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OPSEU/SEFPO demands Ford government drop its appeal of court ruling that struck down Bill 124

Press Release

June 20, 2023

Toronto – OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick is condemning the Ford government for appealing the Ontario Superior Court ruling that struck down Bill 124 last November.

On the first day of the hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Hornick joined leaders from the Ontario Federation of Labour and several other unions representing the hundreds of thousands of public sector workers who were attacked by the unconstitutional wage cut legislation.

“Bill 124 has created a devastating staffing crisis throughout all public services,” said Hornick. “Our healthcare system is at the breaking point because so many healthcare workers are leaving their jobs – they’re sick of the disrespect. Ontario government workers are in total crisis in just about every ministry now because they’re so underpaid and understaffed. They just can’t retain workers.”

Hornick continued, “Doug Ford is sitting on a $22 billion surplus instead of funding the public services that are in absolute crisis. It’s an old tactic – manufacture a crisis in health care and public services by underfunding them to the breaking point – then privatize them.”

92% of OPSEU/SEFPO’s 180,000 members have been targeted by Bill 124. Almost three quarters of them are women, and many are racialized and Indigenous people. “The impact of these wage caps during runaway inflation has been devastating for our members,” said Hornick. “Many are having a hard time feeding their families and paying the rent.”

Many OPSEU/SEFPO bargaining units negotiated “wage reopener” clauses, allowing them to reopen their contracts and bargain wages if Bill 124 was struck down. More than 111,000 OPSEU/SEFPO members are in the process of reopening their contracts to bargain wages since November.

Hornick called the Ford government’s appeal of the decision striking down Bill 124 a “slap in the face” to those workers and called on Premier Ford to withdraw the appeal. “Our members are furious, and we’ve had enough,” said Hornick. “We’re organizing in our workplaces, at our bargaining tables, and in our communities to fight for our rights – and we are determined to win.

“We’ll do whatever it takes – nothing is off the table,” Hornick added.

OPSEU/SEFPO represents public sector workers in the Ontario government, all areas of health care including hospitals, home care, long-term care, paramedics and blood services, community colleges, universities, school boards, the LCBO, social service agencies and municipalities.

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