Creating good jobs in Ontario must mean access to a union

The Ontario government announced its provincial budget yesterday, touting thousands of new jobs in Ontario over the next few years. But good jobs in Ontario must mean unencumbered access to joining a union, says the United Steelworkers union (USW) in response to commitments in the budget.

“What we didn’t hear from the Finance Minister is a commitment that these jobs will be good-paying and family-sustaining jobs that will stay in Ontario for generations to come. For that to happen, the government missed the mark on introducing card check certification to make it easy to join a union,” said Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada).

The government has announced an investment tax credit aimed at manufacturers who invest in operations across Ontario. The USW welcomes the much-needed investments into the manufacturing sector in Ontario, but urges the government to attach conditions that must be met or kept in order for manufacturers to benefit from this incentive. The government also stopped short of committing that these jobs would be good-paying, unionized jobs.

Additionally, innovation and expansion of manufacturing operations in Ontario – whether in steel-making, mining, auto or other sectors, should be sustainable and forward-looking towards a lower-carbon and green economy.

On the labour shortage

The Ontario government’s proposal to fill the so-called labour shortage with a funding expansion of training centres through the Skills Development Fund is a good first step.

“Investing in the workforce is a crucial part of building a stronger economy, but the government missed an important opportunity to also ensure workers have decent jobs at the end of that training,” said Sullivan. “We don’t have a labour shortage, we have a decent wages and decent jobs shortage.”

The union expressed its concern that the government failed to address simple fixes within its control: legislating paid sick days, fair wages and ending their appeal on the unconstitutional Bill 124, which limited compensation increases, including salaries, pensions and benefits, for millions of unionized broader public sector workers in Ontario to 1%.

“The success of Ontario’s economy depends on ensuring workers, their families and their communities are thriving. A good-paying union job is a sure way to live and contribute in a prosperous province."

The United Steelworkers union represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.