Hamilton councillors delay endorsing Ontario minimum wage increases

News Jul 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors delayed supporting a motion to endorse the provincial government’s proposed labour reform legislation that would, among other initiatives, boost the minimum wage to $15 starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green introduced a motion to support the proposed legislation at the July 10 government issues committee meeting, but he was met with stiff resistance from a number of colleagues who wanted more information about the financial impact the provincial legislation will have on the city.

Finance staff said an estimated cost to Hamilton in 2018 could be $600,000.

“My concern is what’s going to happen at budget time?” said Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson said he couldn’t back the motion unless he received further information about the cost implications of the legislation.

“I’m having trouble dealing with this,” he said. “We haven’t seen a report from staff.”

Hamilton councillors’ debate over whether or not to support the labour reform legislation echoed similar angst politicians had over whether to approve a living wage pay hike to crossing guards, library employees and other part-time city employees earlier this spring.  Council voted against increasing the hourly rate of pay for 500 seasonal, causal and temporary workers to $15.85 per hour, which has been identified as a living wage to meet basic household needs.

The cost to the city’s budget would have been about $1 million.

Full-time city employees already receive a living wage.

A provincial legislative committee started holding public meetings this week in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa and Windsor on Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The public meetings are scheduled to continue in Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Niagara on July 19 and in Hamilton on July 20.

The legislation includes increasing the minimum wage from the current $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, then to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019. The minimum wage is already scheduled to increase from $11.40 per hour to $11.60 per hour this October.

The labour reforms will also make it easier for unions to apply for certification; allow employees to request changes to their schedule or work location; increase paid vacation after five years of employment to three weeks; provide full-time and part-time employees with equal pay for equal work; allow for up to 27 weeks for family medical leave; and allow 10 personal emergency leave days per year, with two of the days required to be paid.

Anthony Marco, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, appeared before councillors requesting they endorse the legislation.

“I believe it is a necessity,” said Marco.

Mountain Coun. Donna Skelly said she was against the motion because politicians had heard from only union representatives, and not from employees who will be impacted or business officials. Skelly said she has talked to Tim Hortons employees who are concerned with getting a pay increase. She said they told her it could be job losses as the company seeks to increase automation.

“It is such a huge leap (in minimum wage),” said Skelly.  “I’m concerned and hesitant to support anything without speaking to any of the stakeholders.”

Green, who eventually agreed to have his motion referred to a September meeting, said the vote is symbolic since the Ontario government is expected to pass it this fall.

“I’m comfortable now of just going ahead and mov(ing) the motion,” he said.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who voted against delaying a vote on the motion, said it’s time to increase the minimum wage for low-income people.

“($15 per hour) is hardly a living wage,” he said. “It’s barely a living wage. We should be doing at least that.”

Hamilton councillors delay supporting Ontario’s labour reform legislation

News Jul 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors delayed supporting a motion to endorse the provincial government’s proposed labour reform legislation that would, among other initiatives, boost the minimum wage to $15 starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green introduced a motion to support the proposed legislation at the July 10 government issues committee meeting, but he was met with stiff resistance from a number of colleagues who wanted more information about the financial impact the provincial legislation will have on the city.

Finance staff said an estimated cost to Hamilton in 2018 could be $600,000.

“My concern is what’s going to happen at budget time?” said Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson said he couldn’t back the motion unless he received further information about the cost implications of the legislation.

“I’m having trouble dealing with this,” he said. “We haven’t seen a report from staff.”

Hamilton councillors’ debate over whether or not to support the labour reform legislation echoed similar angst politicians had over whether to approve a living wage pay hike to crossing guards, library employees and other part-time city employees earlier this spring.  Council voted against increasing the hourly rate of pay for 500 seasonal, causal and temporary workers to $15.85 per hour, which has been identified as a living wage to meet basic household needs.

The cost to the city’s budget would have been about $1 million.

Full-time city employees already receive a living wage.

A provincial legislative committee started holding public meetings this week in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa and Windsor on Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The public meetings are scheduled to continue in Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Niagara on July 19 and in Hamilton on July 20.

The legislation includes increasing the minimum wage from the current $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, then to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019. The minimum wage is already scheduled to increase from $11.40 per hour to $11.60 per hour this October.

