If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 crisis so far it is that low-wage, unstable jobs anywhere are a threat to public health everywhere. The movement for decent work has never been more important if we are to protect ourselves and our communities.
With every step politicians take to allow more businesses to open come new reports tracing COVID-19 hot spots to workplaces notorious for precarious employment, from hardware stores to nail salons and from long-term care homes to greenhouses.
It’s obvious we need real laws, with real teeth, and real enforcement, so that all workers can take action to protect themselves and their communities. This is why we continue to fight for:
- Full immigration status for all
- Employer-paid sick days for safer workplaces
- CERB and the right to refuse unsafe work
Full immigration status for all
Since our June 14 actions, another migrant worker, Juan Lopez Chaparro, has died from COVID-19. Earlier in June, Bonifacio Eugenio Romero and Rogelio Muñoz Santos, both died after contracting COVID-19.
There are now more than 800 COVID-19 cases among migrant farm workers. And in a shocking display of cruelty, the Ontario government has decided that those who test positive for COVID-19 - but who don’t show symptoms - should continue to work. Given the conditions on Ontario farms and greenhouses, this will be a death sentence. It shows the government is more concerned with profit making than with our health and safety.
This is happening because workers do not have full immigration status.
Without full rights, workers who organize for safe and decent work continue to be at risk of deportation. This makes it much more difficult for workers to protect themselves or speak out about dangerous working and living conditions.
Not only is deportation a direct threat to those essential workers, it is a direct threat to our movement by depriving us of strong leaders whose help we need to win better workplace protections for everyone.
That’s why real health and safety for all of us means ending two-tiered immigration status.
Here are three ways you can make a difference right now:
- Call the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament now. Visit: https://migrantrights.ca/callforstatus/
- Join this Saturday's Cross-Country Day of Action: https://migrantrights.ca/july4/. If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, join us at 3:00 pm for a socially-distanced rally outside the constituency office of Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Marco Mendocino at 511 Lawrence Avenue West (click here for the Toronto rally details).
- Print and post these beautiful posters (download here) in your neighbourhood or around your local Member of Parliament office, and post a selfie.
Employer-paid sick days for safer workplaces
“Companies should be required to provide paid sick leave to every worker as a standard cost of doing business, and they certainly should be required to do so in the midst of a pandemic.” - New York Times editorial, March 14, 2020.
New York State is the latest jurisdiction to permanently implement employer-paid sick leave laws in addition to its earlier decision to legislate two weeks of employer-paid sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet in Canada, no government federally or provincially has stepped up to protect workers by legislating an adequate number of permanent, paid sick days for all.
As it stands, about half of all workers across the country DO NOT have any paid sick days.
The majority of people who are denied paid sick days are workers on the frontlines, least able to work from home, with the lowest wages and benefits, and with little job security.
Black workers are also less likely to have paid sick days, as are newcomers and other racialized workers. Fighting for paid sick days is a matter of racial justice.
Paid sick days are essential for workers with disabilities as well. And of course those in the caring professions from health care to child- and elder-care are very often racialized, newcomer women whose labour is so essential.
The evidence is overwhelming that employer paid sick days are not simply another cost to business. In addition to saving lives, paid sick days are an essential investment that saves money for individual businesses and the public purse. How is this possible? Reduced contagion keeps businesses operating and makes communities healthier, while reducing health care costs for everyone.
That’s why more and more people are speaking out for paid sick days, sign up now to join the action. Across the country, from July 18 to 21, workers are taking action by:
- Talking to their friends, neighbours and co-workers;
- Visiting their elected provincial representatives;
- Decorating their workplaces and neighbourhoods to remind everyone that paid sick days are an essential protection. To download and print the beautiful posters, click here: https://www.15andfairness.org/resources
CERB and the right to refuse unsafe work
In theory, workers in Ontario have job-protected leave during the pandemic if they have to refuse work because of COVID-19 related issues.
But without adequate income support, this job-protection means nothing for workers.
That’s why the Canadian Emergency Response Benefits (CERB) continue to be so essential. Unfortunately, these benefits are set to start running out in August. Without income support, too many of us will have no other choice than to go back into unsafe work putting ourselves and our families at risk.
