United Steelworkers union says Canada's new federal anti-scab legislation marks another victory for workers; new law bans use of replacement workers in the event of a strike or lockout

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November 9, 2023 (press release) –

Union ready to fight to improve bill and make it law

November 9, 2023

OTTAWA – The new federal anti-scab legislation marks another victory for workers coming out of the New Democrats’ supply and confidence agreement with the government. Banning the use of replacement workers in the event of a strike or lockout has long been a priority demand for the United Steelworkers union (USW) and the rest of organized labour because it brings greater fairness to labour relations across the country.

“Steelworkers have been part of the fight for anti-scab legislation for decades,” said USW National Director Marty Warren. “Today’s bill is not perfect, but it’s a big step in the right direction and proves the work we’ve been doing is delivering results.”

Federal anti-scab legislation will help 80,000 USW members and approximately 1 million workers across Canada. In its 2022 supply and confidence agreement with the federal government, the NDP made the tabling of anti-scab legislation a priority.

Experience shows that bans on replacement workers improve labour relations, reduce the number and length of conflicts and lead to better working and living standards for workers. Laws banning replacement workers already exist in British Columbia (since 1993) and Quebec (since 1977), where there has been a reduction in days lost due to strikes or lockouts and an increase in workplace stability, which is good for employers as well as workers.

“We’re happy the Liberal government has gotten on board with this important legislation, but the work is not over. Now that the bill has been tabled, we’re not going to let up,” said Warren. “We need changes to this legislation to scrap unnecessary delays in implementing it and close big Liberal loopholes that would still permit many types of scab labour.”

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

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For more information, please contact:
Marty Warren, USW National Director for Canada, 416-544-5951
George Soule, USW Communications, 306-531-9112, gsoule@usw.ca

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