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April 4, 2017

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) is throwing its support behind a new private members’ bill that would allow workers to choose only once to join a union, instead of the multi-step process currently in the Labour Relations Act. The Fairness in First Contracts and the Right to Representation Act will be introduced this afternoon by Ontario New Democratic Party Labour Critic Cindy Forster.

The bill would allow for card check certification and the option of first contract binding arbitration for newly unionized workplaces.

“Without a doubt, unions are the best way that workers have to make improvements in their working lives,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “This legislation would go a long way in making sure that workers are able to join and keep a union.”

In the card check certification system, workplaces are unionized when the majority of workers sign a card stating they wish to join a union. First contract arbitration allows newly unionized workplaces an automatic right to binding arbitration after 60 days of forming a bargaining unit.

Buckley said the OFL, unions, community groups, faith organizations, anti-poverty organizations and many others are deeply invested in the Ontario government’s Changing Workplaces Review, still underway. The recommendations from the Changing Workplaces Review special advisors are currently with the Minister of Labour, expected to be made public later this spring.

The OFL has joined with the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign in communities across the province, with the goal of winning significant changes to the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Acts to make work fairer for all Ontarians.

“Thousands upon thousands of pages have been written about the increase in precarious, insecure work in our province. This is the daily lived experience of Ontario workers,” said Buckley. “It is now time to act and make the changes that Ontario workers so desperately need.”

Buckley commended MPP Forster and the Ontario New Democratic Party for championing the rights of Ontario workers. The OFL is encouraging all-party support of the private members’ bill.

The OFL’s www.MakeItFair.ca campaign coincides with the province’s “Changing Workplaces Review” and takes on issues of inequality in the workforce. The campaign works toward across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier for them to join a union.

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter

For more information, please contact OFL Executive Assistant Shannon Devine (cell) 416-302-1699 or sdevine@ofl.ca

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