That’s another reason it is so urgent that we keep fighting to ensure CERB will be there for as long as workers need it. We know that it will take months - even years - for the economy to come back into full capacity. Many workers will wait months before they can return to their occupation. Others will be returning to jobs with fewer hours or on reduced shifts. We need to ensure CERB continues to play the stabilizing role for workers and for the economy.
For these and other reasons, the Workers’ Action Centre and the Fight for $15 and Fairness are hosting an Emergency Meeting on Monday, July 20 at 2:00 pm, EDT to bring together workers who want to fight to extend this crucial income support. To register, click here. To share on Facebook, click here.
Join our next organizing meeting
We need to expand our networks and build capacity to fight in every neighbourhood and in every workplace. That’s why along with the Ontario Federation of Labour, we are hosting online organizing meetings every four weeks: Tuesday, July 21 and Tuesday, August 18 at 7:00 pm. We urge you to join us and to bring a friend. To register For Tuesday, July 21, click here. You can join online or dial-in (please sign up to receive log-in details). And to spread the word on Facebook, click here.
Many of us breathed a sigh of relief when the federal government finally announced an extension of the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) earlier this week. Millions across Canada were facing a financial disaster on July 4 when the first round of emergency benefits were set to run out.
Thanks to the public outcry, the government has announced that CERB will be extended for an additional eight weeks. But we know that eight weeks will not be enough, given the economic impact of COVID-19 -- you can read our public statement here. That’s why we need to stay mobilized and demand a much more comprehensive plan from our federal and provincial governments to support workers for as long as we need it.
Register now: June 23, Online Organizing Meeting
You can join the meeting online or by phone (register to receive details)
Join us for this upcoming online organizing meeting we're jointly hosting with the Ontario Federation of Labour on Tuesday, June 23 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Click here now to sign up!
Come meet decent work supporters from across Ontario, and even Canada, to discuss new ways we can put pressure on politicians. From fighting to extend CERB, to making workplaces safer, from winning paid sick days to raising the minimum wage, we need your creative ideas! At the meeting, we'll report on the latest announcements on workplace rights and have lots of time to plan upcoming actions.
And once you’ve registered (click here to do so now), invite one of your co-conspirators from your workplace, your community, your campus, or your union to join along with you. We have a lot of work to do and need as many hands on deck as possible!. You can spread the word on Facebook here.
Here are some of the recent developments we'll discuss at the online meeting on Tuesday:
Extend CERB - Make workplaces safe
Extending CERB is fundamental to protect workers whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19. We know that jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors may take many months and even years before full capacity has been restored. It’s obvious that our demands to extend CERB and improve Employment Insurance are as relevant as ever. Click here to sign the petition.
Extending CERB is also crucial to ensure that workers have the necessary income supports to leave dangerous workplaces. The reality is, Ontario workers are not being allowed by the Ministry of Labour to refuse unsafe work (see the Global News investigation). With the recent outbreaks on Ontario farms (read the Globe & Mail expose) and at a Home Depot (learn more), it’s clear that employers don't face enough pressure to keep their workers safe.
Full immigration status NOW for migrant workers
Thanks to everyone who supported the solidarity caravan to Niagara last Saturday, to echo migrant workers' demand for full immigration status NOW, click here to watch and share the video of the action.
Without full immigration status, workers who speak out for their safety are under permanent threat of deportation -- this has always been dangerous, but especially deadly during a pandemic. The current health crisis on farms in Ontario -- where hundreds of migrant workers have tested positive for COVID-19 -- has exposed the deplorable working and living conditions of migrant workers. Bonifacio Eugenio Romero, 31, and Rogelio Muñoz Santos, 24, both died earlier this month, and more are in critical condition in the ICU (intensive care unit).
This neglect of migrant workers is a symptom of the structural racism that pervades every aspect of society, including anti-Black racism.
Anti-Black racism is a public health issue
We will never win economic justice, without racial justice. The Decent Work and Health Network has issued a powerful statement outlining the serious health consequences of racism and xenophobia in our workplaces. The Network especially emphasizes anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism. Read the full statement here.
This Saturday, June 20 from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, there will be an important online community forum on alternatives to policing and criminalization. Organized by the Toronto Prisoners' Rights Project, this urgent discussion will be live-streamed over Facebook and Instagram and we are encouraging everyone in the decent work movement to tune-in. You can register and spread the word on Facebook here.
No time to lose to win 10 paid sick days!
