Minister Kevin Flynn’s Office to protest Schedule 17. Members of Local 353 also made a great contribution.
In spite of the cold, the demonstrators showed their determination by marching for almost 3 hours.
“It’s essential that we keep the pressure on,” said picket captain (and newly elected IBEW CCO president) Lorne Newick. “The Liberal government is hoping that we’ll give up, so we have to show them how serious we are about this.”
While Mr. Flynn wasn’t available for comment, his staff did speak to picket captain Lorne Newick briefly. They assured Lorne that a meeting would be arranged in the near future.
Lorne Newick added, “I’d like to thank all the members who attended the protest, especially those from 353 who joined in.”
Protesters made sure to hand out leaflets to passing motorists and pedestrians, helping to get the word out to the public.
Schedule 17 Compromises Worker and Public Safety
Demonstrations like these are an essential step in the fight against the Schedule 17 portion of Ontario Omnibus Bill 70, recently passed. While the bill has Royal Assent, the actual wording of the regulations have not been finalized yet. IBEW and other skilled trades hope to influence the specific regulations so that public safety isn’t compromised.
There are two main issues with Schedule 17:
- It compromises safety by allowing general workers to do work currently done by skilled trades (both unionized and nonunionized).
- It will make it easier to get away with having unskilled workers doing the tasks of skilled trades. Because the Ontario Labour Relations Board will be the new board of appeal for illegal work tickets, a worker’s Certificate of Qualification will no longer be the deciding factor, and the burden of proof will become unrealistically high.
More Demonstrations Planned For January 20th
This coming Friday will see several protests around the province:
- Local 105 will be protesting again in the Hamilton area.
- Local 115 is planning a protest in the Kingston area at MPP Sophie Kiwala’s Constituency Office.
- Local 804 will be protesting in Guelph at MPP Liz Sandals’ office.
- Ottawa Local 586 will be protesting in the nation’s capital at MPP Yasir Naqvi’s Constituency Office.
- London’s Local 120 has some action in the works.
- There’s talk Local 530 in Sarnia will be demonstrating too.
Keep the Pressure On
It doesn’t matter if you’re unionized or not: if you’re a skilled trade Schedule 17 is a threat to your safety – not to mention the public’s safety.