Federal anti-scab legislation passes second reading

Union lobby helps secure parliamentary support for Bill C-257

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Federal members of parliament voted 167 to 101 in favour of legislation that would make it illegal for employers to use replacement workers during a strike or lockout.

The second reading vote on Bill C-257 took place late Wednesday afternoon. It must still pass a third reading, three votes in the Senate before receiving Royal Assent.

For the past few months, the Canadian Labour Congress and CUPE have organized a massive lobby of MPs to secure support for the legislation which applies to employers covered by the Canada Labour Code. In B.C., the legislation will affect federally regulated industries such as telecommunications – Telus is covered by the Code – and inter-provincial transportation.

And while most HEU workplaces are already covered by provincial anti-scab legislation – the legislation will apply to HEU certifications at some First Nations health centres.

HEU president Fred Muzin, who met with Economic Development Minister David Emerson and Vancouver-area Liberal MP Stephen Owen to lobby for the legislation, thanked the many HEU members who took the time to phone or email their MPs.

“Theres no question that this Bill passed in large part because MPs heard from so many individual union members,” says Muzin.

“This is a significant victory for working people and will bring stability to important sectors of our economy.”