May 19th, 2022

Horwath releases plan for jobs that keep up with the bills – including making it easier to join a union

SAULT STE. MARIE – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has a plan for higher wages, lower costs, and more respect for workers on the job.

“Everyday workers need to be able to afford everyday life. Together, we can lift wages up, bring costs down, and respect and protect working people,” said Horwath.

“I’m determined to make sure that a job in Ontario is a job that actually pays the bills. From paid sick days to helping more people get the better pay and benefits that come with a union representing them, we can fix what’s broken and help all workers build their best life.”

In 2021, the average wage increase was 1.3 per cent while inflation was averaging 3.5 per cent. Wages have been dragged down by Doug Ford’s low wage policy, holding all public sector workers to 1 per cent. Inflation has now hit 6.8 per cent making the situation even worse.

On average, unionized workers earn 13 per cent more than non-unionized workers, which is why Horwath and the NDP will make it easier for workers to choose to join a union.

To lift wages up, Horwath and the NDP will:

  • Increase the minimum wage by one dollar every year to reach $20 by 2026.
  • Immediately repeal Doug Ford’s low-wage policy Bill 124, which has been keeping wages down below inflation, including reverberating through the private sector.
  • Make it easier for workers to choose to join a union, bringing back 55 per cent card check certification, introducing first contract arbitration.

To deliver the best health benefits possible, saving Ontarians thousands of dollars:

  • Universal Mental Health Care: Bringing mental health into OHIP, saving families $200 per therapy or counselling visit.
  • Dental care: Saving $1,200 every year for a family of four. More like $13,000 if two kids need braces.
  • Comprehensive Universal Pharmacare: Saving the average family $350 per year, more for chronic illnesses.
  • Ten permanent paid sick days for all workers so no one misses a day’s pay when they’re sick.
  • Ontario Benefits: Providing all workers with a basket of benefits that stays with them wherever they work.

To make life more affordable overall, Horwath and the NDP will deliver:

  • Cut auto insurance by 40 per cent: Putting $660 a year on average back in people’s pockets.
  • Outlawing gas gouging: capping the price every week so it’s lower and predictable, permanently.
  • Tackling the cost of housing: through rent control, taking on speculators, and helping first time homebuyers with their down payment.

Doug Ford cancelled a minimum wage increase and froze wages for years, taking $6,000 out of people’s pockets. He also scrapped the measly two paid sick days workers had. During the pandemic, he voted no to giving workers any paid sick days more than 28 times. Workers had three paid sick days to last the entire pandemic, and Ford is planning to cut that to zero on July 31.

The Liberals froze the minimum wage for four years between 2010 and 2014, and denied workers adequate paid sick days.

Unions that have endorsed Horwath and the NDP:

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    • One million Ontario workers belonging to more than 1,500 locals from 54 affiliated unions
    • OPSEU/SEFPO represents approximately 180,000 members across Ontario
  • United Steelworkers
    • The USW is the largest private sector union in North America with more than 225,000 members in Canada
  • United Food and Commercial Workers
    • A private sector union representing over 250,000 members at thousands of workplaces across the country.
  • CUPE Ontario
    • Representing 280,000 members across Ontario.
  • IAM
    • 40,000 workers in Canada
  • Amalgamated Transit Union
    • 21,000 members in Ontario

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