Jared Ong

  • Let’s make HOLIDAY season SOLIDARITY season!

    Last week Premier Doug Ford had to capitulate on the regressive Bill 28 that attempted to curb the right of CUPE education workers to exercise their right to strike. But faced with a united working-class movement and the prospect of an indefinite general strike, Ford buckled. Indeed, he was more afraid of us than his corporate friends.

    This gives us a glimpse of our power when we stand together. We'll need to remember this lesson and continue to organize so that, in the words of OPSEU president JP Hornick, we can be ready to shut the province down any time we need to. 

    In this spirit, here's our solidarity calendar for the days ahead! 

    The fight for paid sick days 

    We have an opportunity to win paid sick days on Monday, November 28 when MPPs at Queen’s Park will be voting on NDP MPP Peggy Sattler’s Bill 4, the Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, 2022. If adopted, this bill would legislate 10 permanent paid sick days plus an additional 14 paid sick days during public health emergencies like COVID-19.

    Paid Sick Days Social Media Blitz

    As hospitals are flooded with children suffering from respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), seasonal influenza, and COVID-19, it’s never been more clear that we all need at least 10 paid sick days each and every year so we can stay home with our sick kids as necessary or if we ourselves are sick. 

    Forty percent of the workforce already has paid sick days, but those of us in frontline, low-wage, precarious employment are least likely to have them.

    It's outrageous that Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton continue to deny paid sick days to those who need it most. 

    With inflation rates at a 40-year high, missing a day of work can have devastating consequences. And despite repeated calls for us to stay home if we (or our kids) have symptoms, the Ontario government has done nothing to ensure we can actually afford to do so. 

    Workers in Ontario deserve better.

    Help let our elected representatives know WE are the majority and WE support 10 paid sick days for all workers. 

    Here’s what you can do:

    Child care workers are worth more! 

    Join us on Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 pm for an emergency phone action in support of decent work and wages for child care workers.

    Child Care Workers Worth More

    A child care staffing shortage, driven by low wages and poor working conditions, is threatening the accessibility of child care for families. Across Ontario, child care centres are closing rooms and limiting enrolment because they cannot retain staff in their programs.

    Ontario’s current approach to the implementation of the Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care plan will not solve the crisis. The $18 per hour wage floor and $1 annual increase are far too low and leave out too many workers. Early Childhood Educators and child care workers are worth more! We need a provincial child care workforce strategy now.

    Will you join us for this important phone action on Wednesday? 

    Holiday solidarity

    Support Kerry’s Place Workers 

    SEIU Healthcare members at Kerry’s Place Autism Services are fighting for fair wage increases, paid sick days for part-time workers, and mental health days for the members who work with extremely vulnerable clients. Kerry’s Place workers are predominantly Autism Support Workers who face racism and harassment in the workplace from clients with little employer support. 

    • Join the solidarity rally: Monday, November 28 | 11:00 am to 1:00 pm | 17345 Leslie Street, Suite 200 | Newmarket

    Support striking Teaching and Research Assistants at McMaster

    McMaster University Teaching Assistants and Research Assistants, represented by CUPE 3906, have been forced to take strike action. The union’s key demands are: livable wages; extended funding and guaranteed work; tuition fee reimbursements to protect workers against loss of wages due to rising tuition fees; and the closing of the pay gap between graduate and undergraduate assistants. 

    • Join the solidarity rally: Tuesday, November 29 | 12:00 noon | McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton | Please meet at the Sterling Street picket line. 

    Upcoming local events and actions

    SCARBOROUGH: Friday, November 25 (TONIGHT!) 

    Join our last Scarborough organizing meeting of the year!

    Doors open at 5:30 pm, meeting starts at 6:00 pm. See what we accomplished this year and how we’ll keep fighting for decent work, paid sick days, and status for all next year. Around 7:00 pm, we will watch and discuss the Sold a Lie documentary about migrant students. 

    GUELPH: Sunday, November 27

    Join us on Sunday at 3:00 pm for a discussion of worker-owned cooperatives. Kody will briefly make the case for worker-owned cooperatives, and we’ll have a discussion of the role of cooperatives in a capitalist economy. 