The labour reforms will also make it easier for unions to apply for certification; allow employees to request changes to their schedule or work location; increase paid vacation after five years of employment to three weeks; provide full-time and part-time employees with equal pay for equal work; allow for up to 27 weeks for family medical leave; and allow 10 personal emergency leave days per year, with two of the days required to be paid.

Anthony Marco, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, appeared before councillors requesting they endorse the legislation.

“I believe it is a necessity,” said Marco.

Mountain Coun. Donna Skelly said she was against the motion because politicians had heard from only union representatives, and not from employees who will be impacted or business officials. Skelly said she has talked to Tim Hortons employees who are concerned with getting a pay increase. She said they told her it could be job losses as the company seeks to increase automation.

“It is such a huge leap (in minimum wage),” said Skelly.  “I’m concerned and hesitant to support anything without speaking to any of the stakeholders.”

Green, who eventually agreed to have his motion referred to a September meeting, said the vote is symbolic since the Ontario government is expected to pass it this fall.

“I’m comfortable now of just going ahead and mov(ing) the motion,” he said.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who voted against delaying a vote on the motion, said it’s time to increase the minimum wage for low-income people.

“($15 per hour) is hardly a living wage,” he said. “It’s barely a living wage. We should be doing at least that.”

Hamilton councillors delay supporting Ontario’s labour reform legislation

News Jul 10, 2017 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton councillors delayed supporting a motion to endorse the provincial government’s proposed labour reform legislation that would, among other initiatives, boost the minimum wage to $15 starting on Jan. 1, 2019.

Ward 3 Coun. Matthew Green introduced a motion to support the proposed legislation at the July 10 government issues committee meeting, but he was met with stiff resistance from a number of colleagues who wanted more information about the financial impact the provincial legislation will have on the city.

Finance staff said an estimated cost to Hamilton in 2018 could be $600,000.

“My concern is what’s going to happen at budget time?” said Glanbrook Coun. Brenda Johnson.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson said he couldn’t back the motion unless he received further information about the cost implications of the legislation.

“I’m having trouble dealing with this,” he said. “We haven’t seen a report from staff.”

Hamilton councillors’ debate over whether or not to support the labour reform legislation echoed similar angst politicians had over whether to approve a living wage pay hike to crossing guards, library employees and other part-time city employees earlier this spring.  Council voted against increasing the hourly rate of pay for 500 seasonal, causal and temporary workers to $15.85 per hour, which has been identified as a living wage to meet basic household needs.

The cost to the city’s budget would have been about $1 million.

Full-time city employees already receive a living wage.

A provincial legislative committee started holding public meetings this week in Thunder Bay, North Bay, Ottawa and Windsor on Bill 148 — the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The public meetings are scheduled to continue in Kitchener-Waterloo, London and Niagara on July 19 and in Hamilton on July 20.

The legislation includes increasing the minimum wage from the current $11.40 per hour to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018, then to $15 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2019. The minimum wage is already scheduled to increase from $11.40 per hour to $11.60 per hour this October.

The labour reforms will also make it easier for unions to apply for certification; allow employees to request changes to their schedule or work location; increase paid vacation after five years of employment to three weeks; provide full-time and part-time employees with equal pay for equal work; allow for up to 27 weeks for family medical leave; and allow 10 personal emergency leave days per year, with two of the days required to be paid.

Anthony Marco, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council, appeared before councillors requesting they endorse the legislation.

“I believe it is a necessity,” said Marco.

Mountain Coun. Donna Skelly said she was against the motion because politicians had heard from only union representatives, and not from employees who will be impacted or business officials. Skelly said she has talked to Tim Hortons employees who are concerned with getting a pay increase. She said they told her it could be job losses as the company seeks to increase automation.

“It is such a huge leap (in minimum wage),” said Skelly.  “I’m concerned and hesitant to support anything without speaking to any of the stakeholders.”

Green, who eventually agreed to have his motion referred to a September meeting, said the vote is symbolic since the Ontario government is expected to pass it this fall.

“I’m comfortable now of just going ahead and mov(ing) the motion,” he said.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who voted against delaying a vote on the motion, said it’s time to increase the minimum wage for low-income people.

“($15 per hour) is hardly a living wage,” he said. “It’s barely a living wage. We should be doing at least that.”