The federal government has promised to move forward on 10 paid sick days for workers. Paid sick days are as essential for safe workplaces as PPE. Without paid sick days, many of us in low wage jobs, working inadequate hours, simply cannot stay home when sick, because we can’t afford to lose even an hour of pay.
This is another reason why paid sick days must be employer-paid. Workers need seamless access to paid sick days, any interruption to their pay will be a huge disincentive for workers to stay home when they are sick. And let's not forget, the likes of Loblaws, Walmart, Amazon or the for-profit nursing home Chartwell deserve no public subsidies to provide 10 paid sick days for every worker. Let's keep calling federal politicians to deliver on this promise, make your call now!
As the humanitarian crisis on Ontario farms worsens, a second worker -- Rogelio Muñoz Santos -- has now died from COVID-19.
Because of dangerous housing and working conditions, hundreds of migrant farm workers are testing positive while all-levels of government remain idle.
Emergency caravan to Niagara: June 13
To put a stop to these tragedies that could have been avoided, we are organizing an emergency car caravan to Niagara on Saturday, June 13, to send support and solidarity to migrant farm workers and demand immediate government action to protect everyone’s health and safety. Click here to register now.
You can join the caravan by gathering in Toronto at 9:00 am or along the route in Hamilton, Beamsville, or St. Catharines as follows:
- 11:00 am - meet in Hamilton at Food Basics parking lot, 2500 Barton Street East
- 11:45 am - meet in Beamsville at Pioneer Plaza, 5005 Ontario Street
- 1:30 pm - meet for a socially-distanced rally outside St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle's office, 61 Geneva Street
We encourage all participants to exercise physical distancing, wear masks, and to bring plenty of water, snacks, and hand sanitizer.
Migrant farm workers are essential, frontline workers who grow the food we eat -- and export. Quite literally, the whole world’s food supply depends on the labour of these workers, who are overwhelmingly from Jamaica and Mexico. Yet for far too long, they have been viewed as temporary, disposable, and expendable.
As the Migrant Workers’ Alliance for Change (MWAC) and Justicia for Migrant Workers have been pointing out, federal and provincial government neglect of migrant workers’ safety has led to the COVID-19 outbreaks on Ontario farms. To read the MWAC report, click here. Make no mistake, this is what racism - including anti-Black racism - looks like. And we need your help to put a stop to it.
Demand full immigration status for ALL: June 14
If you can’t join us on Saturday, please join us on Sunday, June 14 for a pan-Canadian online rally scheduled at 12:00 pm (noon) in support of Migrant workers, sign up now.
Together with the Migrant Rights Network, we are calling for full immigration status for all workers to make sure everyone can exercise all employment rights under the law and crucial public services like health care
Register now: https://migrantrights.ca/june2020/.
Help us amplify these actions over social media by following and using #StatusForAll. And if you’re an educator in the primary, secondary, or post-secondary system, please RSVP and share this event on Facebook here.
TONIGHT: Know your rights online workshop
From farms to child care centres and from retail outlets to restaurants, health and safety on the job continues to be a concern for all workers. With more Ontario workplaces set to open as early as Friday, it is crucial we know our rights on the job to keep ourselves, our coworkers and families safe.
Join the online workshop tonight (Thursday, June 11) at 7:00 pm and ask your questions, click here to sign up and receive log-in information. Please help spread the word on Facebook here.
With the Ford government changing layoff regulations to prevent Ontario workers from accessing termination and severance pay (read our media release here), and the Trudeau government introducing Bill C-17 yesterday, which seeks to limit access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (read our media release here), workers' rights during the pandemic are constantly shifting. Join us tonight at 7:00 pm so we know our rights and can demand better from the governments that are failing to protect us (sign up now).
Let’s keep organizing for decent work! June 23
At our May online organizing meeting, jointly hosted with the Ontario Federation of Labour, over 200 people came together to strategize and plan the next steps in our decent work movement! Let’s make our June 23 online organizing meeting even bigger! Please click here to register right now - then invite your friends and co-workers to do the same. You can also help spread the word on Facebook here.
Here are a few of the things we will be discussing:
- Links in the food chain: building solidarity among workers
- Health and safety for everyone at work
- Preserving pandemic pay for all of us
- Extending the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
- Winning paid sick days - Proposal for a July 18 pan-Canadian day of action
- Organizing in our communities
Don’t forget to visit our website 15andFairness.org for resources, upcoming events, and political updates.
COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire among migrant farm workers with temporary immigration status, who are housed by their employers in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions and work without access to any paid sick days or protective equipment.
Over two hundred and eighty have now tested positive, several are hospitalized, and one migrant worker from Mexico -- 31 year old Bonifacio Eugenio Romero -- has died.
Health experts have been clear about the source of the infections: "any 'suspicion that it might have been brought from elsewhere is absolutely not true in this situation,' said Dr. Mustafa Hirji, acting medical officer of health for the Niagara region. 'We believe this is infection that was acquired through people's interaction within the community. … Living in close quarters and difficulty maintaining physical distancing at work may have been factors."
These workers – most of whom come from Jamaica and Mexico – are not only paid poorly for highly-skilled and difficult work, but are also held down by temporary work permits tied to their employer: where speaking up against unsafe working conditions means getting deported.
Migrant workers are essential workers, not expendable bodies. It is their labour that fuels the very food chain upon which we all depend, from fields and factories to grocery stores. Yet from one end of the country to the other, whether it’s meat-processing plants in Alberta or farms in Ontario, there has been a complete failure to provide safe work and decent living conditions.
But we can change all this - and protect each other - if we raise our voices together. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change is calling for three simple demands from Ontario to contain and mitigate the crisis:
- Suspend work at COVID-19 farms.
- Ensure income for all.
- Ensure proper health & safety.
Will you speak up to protect everyone’s health? We need immediate action to contain the outbreak and prevent more people from getting infected, or worse.
Call your Member of Provincial Parliament NOW!
Click to see tips and find their number.
The fact we are having to sound the alarm to ensure some basic level of dignity for migrant farm workers, speaks to the depth of racism that forms the very foundation of Canada’s unfair immigration programs and labour market.
For too long, systemic racism has forced workers of colour into the most dangerous jobs with low pay, inadequate hours, and few benefits. This is a pandemic that has been hurting Black, Indigenous and workers of color with deadly consequences, way before COVID-19. Black and Brown bodies are NOT less deserving and more expendable than white bodies. Justice demands equal treatment for all. That’s why the Fight for $15 and Fairness is proud to join with the Migrant Rights Network to demand full citizenship status for all migrant workers. Join the day of action on June 14, click here to register and learn more.
None of us can be free until all of us are. Join us.
Organizing works! Just days after our #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives Day of Action, and under pressure from the federal NDP, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged on Monday to push for 10 days of paid sick leave for every worker in Canada.
With the support of health providers, faith leaders, labour unions, anti-poverty advocates and small business owners, we’ve been pushing for at least 7 paid sick days for ALL - plus an additional 14 days during public health outbreaks. Winning a commitment for 10 days of paid leave is a huge step forward. But, we can’t celebrate yet.
Take 2 minutes and make your call now (click here for tips)!
If you can, post a video or photo of yourself in action with the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives, and challenge others to do the same.
Despite his fine words, the Prime Minister has only promised to “explore” options with the provinces, and so far has made no effort to lead by example to legislate the 10 paid days for the nearly 1 million workers covered by the Canada Labour Code*.
It’s up to all of us to make sure the federal government turns their words into action. Call your local Member of Parliament today (click here to find their number and a suggested script). Tell them you support 10 permanent employer paid sick days to be legislated immediately, with no public subsidies for the likes of Loblaws, Chartwell or Amazon.
Mandate paid sick days now, without delay
With medical experts warning of a second wave of COVID-19 infections -- on top of day-to-day workplace outbreaks -- the lack of legislated paid sick days puts more people at risk of contagion… or worse. Workers who are ill must be able to stay home that same day without financial penalty, instead of having to lose income for 14 days to gain access to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Millions of people cannot afford to take a single unpaid day off when they are unwell. This is a disgrace - and a public health hazard for all of us.
During COVID-19 and permanently
From the heartbreaking conditions in for-profit long-term care homes, to the poverty wages facing many frontline workers, the pandemic did not create these injustices, but exposed them for what they are. Paid sick days are a necessity, not a luxury -- and if we are serious about limiting community transmission of contagious illnesses like the seasonal flu, we need this protection permanently. In Ontario, there are too many early childhood educators, paramedics, food handlers, nurses, security guards, cleaners and so many more without *any* paid sick days. This is unacceptable.