    TORONTO: Tuesday, November 29

    Toronto End-of-Year Mtg & Holiday Social

    Join us on Tuesday, November 29 from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm for our last meeting of 2022. We’ll use the first hour to get our holiday solidarity organized -- then we’ll celebrate an amazing year of organizing, growth and some incredible wins. 

    SUDBURY: Tuesday, November 29

    Are you, or someone you know, a sick or injured worker dealing with WSIB or other compensation run-around? Looking for some peer support and help with your case, or want to connect with others dealing with similar issues? The Sudbury Workers’ Education and Advocacy Centre hosts monthly sick and injured peer support groups!

    Thanks for all your ongoing support! Your solidarity makes a huge difference.

  • published Action items of November J4W Meeting in Action Updates 2022-11-17 14:21:24 -0500

    Action items of November J4W Meeting

    We had a great Decent Work organizing meeting on Tuesday evening, with over 200 people in attendance! In case you missed it, here's a quick recap of the action items. 

    1. Paid Sick Days

    The growing number of respiratory infections - especially among children - has worsened the crisis in Ontario's health care. Everyone must be able to afford to stay home when they or their child is sick to minimize the spread of illnesses.

    The NDP’s Bill 4 ‘Stay home if you are sick Act’ will be debated on November 24 and put to a vote November 28. If passed, the Bill would make sure every worker had 10 paid sick days each year plus 14 more during public health emergencies.

    Make your voice heard at our Social Media Blitz on Monday November 28 and send a email message to your MPP.

    2. Education Workers

    On Wednesday, CUPE education workers were forced to serve notice to strike on November 21 if a fair deal has not been reached. As we prepare this email, regional solidarity rallies and social media actions are being planned. RSVP now and we'll send you an email with details for rallies as they are confirmed. 

    At our Decent Work organizing meeting, we also agreed to step-up our "Paint the Province Purple" campaign. We want to decorate our communities to show the support for education workers is still growing. Download or order posters and learn more.

    3. Early Childhood Educators

    A child care staffing shortage, driven by low wages and poor working conditions, is threatening the accessibility of child care for our families. Across Ontario, child care centres are closing rooms and limiting enrolment because they cannot retain staff in their programs.

    Justice for Workers will co-host a Phone Zap on Wednesday, November 30 at 7:00 pm. And if you're in the Greater Toronto Area, please join the 10:00 am Childcare rally at Queen's Park

    4. Canadian Hearing Services

    CUPE 2073 workers support the Deaf and hard of hearing community as counselors, audiologists, interpreters and more. About 25% of the 200 workers are deaf. These workers are fighting for decent work and working conditions and job security. 

    But while the CEO’s pay has increased by 155% since 2015, front-line workers face wage restraint and demands for concessions. At our organizing meeting, we agreed to support these workers by sending an email to the Ontario government to protect services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

    Inspired by our Justice for Workers meeting, CUPE 2073 workers organized immediately to send a video of solidarity to Education Workers and support the demand to legislate at least 10 paid sick days for all workers.

    Watch the CUPE 2073 Solidarity video on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    5. Ontario Contract Faculty

    Contract faculty across Ontario teach the majority of students, yet receive a fraction of the funding. They face precarious short-term contracts often without benefits. At Tuesday's meeting, we learned that many contract faculty earn less than $25,000 a year. Since the Tuesday meeting, Laurier Contract Faculty announced a tentative deal, but the fight for decent work continues on college and university campuses across Ontario.

    6. University of Toronto Service Workers

    University of Toronto administrative continues to contract out good jobs and replacing them with precarious low-wage contract work. Tell UofT that we want Good Jobs at U of T.

    Jared Ong on behalf of Justice For Workers.

    P.S. If you missed the meeting, we recorded it, so you can re-watch it here!

  • published Ford buckled on Bill 28 in Action Updates 2022-11-10 17:47:48 -0500

    Ford buckled on Bill 28

    Last week, Doug Ford rammed through legislation that criminalized fighting for decent work and violated our rights under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    Yet four days later, Ford's Bill 28 was dead. Faced with a tidal wave of public anger and a looming general strike, Ford was forced to cancel his own vicious legislation.

