NORTH SIMCOE MUSKOKA AND DISTRICT LABOUR COUNCIL
The "Protecting A Sustainable Public Sector For Future Generations Act" (more commonly known as Bill 124), has been problematic since it's introduction in 2019. Capping all public sector employees to a maximum 1 per cent wage increase annually, it has drawn the ire of workers and those who represent them for limiting the ability to fairly collectively bargain. Now, in both Midland and Penetanguishene, councils are debating motions which will formally ask the Ford Government to repeal this legislation.
On Feb. 9, in both Midland and Penetanguishene, similar motions were forwarded by Midland Ward 2 Councillor Cody Oschefski and Penetanguishene Councillor Jill St. Amant. The North Simcoe Muskoka & District Labour Council, along with other unions and worker advocacy groups, have written letters of support to council members from both towns.
Bill 124 has impacted health care workers at a time where staff shortages and backlogged medical procedures are driving more and more workers to leaving the sector, either temporarily or permanently. Bill 124 has been opposed by every public sector union including CUPE, OPSEU and the Ontario Nurses Association (ONA).
"Bill 124 continues to wreak havoc across our systems. As inflation in our nation rises to 30-year highs, Bill 124 effectively asks all of our public services to take a significant purchasing power cut," says North Simcoe Muskoka & District Labour Council President Mike De Rose. "For all the support our community showed to health care workers, and how valuable they have all been throughout this global pandemic, it is insulting and demoralizing to be told one day that you are a hero, and the next, that you don’t deserve to even have the right to fairly bargain with your employer."
The Labour Council is asking residents of Midland and Penetanguishene to support the motions by signing the Repeal Bill 124 on their website, www.nsmdlc.org.
Midland council will vote on this motion on March 2nd, and Penetanguishene on March 9th. It is possible that these motions, if passed, spark an interest in more municipal and local governments weighing in on controversial Provincial legislation which has negative impacts in their own communities.
The North Simcoe Muskoka & District Labour Council is committed to supporting workers, their families, and their communities through political action and advocacy.