NO public subsidies for wealthy corporations
Meanwhile, Loblaws, Walmart, Amazon - all companies raking in billions more in revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak - underpay their workers and provide no paid sick days. That’s exactly how they keep their profit high. These companies can certainly afford to provide paid sick days for every employee. Our tax dollars must not be used to subsidize the Loblaws of the world to provide paid sick days, or the likes of for-profit nursing home Chartwell that has been rightly slapped with a class-action lawsuit. Let’s not give them a single dime.
Thousands of supporters like yourself sent in petitions, called our elected representatives and spoke up for this basic protection! For the Prime Minister to be giving voice to what thousands of us have been saying all along is a huge step forward and a vindication of our demands. However, we must force him to deliver on his promise.
As it stands, very few workers in Canada** have a government-guaranteed right to paid sick days. But together, we can change that! Make your call now (visit: 15andFairness.org/CallYourMP for more info). There’s no time to lose to legislate life-saving paid sick days for ALL!
* Canada Labour Code dictates the rights of federally regulated workers in sectors that cross provincial boundaries, like transportation, communication and banking.
** Workers in Ontario have 0 legislated paid sick days, while workers in PEI are entitled to 1 paid sick day a year after working for the same employer for 5 years. Workers in Quebec get access to 2 paid sick days after working for the same employer for 3 months.
Huge thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday's Day of Action for Paid Sick Days, which we cohosted with the Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE Ontario, a success! From Sudbury to Niagara in Ontario, and from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, we said it loud and clear: #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives.
Let's build on this momentum!
Sign up to join our online organizing meeting on Tuesday, May 26 at 7 PM
From sunup to sundown, photos and videos of creative actions to push for this crucial protection came pouring in. Here are just some of the highlights:
Wide-spread support for paid sick days:
From teachers to nurses, small business owners to students, we raised our voices yesterday. Friends, families and neighbours hit the sidewalks with chalk, chanted our demands and postered their local grocery stores. Some of us took our demands directly to local Members of Provincial Parliament and Retail Action Network in BC even got dressed up in superhero costumes! See photos of these creative actions, here.
Day of Action makes headlines:
Listen to this stellar radio interview where Lisa Descary explains why she is participating in the Day of Action.
Thanks to so many people taking to social media to show their support for 7 paid sick days for ALL (on a permanent basis) plus additional 14 days during outbreaks, we trended! Check out some of the great photos that were shared (click here), including this selfie compilation by Climate Justice Peel.
Elected officials join the action:
Local representatives across party lines echoed our demand for legislated paid sick days. St Catharines City Councillor Karrie Porter, NDP MPPs Jill Andrews, Jessica Bell, Bhutila Karpoche and Marit Stiles as well as Green Party of Ontario spoke out.
Throughout Canada, a conversation about the urgent need for paid sick days is brewing. It is really up to all of us, to make sure this sentiment gets turned into real action so every worker has the financial ability to stay home when sick. Join this Tuesday's online organizing meeting (7:00 PM on May 26) to discuss different strategies we could use to increase the pressure to win paid sick days for ALL (sign up here)! We'd love to hear from you about how the Day of Action went for you, and what other tactics you'd like to try in the future. You can join the online meeting by phone or the video app Zoom (log-in details will be emailed to you once you register, click here).
If you have any questions about the right to refuse unsafe work or accessing income supports during the pandemic, tune into our online workshop on Thursday, May 28 (register here) taking place also at 7:00 PM. We continue to host these free webinars together with the Workers' Action Centre, to help more people learn their rights.
Thank you for your ongoing support! Before Ford government took them away, we had made Ontario the first province in Canada to legislate paid sick days for ALL workers. By organizing collectively, we can win this crucial protection back. Let's keep up the pressure!
Ontario workers do not have the legislated right to paid sick days since the Ford government scrapped this basic protection. Nurses, cleaners, paramedics, garbage workers, grocery store workers, and so many more CANNOT AFFORD TO STAY HOME without pay, even when they have symptoms.
On May 21, demand 21 paid sick days with us: 7 paid sick days on a permanent basis and additional 14 days during public health outbreaks.
Share your paid sick day story.