    None of this would have been possible without the courage of the frontline education workers who are members of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU). These workers are cleaners, lunchroom supervisors, librarians, early childhood educators, IT workers, cafeteria workers, safety monitors, education assistants, social workers and maintenance workers. 55,000 strong, they drew a line in the sand and said enough is enough. Their courage to defy unjust laws gave all of us courage to stand together.

    But the fight is not over. CUPE education workers do not have a deal yet. And other education workers in different unions are still negotiating.

    Let's keep painting the province purple!

    Help keep the campaign going with 3 easy actions:

    1. Solidarity Saturday: Join a rally to support of education workers. 

    2. Join the Ontario-wide emergency phone action this Sunday at 6:00 pm. 

    3. Visit our resources page to download posters and materials to support education workers. Display your posters on doors, windows or even on the refrigerator in the lunch room.
      • If you don’t have a printer you can order your Paint the Province Purple posters from us.
      • If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, you can pick up posters and purple ribbons anytime between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm from outside our office at Suite 223, 720 Spadina Avenue (M5S 2T9). 

    November 15: Join the next decent work organizing meeting

    Our next organizing meeting, co-sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour, is taking place on Tuesday, November 15 at 7:00 pm. We’ll be strategizing our the next steps to win decent work and wages for all

    In this meeting, we’ll focus on:

    • Supporting education workers, from early-education to post-secondary education. 
    • Intensifying the fight for 10 paid sick days and a $20 minimum wage.
    • Fighting back against bad bosses including supporting the striking GO transit workers who are standing up for safe public transit, job security and fair schedules.

    Thanks to you, we accomplished so much. But we need to keep building a movement so strong that, in the words of OPSEU President JP Hornick, “We can shut this province down any time we need to.” 

  • Regional wages? Or a $20 minimum wage for all?

    Many people we’re talking to are keen to understand what the different political parties are offering when it comes to Ontario's minimum wage.

    As it stands, we have a stark choice: a $20 minimum wage for all; regional wage schemes where some of us are paid less for doing the same work depending on where we live; or nothing at all. 

    Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: Nothing at all

    Contrary to media spin, Doug Ford’s Conservative Party has promised nothing on the minimum wage. 

    Ford claims he’ll raise the minimum wage to $15.50 this October 1. But let’s be clear: the $15.50 is not a new election promise. Rather, Section 23.1(4) of the Employment Standards Act requires any Ontario government to adjust the minimum wage every October 1 to keep up with rising prices. This is the law that we, as Ontario workers, already fought for and won! 

    In fact, had Doug Ford not cancelled our $15 minimum wage that should have taken effect on January 1, 2019 our minimum wage would have been $16.30 this October 1.

    New Democratic Party of Ontario: $20 minimum wage

    The Ontario New Democratic Party is calling for a phased-in $20 minimum wage.

    Under this plan, the minimum wage will increase by $2 in the first 11 months, becoming $16 on October 1 and $17 on May 1, 2023. It will then rise by $1 every year after, reaching $20 on May 1, 2026. After which, the minimum wage will be indexed to inflation.

    Ontario Liberal Party: $16 and consultations

    The Ontario Liberal Party has committed to increasing the minimum wage to $16 and engaging in further consultations on regional minimum wages.

    We believe this is problematic for 4 reasons. 

    1) If the previous Liberal government's $15 minimum wage had not been cancelled by Ford, the Liberal Party’s own policy would have resulted in a $16.30 minimum wage this October. Promising only $16 in 2022 is less than what the previous Liberal government had committed to.

    2) Spending more time consulting is totally unnecessary. The vast majority of Ontarians already know we need legislation to raise the minimum wage as soon as possible. We need wages that will lift us out of poverty. 

    3) Under the Liberals’ regional wage scheme, workers in “low-cost” jurisdictions will be paid far less than those in Toronto. For example, Sault Ste. Marie’s living wage is calculated to be just $16.20. In Durham, it’s $17.80. But northern communities and many others also have expenses not reflected in the “typical” household budget that forms the basis of these regional wage calculations. 

    Under a regional wage scheme, workers in the vast majority of Ontario regions would be paid far less than the $20/hr we're calling for.

