Proposed bill banning replacement workers rejected

Union members occupy legislature in protest; demand to speak to premier
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 04/01/2011

A private members bill that would have banned the use of replacement workers by employers when employees are on strike or locked out has been defeated in the Ontario Legislature.

Bill 45, first introduced by the NDP in April 2010, failed to pass its second reading yesterday. Of the 34 members present in the assembly, only 16 voted in favour of the bill, while 28 voted against it. Supporters of the bill were highly optimistic that the bill would pass as the first reading was widely supported.

“McGuinty is saying to all of Ontario that workers’ right to free and fair collective bargaining is no longer valid,” said Wayne Fraser, Ontario director of the United Steelworkers’ Union. Fraser, along with other union representatives, refused to leave the legislature until they had an opportunity to speak with Premier McGuinty.

“He needs to tell us why he has chosen insecurity over community-building, and therefore what he is prepared to do to solve these terrible and unnecessary strikes and lockouts,” Fraser said.

Provisions to prohibit the use of replacement workers were enacted in Ontario in 1992, but subsequently repealed in 1995 when the Mike Harris government was in power.

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