The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has added its voice to the chorus of labour groups calling for the province’s minimum wage to be raised to $14 per hour.
“We believe that work must pay enough to lift people out of poverty,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of OPSEU, told a government advisory panel in Kingston, Ont., on Nov. 6.
Thomas dismissed concerns that higher wages would cost jobs if employers responded by tightening budgets and trimming workforces.
“Worker’s production of goods and services is the source of profit for all employers,” said Thomas. “So when employers cut staff, they are also cutting production and sales, and therefore their own profit. If higher wages squeeze profits, most employers will take steps to boost sales, not reduce them.”
In fact, a higher wage could actually increase the number of workers, because minimum wage earners will have more money to spend — and not on international flights or stocks, he said, but in areas closer to home, he said.
“They spend their money locally on things their families need,” he said.
Unifor, the newly created union formed by the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union, earlier called for the wage to be raised to $14 an hour.
Ontario has created an advisory panel to look into the its minimum wage. The province's general minimum wage currently sits at $10.25 per hour. It was last raised on March 31, 2010.
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