On January 27, 250 – 300 members of IBEW Locals 586, 105, and 353 demonstrated in front of the Toronto Sheraton hotel.
The rally was part of an ongoing series of province-wide demonstrations against Schedule 17 of the recent Ontario omnibus Bill 70.
Skilled Trades across Ontario are demanding a meeting with Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to ensure they are aware of the full scope of the concerns about Schedule 17.
Many IBEW locals have vowed to keep the protests coming until the meeting happens.
“Thanks to the members from across the province for standing up and voicing their concerns over public and personal safety problems created by the omnibus Bill 70 Schedule 17. Collectively our voices will be heard,” said IBEW Local 353 Business Manager Steven Martin.
Why is Schedule 17 a Problem?
Schedule 17 will reopen the scopes of practice for many skilled trades, and allow general workers to do the work that should be done by skilled trades like electricians. Many skilled trades, unionized and nonunionized, are raising the alarm about the compromise to both worker and public safety.
The other issue with Schedule 17 is that it allows the Ontario Labour Relations Board to act as a board of appeal for tickets issued to non-certified workers doing skilled trade work (and their employers). Historically the OLRB has expertise in labour relations, but not in trade governance.
Good Response from Public
The protest was well received by members of the public driving by.
“I’d really like to thank the Brothers and Sisters of Local 353 for hosting us in Toronto on Friday. Good to see everybody coming together to fight something that would see my skilled trade diminished and put me and my family at risk,” said Braydon Potter, Local 586, Political Action Committee Co-Chair.