NDP should get aboard Bill 148
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