    4) These kinds of regional wage schemes reinforce structural racism. Many migrants and workers of colour are already over-represented in low-wage, precarious employment and often live in lower cost regions because of the lack of affordable housing, among other things. Paying such workers less, based on their postal codes, would be a disastrous step backward.

    As Deena Ladd from the Workers’ Action Centre explained at the first leaders’ debate, regional wage schemes entrench racism and poverty by postal code and undermine equal pay for equal work.

    This is why we strongly oppose the Liberals' regional wage scheme that will see so many of us earn less than others based solely on where we live.

    The Ontario Green Party: $20 minimum wage

    Under the Green Party plan, the minimum wage will increase to $16 in 2022, then rise by $1 each year until it reaches $20. 

    Although initially supporting the same regional wage scheme as the Liberals, the Green Party listened to feedback and now supports a phased-in $20 minimum wage.

    You can make a difference

    With just days until election day, there’s no time to lose to vote for decent work champions. Here are 3 ways you can make a difference.

    • Order a lawn or window sign  
      Order a sign and let everyone know you support a $20 minimum wage and decent work by putting a sign on your door, window or lawn. 

    • Vote
      In the last Ontario election, many candidates won or lost by a handful of votes. Don’t forget: You don’t have to vote on June 2. You can skip the lines and vote in advance up till June 1. Find out where and how to vote at Elections Ontario. 
    • Join our June 7 Ontario Decent Work Organizing Meeting 
      No matter who wins on June 2, it’s crucial to keep organizing. At the June 7 provincial decent work organizing meeting, we'll assess the new political terrain and keep the momentum going for decent work.

    A word about public opinion polls

    We hear from some folks that public opinion polls covered in the news have left them feeling as if the election is a done deal. But we know the opposite is true: when we organize, we have always made a difference.

    If it weren’t for all the work we’ve done together in the years before this election, so many decent work demands wouldn’t be on the agenda. And we know that a $20 minimum wage, 10 paid sick days and equal-pay for equal work are hugely popular among voters of every Ontario political party.

    This election is our big chance to connect voters to their desire for fair wages and decent work. We really can vote for decent work champions. But it's not automatic that our issues will be covered on the news. That’s why we’re counting on you to spread the word, help others cast their vote for decent work and invite them to join the movement.

    If we organize effectively now, we'll be in a much stronger position to fight for decent work after the election. No matter who wins on June 2, thanks to you, we'll be ready to continue the fight for decent work in every part of the province.

  • Tell your MPP: Vote YES on Bill 8 for 10 paid sick days

    Next week, Ontario MPPs will be voting on Peggy Sattler's Bill for paid sick days. MPP Sattler is the NDP Labour critic and her "Stay Home If You Are Sick Act" (Bill 8) would legislate 10 employer-provided permanent paid sick days (plus 14 more during public health outbreaks). Both the Liberals and Greens have pledged to support Bill 8.

    Only Premier Doug Ford and his caucus stand between us and legislated, permanent paid sick days for all. 

    If Premier Ford and Labour Minister McNaughton are truly "working for workers" as they claim, then they too should vote YES to Bill 8 next week.

    Tell your MPP: Vote Yes on Paid Sick Days

    That's why we need your help to demand your local Conservative Party MPP vote YES to paid sick days next week. Here's how:

    1. Let us know you're coming to help
    2. Download and print these paid sick days posters
    3. Find your MPP’s office with your postal code 
    4. Anytime on Thursday, November 18, visit your MPP’s office and put up the posters.
    5. Share photos of your action on social media with these hashtags:

      #Justice4Workers     #10Days     #PaidSickLeave
      #PaidSickDays         #CdnPoli     #CanLab

    6. Tag supporters in the image with:

      @fairwagesnow     @decentworkhlth     @OFLabour          

    Organize with us at Tuesday's Organizing meeting

    A $15 minimum wage in 2022 is a huge step forward and we should be proud we created the conditions where Ford felt he had to reinstate the wage he cancelled three years ago. Workers deserve and need every additional cent they get.

    But $15 not enough. Workers have been waiting too long for fair wages and basic protections like paid sick days.

