The Newfoundland and Labrador election is May 16 and Unifor took the opportunity to demand responses from party leaders on issues ranging from raising the minimum wage, to ending prolonged labour disputes and creating a standalone regulator for safety in the offshore oil and gas sector.
“Engagement was low leading into this election and we knew there were important issues to be addressed, so we made workers’ rights election issues,” said Lana Payne, Atlantic Regional Director. “After the year we had supporting workers in Gander who never should have been locked out for two years, we are demanding change so it can’t happen again. Our demands won’t disappear on election day either - we’re going to hold all our elected officials to account.”
Unifor issued a questionnaire to party leaders asking for commitments on each of the following demands: raise the minimum wage to $15; increase vacation and paid sick day minimums; strengthen collective bargaining rights to prevent prolonged disputes and protect against contract re-tendering to bust unions and decrease wages; and create a standalone regulator in the oil and gas sector for safety and the environment.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals, NDP and PC parties responded to our questionnaire. The questionnaire and their full responses can be read at unifor.org/NLvotes.
On Monday evening, Unifor issued a review of the responses received on a Twitter thread.
“In general, we were pleased to see that on some issues, including improvements to collective bargaining rights, there was unanimous recognition across the parties that something must be done,” said Payne.
Unifor’s Political Action department organized canvass events to engage members in the political process and promote conversation on doorsteps about workers’ rights and what needs to be done to better protect them.