NDP should get aboard Bill 148

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: When the min­i­mum wage goes up, will the sky fall? (July 21)

I note with in­ter­est that the NDP de­scribes Bill 148 — the “Fair Work­places, Bet­ter Jobs Act” — as a “cyn­i­cal vote-grab at­tempt by the Lib­er­als as they face an elec­tion.” That may be true, but if the NDP wants to re­main rel­e­vant in the 2018 elec­tion, they need to be work­ing to strengthen Bill 148 in­stead of scoff­ing idly from the side­lines.

Bill 148 did not mag­i­cally ap­pear out of nowhere, as rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the busi­ness lobby would have you be­lieve. It is the re­sult of a multi-year cam­paign by the $15 and Fair­ness Cam­paign, com­mu­nity groups, and the On­tario labour move­ment that called on the gov­ern­ment to ad­dress the dire is­sues aris­ing from the spread of pre­car­i­ous work. While in some ar­eas the leg­is­la­tion doesn’t go far enough, Bill 148 none­the­less pro­vides a raise for mil­lions of On­tario work­ers and im­proves the work­ing con­di­tions of mil­lions more. That’s noth­ing to scoff at.

If the NDP wants to re­main the party of work­ing peo­ple, they need to take de­ci­sive ac­tion now to en­sure that Bill 148 leaves no one be­hind. They should be de­mand­ing seven paid sick days (in­stead of the Lib­er­als’ measly two), a min­i­mum of two-weeks no­tice for sched­ul­ing, an end to ex­emp­tions for stu­dents, servers, and agri­cul­tural work­ers, and the ex­ten­sion of card-check cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to work­ers in ev­ery sec­tor. We’ve come too far to let this op­por­tu­nity pass us by. Evan John­ston, Hamil­ton

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