OPSEU backing bill to ban scab workers in Ontario

Anti-scab legislation has worked for decades in Quebec and B.C. and the time is right for such a law in Ontario, says NDP MPP France Gélinas.

Toronto (4 Oct. 2010) - The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) is supporting a new attempt to have scab workers banned in Ontario during a strike or lockout.

"Ontario needs a law banning the use of temporary replacement workers during a strike or lock out," OPSEU says. "After a year-long strike at Vale in Sudbury, where temporary replacement workers were used, Ontario is ready for such a law."

OPSEU says such a law would rarely be needed but it would play a crucial role where the need arises.

"In our province, 97% of collective agreements are negotiated without work disruptions," the union notes.

"And with regard to the remaining 3%, very few strikes or lockouts involve the use of temporary replacement workers. However, sociological research has shown us that when replacement workers are used in labour disputes, the impact in the short and long term on the people and on the communities in which they reside can be devastating," the union adds.

"Laws banning the use of temporary replacement workers, also know as scabs, can also reduce the length and divisiveness of labour disputes."

A law banning the use of temporary replacement workers has been on the books in Quebec since 1978 and in British Columbia since 1993.

"Successive governments in those two provinces have never repealed those laws. A similar law existed in Ontario from 1993 to 1996 and during that period of time, investments in Ontario increased."

The Ontario legislation was abolished by the former Conservative government of Mike Harris.

France Gélinas, the MPP for Nickel Belt, has introduced a bill in the Ontario legislature that would again ban the use of scabs in the province. It is scheduled for a vote on Nov. 4.

To get involved with this campaign, contact Selina Clement Mikkola at selina@primus.ca


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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