Kingston, ON – Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley informed and educated the delegates to the 57th annual Ontario Provincial Council of Machinists conference here over the weekend.
“It is my goal to have every organized labour group back in the OFL,” he told delegates. “Our finances are now in order and we have brought back 178,000 members to the OFL including OPSEU, UFCW, ONA and we’re in talks with the Firefighters to come back into the fold.” Buckley also answered the critics of labour who took satisfaction in the fractured state of the organization over the past few years. “The critics say we only take care of our own but our campaigns show that isn’t true, we take care of all Ontarians,” he explained. “Our fairness campaign brought the minimum wage from $11.60 an hour up to $14.00 an hour on January 1, 2018 and it will climb to $15.00 an hour on January 1, 2019. That brought 1.5 million Ontarians out of poverty. You know when you pay people a decent wage they will spend that extra income in their communities. On January 1, 2018 I looked up and guess what, the sky didn’t fall and it won’t fall next January 1st either!”
Buckley said the increased minimum wage is only the beginning and he won’t be satisfied until we have card base certification for all labour sectors in Ontario as well as a national Pharmacare Plan. This led to his views on the impending Ontario election June 7th. “We have the possibility of an NDP government next week and we have only one goal in mind, keep Doug Ford and his Conservatives out of power,” he said forcefully. “Ford talks of efficiencies and we all know that means 50,000 job cuts and reduced services. Public services in Ontario have to be run by the people of Ontario not some outside contractor. We have to move the needle 2 to three percentage points to keep Ford out, so I urge you to get your members and their families out to vote because together we are stronger and together we have a stronger voice.”