As I have mentioned in other posts, I come from a union family (my father was in the Operating Engineers for more than 35 years, many of them as a shop steward) and I myself have had jobs that brought me into at least four unions (including my current stint as a member of the Saint Mary's University Faculty Union).
There is no doubt that organized labour is central to the prosperity that many Canadians enjoy. It is no coincidence that the decline of a living wage for many as well as the staggering growth in income inequality in Canada is partially the result of the decline in organized labour especially in the private sector. On this day we should also remember all those workers who do not enjoy a living wage or collective bargaining rights.
Last and not least, we should not forget about all those federal civil servants who have had their pay disrupted significantly (for at least five years now) because of the botched Phoenix payroll system (with no end in sight). The Liberal Government has made little progress in addressing this problem and many civil servants are owed thousands of dollars in back pay!
Helping to ensure all Canadians receive a livable wage will be one of my priorities as a Member of Parliament. I am in favour of a $15/hour minimum wage; a federal minimum wage of $15/hour would give an immediate raise to approximately 67,000 workers across Canada, from bank tellers, truck drivers and telecommunications workers to airport staff and broadcast journalists outside major cities. An NDP government would also increase the minimum each year so no federally-regulated full-time worker lives below the poverty line.
During the 2015 election, Justin Trudeau attacked the idea of a $15 per hour federal minimum wage and later told a business audience that he opposed raising it because "it's not just about putting a little more money in peoples' pockets."
It was also the Trudeau Government that forced Canada Post employees back to work after they legally walked off the job. In 2010, Justin Trudeau voted in favour of scab legislation while in opposition and in 2016, the Liberal Government voted down NDP legislation that would ban the use of replacement workers to replace those on strikes.
The NDP is committed to modernizing sections of the Canadian Labour Code (neglected by the Liberals) to provide greater protections for workers, including by banning the use of replacement workers in labour disputes and delivering fair compensation for part-time and contract workers.
The growth of low-paid, insecure work is the result of decades of decisions by Liberal and Conservative governments – from scrapping the federal minimum wage in the 1990s to telling Canadians to “get used to” short-term, precarious work.
New Democrats know that good jobs that treat people fairly make a real difference to Canadian families. We’re committed to making sure that hardworking people get the fair wages and good working conditions they deserve.