The Fight for $15 & Fairness has been busy this week! In Cambridge last night, the Social Planning Council of Cambridge & North Dumpfries and the House of Friendship organized a forum on employment standards and decent work. Over 60 people turned out to hear from workers in the community and their experiences of bad jobs. David talked about the reality of low pay and poor working conditions for contract workers at colleges, and speakers from the Waterloo Region Community Legal Services and from the Workers’ Action Centre talked about the problems with the law and the need to organize. Marjorie talked about the need for paid sick days: because she didn’t have any at her minimum wage job, she had to go to work when she was sick with pneumonia, and lost pay when she had to miss work because of a broken ankle. “They are taking away things that our grandparents fought for,” Marjorie said. “We have become complacent. We have to be the ones that stand up!” Read a great opinion piece on the need for #15andfairness written by one of the organizers of last night’s event.
Meanwhile, a public consultation took place yesterday in Sudbury for the government’s Changing Workplaces Review (CWR). Speakers from Laurentian University, the Sudbury & District Labour Council, the Sudbury Medical Officer of Health, and the Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre (SWEAC) gave powerful testimony. They talked about the need for more regulation of the temporary staffing industry, higher wages, making it easier for workers to unionize, the need for paid sick days and better scheduling, and for all workers – full time, part time, or temporary – to get equal pay and working conditions. Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the Sudbury Medical Officer of Health, talked about cases she has seen of workers without paid sick days going to work and infecting others, or single parents losing wages to stay home and take care of sick children. “The health-promoting or health-damaging nature of workplaces impacts all workers, their families, neighbourhoods, communities and societies,” she said. Read more about the Sudbury Consultation here.
Finally, we’ve told you about the major wins that happened in the US this week, with workers in LA County, at the University of California, and in the fast-food sector in New York State winning $15 minimum wages. The New York Times editorial board came out in support of the $15 fast food minimum wage and explained the impact of this victory on future organizing: “The new fast-food wage in New York will reinforce the notion that $15 an hour is a minimally decent wage, not a symbol or an extravagance…low pay dampens economic growth, worsens inequality and forces taxpayers to pick up the tab for public assistance to workers whose employers do not pay enough to get by.”
You can join the fight. Tell the government that it’s time for #15andfairness now. Email Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, or tweet him @OntMinLabour @MPPKevinFlynn. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours to do the same. Get involved in a Fight for $15 & Fairness event near you, or organize one yourself.