Ontario workers are struggling to get by. More and more decent jobs are being replaced by low-wage and precarious work.
The minimum wage was frozen at $10.25 for four years, while food and transportation costs continued to rise. The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage was launched in March 2013, with communities across Ontario demanding the government ‘melt the freeze’, and engaging in creative actions on the 14th of every month, calling for a $14 minimum wage.
In 2014, thanks to this province-wide mobilization, the Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage successfully pressured the Ontario government to increase the minimum wage from $10.25 to $11.00 an hour. We also won indexation – so that the minimum wage would be pegged to annual cost of living increases. In 2015, indexation will be bringing the minimum wage up to $11.25 on October 1st.
But this is still more than 16% below the poverty line. And we all know that part-time, casual, temporary and contract work is growing faster than full-time permanent work. This leaves an increasing number of us with little job security, juggling multiple jobs to make ends meet, struggling to manage erratic schedules, and without access to basic health, unemployment, and pension benefits.
We need decent work and stronger laws that will better protect workers in this changing labour market.
All around us, the movement to build decent jobs is growing. In the US, the movement of fast food and retail workers surged in 2014 with campaigns demanding a $15 minimum wage and state-legislated paid sick days, better scheduling and hours, and the right to join unions. The BC Federation of Labour has launched a Fight for $15 campaign, and Nova Scotia recently announced its own $15 campaign. The Federal NDP pledged to make $15 the minimum standard for all federally-regulated, private and public sector workers. Here in Ontario, the government is reviewing employment laws for the first time in a generation – this is a crucial moment for us to organize for decent work.
For all these reasons, we think the time is right to put decent work on the agenda and demand a $15 minimum wage and fairness – decent hours, paid sick days, respect at work, and rules that protect all of us. Join us in our Fight for $15 and Fairness!
Learn more at http://15andfairness.org/the-movement/