May 31, 2017

North Bay Nugget: $15 minimum wage: Thumbs up

By Henri Giroux

“It’s a pretty good day for workers across Ontario, and I’m particularly thankful for all the hard work our team has accomplished in the two years since we started educating, organizing, and mobilizing for labour reform,” says Henri Giroux, president of the North Bay and District labour Council.

“We’re pleased with the announcement of an 18-month transition to a $15 minimum wage, because precarious, part-time and low-wage earners are working on the edge,” says Giroux.

“It’s all about economic fairness and economic justice, and when we help low earners with an opportunity to live a more dignifying life — donate to charity, save for college, buy birthday presents — we not only grow our economy, we foster a safer community with greater vitality.

The $15 announcement is good news. But the Ontario government needs to follow through with a complete modernization of the labour laws in Ontario. Joining a union is the fairest way out of poverty and the surest way to economic prosperity, the council says. Unionized workers enjoy equal pay for equal work, time off to care for sick family, and negotiated holiday time to enjoy life.

Unions raise the standards for everyone by allowing for fairer wealth distribution. Unions help generations of families make remarkable investments in communities, steadily, surely, and fairly.

Unions help families invest in the lives of their children, and their children’s children, by enabling post-secondary education and quality training — all things necessary to earn enough stability to buy residential properties and pay important property taxes. The earning, saving, and investing power of working people is the engine of the economy.

“Hearing that part-time workers could earn equal pay as compared to their full-time counterparts, and that laws may force employers to use fairer scheduling practices, these things are steps in the right direction,” says Giroux.

“Employers have been exploiting part-timers for decades and it’s time we make life fairer for everyone, not just for the profits of corporations.”

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