Union workers in Ontario are more restive than festive in the lead-up to Christmas. A coalition of ten unions is challenging the Ford government’s new law capping public sector wage increases for the next three years.
The coalition includes the Canadian Union of Public Employees, healthcare workers, and the United Steelworkers, to name a few. Together they represent a quarter of a million public sector workers.
They are outraged at the government’s Bill 124, which caps wage increases in the public sector for the next three years.
“Not only is Bill 124 unconstitutional, it forces working people who deliver public services in Ontario to take a real dollar wage cut over the next three years. Bill 124 limits compensation increases, which include pensions and benefits, to one percent total compensation, a rate far below inflation," said Ahmed Gaied, the secretary treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
Fred Hahn, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in Ontario, represents about 160,000 workers.
"The Labour movement in Ontario is absolutely united in our opposition to this unnecessary, unfair and unconstitutional attack on workers' rights," Hahn said.
The legal challenge comes just days after major teachers’ union filed three separate court challenges. Ontario Nurses says it also plans to challenge Nill 124.
The Ford government says it’s confident the law is constitutional, adding that the alternative is layoffs or tax increases.