Ford government ‘has lost our support,’ OPSEU president says

The new president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union has come out swinging against the Ford government, saying it has “let us down for the last time,” while urging the repeal of the province’s wage-cap bill, among others.

“Public sector workers have spoken and they have a message — the Ford government has lost our support,” said JP Hornick, speaking at Queen’s Park on Wednesday morning.

Hornick, who accused the province of an “anti-worker agenda,” said her members are looking for “a radical shift in priorities” in next week’s provincial budget — the last budget before the election campaign begins and voters head to the polls June 2.

“We can’t be distracted by license sticker refunds when workers need real support and meaningful change,” Hornick said, referring to the government’s move to rebate licence sticker renewal fees.

Hornick’s message appeared to contrast the approach of her predecessor, Warren “Smokey” Thomas, who appeared at Premier Doug Ford’s side last fall when the government announced a bump in the minimum wage.

“We’re mobilizing our members to elect a government that will support workers,” said Hornick. “We’re here to tell Mr. Ford that we can’t be distracted by license sticker refunds when workers need real support and meaningful change.”

OPSEU represents 180,000 public sector workers in the province.

The government’s Bill 124 capped their yearly wage increases at one per cent.

Following its election in 2018, the PC government killed planned increases to the minimum wage, but has since boosted it to $15 an hour and has announced an increase to $15.50 in October. Future increases would be tied to inflation.

The NDP and Liberals have also pledged minimum wage hikes.

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