Ontario Court of Appeals confirms Bill 124 is unconstitutional

Ontario Court of Appeals confirms Bill 124 is unconstitutional.

On 12 February 2024, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a decision that the wage-restraint legislation known as Bill 124 was unconstitutional. In a majority decision, the court affirmed a 2022 ruling which found that Bill 124 interfered with the freedom of association guarantee under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Ontario Court of Appeal also found that, as a result of Bill 124, “organized public sector workers, many of whom are women, racialized and/or low-income earners, have lost the ability to negotiate for better compensation or even better work conditions that do not have a monetary value.”

First introduced in 2019, Bill 124 capped salary increases for public sector workers at one per cent a year for three years. In practical terms, Bill 124 amounted to wage cuts for thousands of workers as inflation outpaced their wage increases. Throughout the pandemic, this meant that while Doug Ford praised frontline heroes on one hand, with the other he reached into their pockets and stole their wages. The result was unnecessary financial hardship and stress for thousands of workers as well as staffing shortages and burnout.

From the moment that Bill 124 was first introduced, a coalition of unions including COPE Ontario began work to challenge this unfair legislation and to tell Doug Ford to keep his hands off of our wages. Through petitions, email campaigns, op-eds, press conferences and more, we have worked tirelessly to bring an end to this legislation.

In response to the Ontario Court of Appeal decision, the Ford government has said that it will not be challenging the decision but, instead, will be repealing Bill 124. Let us be clear: the decision to repeal Bill 124 would not have occurred without our sustained efforts. Today marks a huge victory for workers and sends a clear message to Doug Ford that the workers united will never be defeated.

COPE Ontario reaffirms our commitment to supporting workers and challenging these unconstitutional attacks on workers. We will continue to work together with our members, union comrades and activists to ensure that workers are treated fairly and equitably. Together, we have shown that when the labour movement comes together, we have a strong voice and can make change. 

 

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LABOUR RELATIONS SPECIALIST - JOB POSTING

The Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union Ontario (COPE Ontario) is seeking a full-time Labour Relations Specialist. COPE Ontario is a grassroots union with multiple workplaces across the province and is seeking to hire a Labour Relations Specialist. The Labour Relations Specialist works with their assigned Locals’ main contact for servicing at the members’ workplaces. Applicants should have demonstrated experience in, and an extensive knowledge of unions and labour relations to assist and expand the union’s capacity through bargaining strong collective agreements and representing members in workplaces.

REQUIREMENTS:

The selected candidate must be able to perform the following duties and other related duties:

  1. Membership Service: The Labour Relations Specialist is a resource person and advisor for members with work-related problems. In this regard, the Labour Relations Specialist shall a) provide assistance and accurate advice with grievances and discipline; b) advise members as to their rights and obligations under relevant legislation and regulations, their Collective Agreement, COPE Ontario constitution and the Local’s By-laws.
  2. Grievances, representation, arbitrations, and other legal matters: The Labour Relations Specialist advises and represents members; investigates, prepares, presents, and represents members in grievances with the assistance of Stewards and Executive officers; and assists with arbitrations, Labour Relations Board (or equivalent) proceedings and makes determinations on the merit and filing of grievances or resolving workplace/policy issues in alternative formats.
  3. Contract Negotiations: The Labour Relations Specialist, in conjunction with the local union, is the Chief spokesperson for sub-local bargaining teams, and is the lead for all tasks associated with contract negotiations, including research, drafting of contract proposals, bargaining, organizing around the bargaining process, conciliation, mediation, and preparation for job action.
  4. Resource to the Local’s Executive: The Labour Relations Specialist is a resource person and advisor to the local Executive and assists it in the carrying out of its duties. The Labour Relations Specialist shall provide support and mentorship of local executives and stewards. The Labour Relations Specialist will, unless otherwise advised, attend monthly Executive meetings, and shall report to the meeting, as deemed appropriate by the Executive. When requested, the Labour Relations Specialist shall attend membership and sub-local membership meetings, and Local committee meetings. Help organize general membership meetings, steward meetings, joint labour- management meetings, and arrange on-site location unit visits.
  5. External Liaison: The Labour Relations Specialist, in conjunction with the local union, is a liaison between the Local and the Local's Employers and other affiliated groups, including unions, political organizations, associations, students’ unions, etc.
  6. Administration and Training: The Labour Relations Specialist will aid the Local President and other officers to ensure the efficient operation of the Local’s Office in all administrative matters. Conduct workshops, presentations, and training as required.
  7. It is understood that the emphasis placed on the tasks in this job description may vary from time to time based on the needs of the locals. The setting of priorities shall be done in consultation with COPE Ontario’s Director.
  8. This job requires the employee to travel to different parts of the province and to work evenings and the occasional weekend as required. The workspace is flexible and the office space available is sometimes shared.

International Womens Day 2024

Celebrating International Women's Day!

Today, we honor the strength, resilience, and determination of women in the labour movement and beyond. On this International Women's Day, COPE Ontario proudly stands in solidarity with women workers everywhere, advocating for fair wages, safe working conditions, and gender equality in the workplace. 

MENTORSHIP PROGRAM 2024-2026 GUIDELINE AND STEPS

This program is designed to enable skill development for COPE Ontario members that will prove useful in the various sectors that COPE Ontario represents. Participants will gain knowledge and experience to ensure they grow and learn how best to strengthen our union while serving its members. Successful applicants chosen for the Mentorship Program will be trained in various positions including but not limited to becoming: a Labour Relations Specialist to cover all sectors, or a specialist in Healthcare or Education; Benefits Representative; or Organizer. Opportunities will also be available to become Instructors/Facilitators specializing in a variety of topics and areas of labour priorities. Locals of COPE Ontario will be responsible for ensuring all necessary arrangements are made for their member’s lost time. It is expected that the cost of lost time will be shared by all three parties: the Local Union, COPE Ontario, and the participating member.

COPE Ontario 2024 Annual General Meeting

Dear COPE Members:

The 2024 Annual General Meeting of COPE Ontario will be held on Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th, 2024, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Saturday and will conclude at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The location of the meeting is as follows:  Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

A block of guestrooms has been negotiated with the Lord Elgin Hotel, 100 Elgin Street, Ottawa, Ontario at the rates of $239.00 (single)/$249.00 (double) plus taxes and fees per night.  The direct link to book the hotel is: https://reservations.travelclick.com/12200?groupID=4213228. Delegates may contact the hotel directly to make their reservation by calling 613-235-3333. The group block number is 5134734.

The cutoff date for reservations is Wednesday, March 27th, 2024. 

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