Who Is Working Families?
Working Families was created in 2002 by members of the labour movement with the goal of making voters aware of policies that were threatening the well-being of working families across Ontario.
At that time, Mike Harris and Ernie Eves led a revolution that favoured business while placing programs and services that benefited working families at risk.
Specifically the Harris government introduced legislation that eliminated card check certification making it more difficult to for workers to have a collective voice in the workplace thereby giving employers an unfair advantage. At the same time the government removed provisions that restricted employers from being involved in workers efforts to collectively organize themselves. Under this new legislation penalties were significantly changed and reduced if an employer was found guilty of interfering with a worker’s decision on whom should represent them in contract discussions. This tilted the table significantly in favour of employers. Additional legislation included the requirement to post how to decertify from a union in every organized workplace. All of this had a stifling impact on organized labour and the people they represented.
Excessive tax cuts led to a crisis in education. Strikes were keeping our kids out of school. Sick patients were left waiting endlessly for desperately medical treatment. Health and safety protection was eliminated. Infrastructure went ignored and left to crumble.
But the most devastating consequences of the cuts were tragic. Tainted water killed seven people in Walkerton. We saw diminished protection for workers, demoralizing cuts to social services and fewer teachers, nurses and doctors to deliver high-quality public services. During the Harris era over 6,000 nurses were fired; teachers had to deal with over crowded classrooms; and municipalities were amalgamated in the name of efficiency that was code for layoffs.
Cuts, chaos and lack of concern for issues important to working families.
This gave rise to the need for a strong voice for the men and women who would be most hurt by a government that favoured the rich and privileged. Working Families was created to respond to the issues that affected Ontarians. It also helped counter the influence of corporate interests that used money and influence to further their agenda. Concentration of major media by corporate interests helped amplify the attacks on organized labour and those they represented. These media outlets had no restrictions imposed on them and could put out a barrage of articles and stories that skewed the discussion in the direction they wanted.
Against this background in 2003 Working Families brought forward and encouraged debate around real issues and helped voters understand the consequences of the policies being proposed.
In 2007, education was at risk as a right wing agenda that favoured taking money out of the public system and giving it to faith based schools would have had a detrimental impact on the province. Add to that unspecified cuts to programs in favour of tax cuts for the wealthy spurred members to action.
In 2011, the fear of a corporate agenda that would hurt working Ontarians propelled Working Families into action. With Rob Ford and Stephen Harper moving the right wing agenda at the municipal and federal levels keeping them from power in Ontario became critical.
In 2014, the decision to cut 100,000 public sector jobs was a rallying cry for Working Families to stand up to a party that would seek to destroy public institutions and privatize many of the services that Ontario’s working families rely on.
Our job in this election is to remind voters what’s at stake for working families. Working Families is fighting for a fair, inclusive, progressive Ontario.
This is your opportunity to get involved in the debate with others who are just as concerned about issues facing today’s working families.
You can make a difference.
Get involved in the conversation.
Share your opinions.
Tell your friends and neighbours what you think.