Use the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives to post on social media why you support this crucial right for all. We'll be following the conversation on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram throughout the day to amplify your voice.
Sidewalk chalk your support.
Outside your house, local grocery store, or the office of your Member of Provincial Parliament, chalk the sidewalks with your creative messages in support of paid sick days. Snap a photo and post online using the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives.
Download & display our poster (or make your own)!
Choose from one of the many colourful letter-sized posters that celebrate frontline workers by demanding paid sick days for all: www.15andfairness.org/resources Post them up in your neighbourhood (or make your own!) and snap a selfie to tell everyone about the need for this urgent protection.
Cheer for paid sick days for ALL!
Bring your family members, friends, neighbours into the Day of Action by cheering for paid sick days from your window, porch, balcony, yard... Don't forget to film yourself in action and share it online with the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives.
On May 21st, wherever you are, whenever you can - speak out for paid sick days. We'll be sharing the actions of $15 & Fairness supporters like yourself throughout the day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so follow and post with the hashtag #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives to be a part of this important conversation. Not on social media? Reply to this email with your photo or video so we can post it for you.
Let's make sure politicians hear our voices, on the streets and online, to bring back this crucial protection without anymore delay. If you haven't yet, please take a moment now to sign the petition which gets electronically sent to your local provincial leader and Prime Minister Trudeau.
Together we can protect our communities!
Fight for $15 & Fairness Team
Politicians are looking the other way while more workers die from COVID-19 every week. We must come together to pressure them to put our health ahead of business profits.
While many businesses in Ontario (including retail stores with street-front entrances and all construction sites) will be allowed to open their doors as of Tuesday, Premier Ford offered no real assurances for keeping workers safe -- other than telling us to stay home if we’re sick.
The reality is, far too many workers cannot afford to follow this basic advice. Let’s not forget that it was the Ford government that cancelled the very legislation that had given every Ontario worker 2 paid sick days per year. The pandemic has proven how deadly it can be when workers living paycheck to paycheck cannot take time off when ill. We need paid sick days for ALL so everyone can stay home today if they have symptoms, instead of having to forego income for 14 days to be eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Paid sick leave saves lives! We need at least 7 paid sick days on a permanent basis and an additional 14 during public health outbreaks to protect our communities -- especially while more people are getting called back to their workplaces.
Register to join the May 21 Day of Action for 21 paid sick days for ALL, sign up here. On Thursday May 21, we will be speaking out online and offline to demand this essential protection for all workers, visit our website to learn how you can participate.
Invite friends and co-workers to join us on May 21: Share the event on Facebook (click here) to invite others to join you. Or print May 21 posters to hang in your local grocery store or leaflets to slip in your neighbours' mailboxes (download them here).
- Show your support for paid sick days: Choose from several posters celebrating our superhero frontline workers to show your support for paid sick days for ALL -- print and post them everywhere you can! www.15andfairness.org/resources
Join our next online organizing meeting on Tuesday, May 26 (sign up here) to be a part of the solution. And if you have any questions about the right to refuse unsafe work or accessing income supports during the pandemic, tune into our online workshop on Thursday, May 28 (register here).
Thanks for your ongoing support! If you are in a position to do so, please consider making a donation (click here) to help us organize more online meetings, phonebanks and workshops to keep fighting for these important rights.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a bold pronouncement:
"... if you are risking your health to keep this country moving and you're still making minimum wage, you deserve a raise."
We couldn't agree more.
But if the Prime Minister truly believes this, he should lead by example to permanently raise the federal minimum wage and implement an adequate number of paid sick days for all federally-regulated workers.
Unfortunately, none of the provinces have agreed to raise the minimum wage. Right now, hundreds of thousands of minimum wage workers are earning sub-poverty wages while risking their health and safety to provide the goods and services the rest of us depend on.
We welcome the long-overdue wage increases for Ontario's health, long-term care sectors, and social services, AND we believe everyone deserves decent wages - now and forever.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the intolerable wages and working conditions of the workers we need most: cleaners, educators, delivery workers, farm workers, child care workers, security guards, garbage collectors, drivers, health providers, grocery store workers, and more. We can't wait until after the crisis to demand better for the workers who need protection now.
Organize NOW for a decent work future
We are excited to announce a special organizing meeting co-sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Fight for $15 and Fairness next Tuesday. Let's continue to bring union and non-union workers together!
