McMaster’s “All Unions Committee” responds to passage of Bill 47

Brad WalchukUncategorized

While Bill 47 may now be the law, it should not be seen as a green light for McMaster University to rollback workers’ rights on campus.

We, along with Unifor 5555, SEIU Local 2, IUOE Local 772, the McMaster University Academic Librarians Association, the McMaster University Faculty Association, and Fight for $15 and Fairness – Hamilton (McMaster Chapter) stand united in our opposition to this bill and expect McMaster to live up to a higher standard.

A PDF of the signed letter is available by clicking here (all unions updated letter), and the text can be found below:

To President and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, and Provost and Vice-President David Farrar,

We the undersigned would like to openly and clearly voice our opposition to the provincial government’s efforts to introduce Bill 47 – The Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The content and nature of this legislation directly contravenes not only the long overdue labour reforms secured through Bill 148, but also Doug Ford’s campaign promise to be “for the people.”

This anti-labour legislation adds to the growing regressive legacy of the Ford Conservatives and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. This legislation, as its naming suggests, is beneficial for only one segment of Mr. Ford’s constituency: that of big business and those associated with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The repeal of a minimum wage that is closer to a living wage, of paid sick days, of fairer scheduling practices, and of equal pay measures for part-time, temporary and casual workers, can never be “for the people.”

We the undersigned call on the Ford Conservatives to not repeal the positive changes made under Bill 148.

We also call on McMaster University to enact, in policy, changes that will uphold the changes won under Bill 148. Regressive legislation should not be seen as an opportunity for McMaster University to pay any worker less than $15 an hour or to take away two paid sick days. A recent widely published survey found that 77% of those asked opposed the repeal of the two paid emergency leave days provided under Bill 148. These days help improve the mental and physical wellbeing of employees, as well as the physical health of coworkers and students. They should be available to all workers, and the government’s new legislation should not be seen as an opportunity to strip these days from workers who do not have them guaranteed under a collective agreement. Furthermore, Bill 47 should not be taken as an opportunity to again start asking for doctor’s notes in the event of a sick day – a policy which the medical community, including those at McMaster’s medical facilities, have spoken out against. Nor should this anti-worker legislation be used to increase precarious work conditions for non-full-time employees – which the McMaster-led Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research project has found leads to worse health outcomes and lowers household well-being.

We call on McMaster University to live up to their Brighter World campaign. If the “health and well-being of all” is truly a goal of this institution, then the Making Ontario Open for Business Act and the values of McMaster are irreconcilable. The research produced by McMaster itself supports this claim.

We call for you to join us in the fight for justice, fairness, and research-based policy-making that promotes the health and well-being of all.


Angie Perez (CUPE 3906)

Emily Heikoop (Unifor 5555)

Greg Hoath (IUOE 772)

Dave Bridger (SEIU Local 2)

Denise Smith (McMaster University Academic Librarians Association)

Ben Owens (McMaster 15 and Fairness)

Michel Grignon (McMaster University Faculty Association)