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Dear Editor;
Individuals, each with a personal story, along with organizations across Ontario have stepped forward and gone on the record regarding Bill 148. For Ontario, it has been more than 20 years since labour law underwent significant amendments. Intrinsic to Bill 148 is hope! Hope for work that is no longer precarious, hope for work that recognizes each person's right to respect in the workplace and hope for work that gives people the opportunity to live with dignity in their communities.
For the first half of the 1990's labour law reform shifted from  the profoundly progressive reforms of Ontario's first ever NDP government to the ideologically driven regressive reforms enacted by two subsequent terms of Ontario PC government. Although Bill 148 is not the next step in the polarization of this recent history, the various proposals within the bill have the potential to address some of the egregious reversals of the Mike Harris Tories.
The Grey Bruce Labour Council is already on the record as agreeing with the overwhelming support of credible economists for increases to the minimum wage, but Bill 148 is much more than wages. Like collective bargaining, wages are but one pillar of providing Ontario workers a much-improved work and personal life while accelerating the overall well being of the entire province and its economy.
In the Grey Bruce Labour Council submission to the Bill 148 Legislative Committee, the Labour Council indicated that our region epitomizes the decline of working conditions in Ontario and precisely why the labour law changes put forth by progressive organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) submission are so much needed. Our region was the seat of manufacturing in a variety of sectors and intrinsic to that was full time and sustainable work. This was work that supported families and enhanced communities. No period of prosperity has ever exceeded the period in the post war era when unionization was increasing and companies paid their fair share of taxes. Except for the obvious locations such as Bruce Power, OPG, Healthcare, Education, and other sectors with strong union representation, the last four decades of legislative choices that undermined workers rights and acquiescing to short sighted views of trade have turned a prosperous region into a region of precarious work.
The submission by the OFL points to a wide variety of needs, but to ensure that workers in Ontario can attain and sustain the work and living standards necessary to raise families and ensure the long-term prosperity of our communities we must act today to make it as easy as possible to unionize. This must include "card check" certification and clear and present regulations that absolutely deny the employer any route to interfere with a unionization drive.
Beyond the one aspect of card check certification, the Grey Bruce Labour Council encourages all parties in the Ontario Legislature to look primarily towards benefiting the collective well being and not the short-sighted fear mongering of those who have decried and called for panic every time progressive legislation has been brought forward in Ontario and elsewhere.
The Grey Bruce Labour Council has been the voice of workers in the Grey Bruce regions since 1956. The Council is made up of public and private sector union representation and represents over 5,000 workers and is proud to speak in support of the OFL submission.
Dave Trumble

Grey Bruce Labour Council

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