Last year's federal budget omnibus bill will now face it's biggest challenge to date -- a court challenge.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) announced Thursday that they are mounting a legal challenge to Bill C-4. The bill gives the federal government exclusive power to decide what workers are essential, changes the terms under which workers would have to go to arbitration and redefines what "danger" is to an employee.
PSAC, the biggest public sector union in Canada, is arguing that the bill violates the freedom of association found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under the bill as it currently stands, bargaining units with over 80 per cent essential workers would have to go directly to arbitration, with no right to strike.
President of the Treasury Board Tony Clement told media last year that he believes it ridiculous that the government has to negotiate with labour unions to determine what services are essential.
Clement has taken a more adversarial role against labour unions than his predecessor Vic Towes. He and PSAC president Robyn Benson traded barbs on Twitter in the fall after a meeting between the two reportedly went poorly.
Benson told rabble earlier this year that PSAC will be in this fight for the long haul. "We have told this government from the day that I was elected that I was not going to expect any concessions," she said. "And I believe that our membership is solidly behind us and will stand up to be counted."
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.