder than the voices of the 1%, even if they have greater access to the media than we do. By speaking out and demonstrating the high levels of public support for the changes in and our proposed amendments to Bill 148, we can counter the big business lobby.  

Strengthen Bill 148, help us fight for $15 and Fairness:

  • Send a written submission to the Committee reviewing Bill 148. We have prepared a draft letter (click here to download) which you can edit to reflect your (or your organization’s) voice. The letters are due Friday July 21st, 5:30 pm.
  • Read the “cheat sheet” (download) to respond to tricky questions on minimum wage increases. For those making deputations, this is essential reading.
  • Make sure you are following us on Facebook: we update the campaign’s Facebook page daily with the latest news and evidence. Help us spread the word – here is Toronto Star’s front page story exposing the temp agency industry
  • Talk to you friends and co-workers about what’s at stake with Bill 148, here (download) is a useful two-pager that you can print, hand out and use as a poster.
  • Come out and join us in your community, scroll down for details:

UPCOMING EVENTS: Join one near you!

There are numerous actions and events being organized across Ontario! If you don’t see an action in your area, let us know how we can help you get one going!

Monday, July 17

LONDON
London Solidarity Breakfast for Bill 148
7:30AM – 9:00AM | Delta London Armouries Hotel, 325 Dundas Street |
 Click for map
Join the Ontario Federation of Labour and the London & District Labour Council for a solidarity breakfast to celebrate our intense province-wide efforts to improve the lives of working people. All are welcome to attend. We encourage you to stay to attend the public hearings to support the presenters!
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

Tuesday, July 18

KITCHENER
Kitchener-Waterloo Solidarity Breakfast for Bill 148
7:30AM – 9:00AM | Holiday Inn Kitchener, 30 Fairway Rd S |
 Click here for a map
Join the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Waterloo Regional Labour Council for a solidarity breakfast. Bill 148 increases the minimum wage to $15/hour and includes changes that make it easier to join unions – but the fight is far from over! Everyone is welcome to join us for breakfast, and if you can, stay to attend the public hearing in Kitchener.
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

TORONTO
Toronto-Wide Organizing Meeting
5:30PM – 8:00PM  | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 223 | Click here for a map
Come to the next city-wide Fight for $15 and Fairness organizing meeting! Together, we have managed to force important labour law reforms onto the table. Let`s stay organized to strengthen and defend Bill 148: the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Join us this Tuesday to learn more about what is in the bill and help plan summer actions.
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

Thursday, July 20

KINGSTON
Celebrating $15 & Fairness
7:00PM – 8:30PM |
 89 Colborne St | Click here for a map
In light of the Ontario government`s proposed legislation to increase the minimum wage to $15 and introduce labour law changes, join us for a celebratory town hall. Let`s celebrate what we have achieved, talk about what these reforms mean for workers in Kingston and discuss our next steps. There will be cake, speakers, Q&A discussion, & a raffle with great prizes. We hope to see you there!
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

TORONTO
Workersgiving – A comedy fundraiser for $15 & Fairness
8:00PM – 11:00PM |
 Christie Pits Pub, 814 Bloor St West | Click here for a map
We’re looking to raise funds, raise FUNs and also raise #15andFairness awareness. It took a lot of effort to get to this legislative point and what better way to let off some steam and build grassroots resources than a comedy night with professional comedians who will help boost your enegry for the struggle ahead. Tickets are $10 in advance at: www.bruha.com/event/1549 or at the door –  all proceeds will go to the campaign.
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

Saturday, July 22

SCARBOROUGH
Junior Carnival $15 & Fairness Outreach Blitz
12:00PM – 2:00PM | Neilson house, 1575 Neilson Road 
 | Click here for a map
Are you ready for another fun outreach action to talk to local residents about the urgent need for $15 & Fairness in our communities? Join us at the Junior Carnival Parade & Family Day on July 22 to talk to our neighbours about what is at stake with Bill 148, and how we can continue putting pressure on our elected representatives to make sure that we win the best possible labour law reforms. We’ll have petitions, leaflets & posters ready to go, and together we’ll talk with passersby about the fight for decent work for all. Join us, and feel free to bring a friend!
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

Tuesday, August 1

TORONTO
Toronto-Wide Organizing Meeting
5:30PM – 8:00PM  | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 223 | Click here for a map
Come to the next city-wide Fight for $15 and Fairness organizing meeting! Together, we have managed to force important labour law reforms onto the table. Let`s stay organized to strengthen and defend Bill 148: the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Join us this Tuesday to learn more about what is in the bill and help plan summer actions.
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.

Wednesday, August 2

NIAGARA
Niagara Young Workers: Discussion & Social
6:00PM – 10:00PM | Regency Athletic Resort, 8068 Mountain Rd | 
Click for a map
Join Unifor at this public gathering that brings together unionized and non-unionized young workers from across the Niagara region. We will have a discussion focused on the issues concerning young workers today, including: precarious work, wage concerns, and health & safety, among others. Doors will open at 6:00 pm with food provided, and the event will start at 7:00 pm.
To RSVP and share on Facebook, click here.


If you don’t see an action in your community, contact us at info@15andFairness.org to find out how you can help kick start your own Fight for $15 and Fairness network.

— The Fight for  $15 & Fairness Team