Paid sick days for all!
If New York State can do it - so can we!
Last month, the state of New York adopted legislation providing up to 8 paid sick days annually - and permanently - for employees across the state. These days are ON TOP of the 14 days of paid sick days already implemented to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Studies in the United States shows paid sick/emergency leave policies dramatically reduce the spread of contagious illnesses and save millions in health care costs and productivity losses.
Every province and the federal government should make 7 or more paid sick days a matter of law. And in times of outbreaks, all workers - union and non-union alike - should get an additional 14 paid days. Refusing to act now puts every one of us at risk and increases health care costs.
May 21 - Day of Action for 21 Paid Emergency Leave Days!
We need at least 7 paid days permanently and an additional 14 during a pandemic. That means workers need 21 paid days right now!
Our April 21 Day of Action to demand paid emergency leave for all was a big success. (Click here to to see a great video put together by Chelsea, an Ottawa-based $15 and Fairness fighter.)
At our most recent $15 & Fairness online organizing meeting in April, we agreed to build on this momentum by taking action again on May 21 to demand an adequate number of paid sick leave days be enshrined in law. It should be a basic protection for all of us.
For even more inspiration, artist and $15 and Fairness activist Michael DeForge designed some beautiful posters - in colour and in black and white. Visit our resources page here to download them.
We can use these designs to promote our May 21 actions:
- Make your own poster promoting a group or neighbourhood action,
- Print them as is and post them in your neighbourhood or around your transit routes, or
- Use them for your profile pic, for selfies, and more.
Special Webinar: Workplace rights during COVID-19
We continue to work with the Workers' Action Centre to host free, online info sessions about workplace rights, access to income supports, and other workplace issues. But we are excited to announce Progress Toronto is co-sponsoring our next session!
Got an issue? Call the Workers' Action Centre
Remember, you can call the Workers' Action Centre any time for free, confidential advice on a workplace issue, or for questions navigating government programs.
Support is available regardless of immigration status and in any language. Please mention which language you need when you leave a message.
- Calls from within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA): 416-531-0778
- Calls from outside the GTA are Toll-free: 1-855-531-0778
-- the Fight for $15 & Fairness Team
Are you ready to make some noise on Tuesday evening, April 21, to win 21 paid sick days for ALL workers? Sign up now to add your support (click here)!
The biggest thanks we can give frontline workers is to make sure they have protections and decent pay. Every day, between 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm communities clap and bang pots to thank essential workers. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we need your help to speak out for 21 paid emergency days: at least 7 paid emergency leave days and an additional 14 days whenever there is an outbreak. Are you in? Sign up here!
HOW TO GET IN ON THE ACTION:
From your window, front porch, balcony or social media account, join us between 7 and 8 PM on Tuesday to demand essential protections for all workers. Here are some tips:
- Print our sign or make your own! Click here to download the "All workers need PAID sick leave" sign, then post it in your window or on your door!
- Chant to have your voice heard. Here's a little inspiration: "Time to rest, time to heal, we all deserve a better deal!" "7, 14, 21 - Paid sick days let's get 'em done!" "What do we want? Paid sick days! When do we want them? NOW!"
- Call the Premier at 416-325-1941 to demand Doug Ford take action now so every worker has the ability to stay home when they are sick. If you need TTY (TeleTypewriting), dial: 1-800-387-5559.
- Chalk your neighbourhood. Get some chalk and hit the sidewalks, courtyards, or cement walls around your apartment or neighbourhood.
POST ONLINE: SHOW YOUR SUPPORT!
- Take a selfie or video, and post online! Use the hashtags #PaidSickLeaveSavesLives #COVID19Canada #15andFairness so we can all help share them! We'll be monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to amplify your photos / videos. Not on any social media? Email us your photos, we'll post them for you!
- Ask your friends and neighbours to join our campaign! They can sign up and sign the petition at www.15andFairness.org
- Spread the word! Share the graphic below to invite your network to join you in taking action between 7:00 and 8:00 pm on Tuesday, April 21 (they can sign up here.)
Thank you for your support! Let's make sure that security guards, grocery store workers, child care workers, taxi and Uber drivers, delivery workers, cleaners, and personal support workers are NOT alone!
Together, we can win these essential protections for ALL.