    That's why we need you at tomorrow's online organizing meeting on Tuesday, November 16th at 7pm. Will you join us?

  • published We Won! Keep fighting for $20 in Action Updates 2021-11-05 17:15:47 -0400

    We Won! Keep fighting for $20

    This week, Premier Doug Ford finally relented and announced he will restore the $15 minimum wage he cancelled back in 2018. We hope you feel proud of your role in forcing this anti-worker Premier to reverse course. This about-face is a vindication of everything we have done together: When we are united, we can make gains even under the most hostile governments.

    But in the time it’s taken Ford to admit his mistake, our wages have fallen behind. When Ford cancelled our $15 minimum wage, he also suspended for 2 years the yearly cost of living adjustments.

    In doing so, Ford transferred billions of dollars from workers right into the pockets of Amazon, Walmart, Loblaws, and other corporations who made record profit during the pandemic. And during all this, the pandemic has created supply shortages which are causing the price of basic household goods to skyrocket. 

    It will be seven years since workers first demanded $15 an hour when the $15 minimum wage takes effect in January 2022. That’s why a $15 minimum wage doesn’t cut. We need at least $20 an hour to survive!

    It's time for $20. Prices are rising. Our wages are not keeping up. Graph comparing shelter costs (4.5%), public transit (10%), dairy (12%), gas and home fuel (35%) and the minimum wage increase (4.5%). $15 doesn't pay the bills. It's time for a $20 minimum wage. Justice for Workers: Decent Work for All

    $20/hour minimum wage for all. No exemptions.

    As part of his minimum-wage announcement, Premier Ford promised to scrap the sub-minimum wage rate for liquor servers. This will increase liquor servers’ wages from $12.55 to $15.00, a pay hike of almost 20%. This is a huge step forward in our ongoing fight for equal pay. But our work isn’t done. Migrant workers are still exempted from minimum wage laws and students under the age of 18 are will still be paid less than their over-18 coworkers. 

    Decent Work Organizing Meeting: November 16th

    We must keep fighting until everyone earns at least $20 an hour. That’s why we need YOU at our next decent work organizing meeting on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 pm EST. Will you be there?


    Say YES to Paid Sick Days

    NDP MPP Peggy Sattler’s private members’ Bill 8 for 10 paid sick days (plus 14 more days during public health outbreaks) will be debated on November 18 and the vote will take place November 22. We know the Ontario Liberals will be supporting Bill 8 so if Premier Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton are serious about “working for workers,” the Conservative caucus must unanimously vote YES to implement Bill 8 without delay.

    Workers can't wait another day for paid sick days. Join us at November's Organizing meeting to organize for paid sick days!

    Tell Prime Minister Trudeau to restore the CRB

    If we can force a Conservative Premier to reverse course on the minimum wage, we can convince our Prime Minister and federal Finance Minister to change their minds on cancelling the Canada Recovery Benefit. Eliminating CRB will not address the real source of the labour shortage, which is caused by transportation bottlenecks and an exodus of workers from jobs with poverty wages, unsafe working conditions, and unstable hours. 

    It's not too late for Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland to do the right thing. 

    November 10th: Phone Zap to bring back the CRB and fix EI!

    On November 10 at 12:30 EST, we are joining forces with Campaign 2000; the Good Jobs for All coalition; the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council; and UNIFOR for a pan-Canadian Phone Zap to call on our federal representatives to bring back CRB income supports and to fix Employment Insurance for good.

    Please join us for 45 minutes next Wednesday, November 10th at 12:30 pm EST (9:30 am PST and 1:30 pm AST). Every phone call and email we make will be crucial, so your participation is essential. 

    From paid sick days to the minimum wage, the tide is turning in favour of workers across this country. And we couldn't have done it without you!

  • wants to volunteer 2021-06-29 13:15:00 -0400

    Join the Movement

    We want to change the laws to ensure every worker has decent work and wages as well as respect and dignity on the job. Hundreds of workers in low-wage, part-time and precarious employment have identified the following 10 essential priorities for a decent work agenda that - if implemented - would better protect all of us. We hope you’ll join the movement.

    We are fighting for: 

    Become a volunteer