Letter to Premier Ford: All “Frontline Heroes” Deserve Recognition

The following letter from USW District 6 Director Marty Warren was delivered to Ontario Premier Doug Ford on May 13, 2020.

The Honourable Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto ON M7A 1A1

Dear Premier Ford,

I am writing to appeal to you and your government to consider an urgent matter of fairness for a group of workers who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight in Ontario.

On April 25, 2020, your office made an important announcement of much-deserved support for frontline workers fighting the pandemic, in particular, pandemic pay of $4 per hour on top of regular wages, as well as monthly lump-sum payments of $250 to those who work over 100 hours per month.

Like all Ontarians, I agree wholeheartedly with your view that our “frontline heroes,” who place themselves at risk by going to work every day to provide the important services we rely on, deserve this recognition and support.

Unfortunately, some of our frontline heroes have been overlooked by the eligibility criteria for pandemic pay. These workers include security guards, such as those represented by my union who work in private- and public-sector workplaces, who have been left to ask why their frontline service is not being recognized.

These relatively low-paid workers are currently not eligible to receive pandemic pay, even though they are on the front lines and are exposed to higher risks, as they must constantly engage in public contact, at times including hazardous, physical interactions.

Premier, I trust that the lack of recognition for security guards is an oversight and that you will agree it is unjust to exclude these frontline workers from the province’s pandemic pay initiative.

I respectfully encourage you and your government to reconsider the eligibility criteria in order to rectify this unfair situation and to authorize retroactive payment of the $4 wage top-up, as well as the monthly lump-sum payments, to security guards.

Premier, I also wish to add my union’s support to the request from Kevin Yarde, MPP, Brampton North, sent on May 8, 2020, to your colleague, the Honourable Minister Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, urging swift action to address the acute shortage of licensed security guards in Ontario.

Given that new licensing and testing have been suspended, our union urges your government to temporarily allow for online testing and certification, for the duration of the pandemic, to respond to the high demand for security guards in Ontario.

On behalf of the members of my union and their families across our great province, I thank you in advance for your consideration of our concerns and I trust that you will support security workers who provide such a vital service to all Ontarians.

Sincerely,

Marty Warren
Ontario Director,
United Steelworkers

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416-434-2221

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416-544-5991 

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