The Jury Is In: Unconstitutional Attacks on Workers’ Rights Must End

“The latest court ruling condemning ‘draconian’ violations of Canadians’ constitutional rights and freedoms must finally signal the end of government attacks on workers’ collective bargaining rights everywhere in our country,” says Ken Neumann, National Director of the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

“Over many years, our nation’s courts – including the Supreme Court of Canada – have repeatedly struck down legislative efforts by Liberal and Conservative governments to suppress the fundamental rights of Canadians to freedom of association and meaningful collective bargaining,” Neumann said.

“Not surprisingly, the attempt by Manitoba’s Conservative government to impose such legislation on public-sector workers has been struck down by the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench as ‘a draconian measure’ that violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The USW is a member of the Partnership to Defend Public Services, representing more than 110,000 workers, that successfully challenged the Manitoba government’s unconstitutional legislation, leading to the June 11 court ruling.

“The Steelworkers union is proud to be part of this important victory for the rights and freedoms of all workers and for our democracy,” said Stephen Hunt, the USW’s Western Canada Director.

“Our union will continue to fight these bad, unconstitutional laws that infringe on workers’ basic rights. Protecting the right to collective bargaining is crucial to defending good jobs and improving the working and living standards of all Canadians,” Hunt said.

The USW also is among more than 40 unions, representing 270,000 workers across Ontario, that have filed a constitutional challenge to Bill 124 – anti-worker legislation imposed by Doug Ford’s Conservative government.

“Bill 124 clearly violates collective bargaining rights and freedom of association that are guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Marty Warren, USW Director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

“The Manitoba court ruling – and all the previous rulings that have upheld these fundamental rights – send a clear message to the Ford government that it should immediately repeal its own unconstitutional legislation,” Warren said.

The latest court ruling should prompt governments to change course and collaborate with the labour movement on a post-pandemic economic recovery program, said USW Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux.

“An anti-union attack is an attack on all unions. This legal victory is a victory for all workers,” Lemieux said. “Governments must stop their anti-union attacks and instead work with labour organizations on measures to revive the economy.”

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Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Bob Gallagher
bgallagher@usw.ca
416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

Communications Department:
Nicole Desnoyers
ndesnoyers@usw.ca
416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
ccauchy@metallos.ca
514-774-4001 

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7