The Pallister government is intentionally delaying introducing its own anti-labour bill in order to limit the time the public and members of the Legislative Assembly can voice their concerns, NDP MLA Tom Lindsey said today.
“Manitobans deserve a debate on Bill 7,” Lindsey said. “The only reason to delay introducing it is to muzzle the voices of Manitobans and members of the Legislative Assembly who know this anti-labour legislation is going to make it harder for workers to improve conditions in the workplace.”
Bill 7 removes the right of workers to gain automatic certification of a union when 65 per cent or more have decided they want to organize in their workplace. It overrides the clearly stated will of a significant majority of workers and forces them to go through an unnecessary and time-consuming process.
That delay gives an unscrupulous employer the time and opportunity to undermine a union drive by intimidating workers with threats of job loss. Several studies, including one by the Fraser Institute in 2005, show that when automatic certification is lost, workers find it much harder to organize in their workplace.
“Workplaces aren’t democracies. The employer has all the power and workers have none,” Lindsey said. “When the Pallister government claims they want to restore democracy to the workplace, their real intent is to put up procedural roadblocks and give more control to the already powerful employer.”
Lindsey noted that automatic certification has been a right in Manitoba for more than 25 years. Even the former Filmon government, in which Brian Pallister was a cabinet minister, recognized the right.
“Now that he is premier, Pallister seems to have less interest in protecting workers and their democratic rights than his former mentor,” Lindsey said. “Bill 7 hurts workers. Muzzling the voices of Manitobans pours salt on the wound. Why is the Pallister government so intent on limiting public debate?”