Unions are on the frontline of democracy, the most powerful example of citizens coming together to work for the common good. When the labour movement is strong, we all do better. When the labour movement is under attack and losing ground, everyone does worse. A healthy society depends on a healthy workers' movement.
I propose a three-pronged approach to healthy employment — one rooted in supports for healthy workplaces, healthy communities and healthy families.
1. Support families and protect workers
Many workers in Saskatchewan, particularly young families, are clocking significantly more than forty hours a week at work. Decent conditions and consistent employment standards would reduce stress on families and promote healthy communities.
- Increase the minimum wage to $15/hour;
- Establish Universal Pharmacare coverage;
- Extend protections with a new Employment Standards Act, a new Workers Compensation Act, and an expanded Occupational Health and Safety Act;
- Bring in pay equity legislation that extends to the private sector;
- Provide all workers with paid sick days;
- Expand the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program;
- Offer a path to citizenship for temporary foreign workers;
- Push for safe working conditions in the agricultural and natural resource sectors;
- Protect LGBTQ2S workers in the workplace through human rights legislation.
2. Expand access to collective bargaining
By ensuring a level playing field for workers through strong and democratic labour laws that protect collective bargaining rights, we can build a more innovative, more competitive and more resilient economy, and a more democratic and prosperous Saskatchewan.
- Undo Sask Party’s amalgamation of Saskatchewan’s employment policies into the single Employment Act;
- bring back card-check certification and expand access to collective bargaining to all workers;
- End ability of employers to unilaterally remove workers performing supervisory functions from bargaining units;
- Respect the collective bargaining process with public sector workers;
- Repeal Bill 80 to facilitate continuity of union coverage for workers;
- Increase access to mediation and arbitration;
- Overhaul appointments for the Labour Relations Board and return union representatives to the boards of crown corporations.
3. Remove barriers to employment
A significant segment of the population is excluded from meaningful paid work, or is only able to secure precarious and part-time jobs. Working with partners in business, labour, and the community, we can implement evidence-based policies designed to promote broader workplace participation.
- Create the best child care and early childhood education program in Canada;
- Partner with community organizations to design and implement employment experience programs that will help students, differently abled workers, and other underemployed persons to transition to employment;
- Work with First Nations and Métis governments, schools and postsecondary institutions, and community partners to develop a First Nations and Métis employment strategy;
- End clawbacks to social assistance and provide transitional support such as tuition, retraining, child care and transportation allowances.
Working together, we can increase equality and fairness as well as prosperity, to the benefit of employees, employers and the public.
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