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Sept. 10, 2014

Michael calls for immediate review of minimum wage

In the wake of a successful town hall hosted by her caucus Tuesday evening, NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) is calling on government to immediately review the province’s minimum wage practices. Dozens of people came to voice their opinions and listen to what others had to say at a town hall on the minimum wage.

“We heard thoughtful considerations on the effects of poverty on physical and mental health, on what a living wage should be, and the connection between the temporary foreign worker program and the minimum wage,” Michael said today.

“Others spoke about the near-impossibility of living on minimum wage. One woman described working 120 hours every two weeks at two jobs while she was raising her children. A young man spoke about having to decide between buying groceries and making a student loan payment to maintain his credit rating for the future.”

Michael says it is obvious that the province needs a serious overhaul of minimum wage legislation, and it needs it sooner than government wants.

“The original promise of this government was to review minimum wage every two years,” she said. “The last review was in 2012, and government chose to basically disregard the review committee’s recommendation.

“I would expect there to be a new review this year – in 2014 – but government says it will apparently not happen until 2015. With this government’s record of slow action, that could mean no substantive improvement for our lowest-paid workers until 2016 or even later.”

Meanwhile, says Michael, the cost of living continues to increase at a rate that outpaces the minimum wage increases.

 


raise the minimum wage logo
Public Meeting to Discuss Raising the Minimum Wage

Lorraine Michael, George Murphy, and Gerry Rogers are hosting this meeting to hear from you.

September 9 at 7:00pm to 9:00pm

St. Teresa’s Parish Hall, 120 Mundy Pond Road

Here’s your chance to talk about minimum wage.

Come to the forum and share your stories, hear what minimum wage life is like for others, and make suggestions about what Newfoundland and Labrador should do for minimum wage workers.

A copy of the Petition to the House of Assembly is attached here (NL NDP Raise the Minimum Wage Petition) if you would like to get a head start gathering signatures in advance of the meeting

For more information please call 729-0270

 


Labour Day Letter        

Dear Editor,

Labour Day is a celebration of workers. For me, it remains an important day on the calendar, both as a celebration of what has been achieved and a reminder that there is still work to be done.

The day is certainly a celebration by, for, and of, members of unions and other organized labour groups. In St. John’s, for example, NDP MHAs and other members will join with the District Labour Council for the afternoon festivities.

But in addition to celebrating the ongoing solidarity of the broader movement, and reminding ourselves of the victories both recent and from years past, we also take note of the progress we have yet to make and the struggles that remain.

In the past year, for example, we were very happy to see government enact the whistleblower legislation we have been demanding since 2007, when a PC premier first promised it. The legislation may not be perfect, and it isn’t everything we wanted, but it is a major step forward.

We continue to speak up for workers’ health and safety in numerous areas, ranging from helicopter flights to presumptive cancers.

Our most extensive campaign right now, launched in April of this year, is for fairness for the lowest-paid workers in the province. In this, we have had enormous support from our brothers and sisters in organized labour. Nobody understands more than a union member the importance of paying fair wages.

Newfoundland and Labrador workers who earn the minimum wage have not received an increase since 2010. Nobody reading this letter needs me to tell them what has happened with the prices of groceries, electricity and other necessities in the past four years.

Government appointed a review committee to make recommendations, then proceeded to ignore all the recommendations from its own committee.

The NDP introduced a private member’s motion asking government to adopt the recommendations, and both Liberal and Tory MHAs voted down the motion.

In May, we launched a petition to bring the question to the people of the province. We will bring that petition to the House of Assembly when it re-opens this fall, and we will see if the thousands of signatures will change the minds of the MHAs in the other two parties.

It is impossible to exaggerate the great reception that petition has received from the people of the province. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians understand basic fairness, and they know that it is not fair for working people to be unable to afford the necessities of life.

One business operator in one of our smaller towns said to me, “Sure, why wouldn’t I sign it? Yes, I’m an employer, but my employees and I buy our groceries at the same store. I know what they’re dealing with.”

Our caucus is hosting a town hall on the minimum wage Tuesday, Sept. 9 at St. Teresa’s Parish Hall on Mundy Pond Road in St. John’s. We invite anyone who is able to come and share their stories and give us their opinions.

Happy Labour Day!
Lorraine Michael, Leader

Newfoundland and Labrador NDP


NL NDP raise the minimum wage campaign

NL NDP launches Raise the Minimum Wage Campaign

(June 5, 2014)  Please join New Democrats across the province in talking to our neighbours about RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER?

  • In our province, we have the greatest percentage of the workforce earning the provincial minimum wage in Canada, with WOMEN, YOUTH and those from RURAL areas making up a disproportionate number of these workers
  • There has been NO INCREASE in the minimum wage since 2010, which has had detrimental impacts on the purchasing power of the most vulnerable members of the provincial workforce
  • Minimum wage earners DO NOT earn enough money for the necessities of life, and even full-time minimum wage earners barely meet the Low-Income Cut-Off (LICO) of $19,496 (single person)
  • Government has IGNORED the recommendations of its own 2012 Minimum Wage Review Committee for an immediate increase to reflect the cost of living, and annual adjustments in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and instead legislated a 25-cent increase in October 2014, and a 25-cent increase in October 2015, with no indexing
  • Other provinces and territories have been raising their minimum wages, leaving NL on the low end

WHAT ARE WE DOING ABOUT IT?

Our call to Raise the Minimum Wage and tie future increases to the Consumer Price Index highlights the difference between New Democrats and the other two parties in this province.

On April 16, 2014 the NDP presented a private member’s motion calling on government to accept the recommendations of government’s 2012 Minimum Wage Review Committee: immediately raise the hourly wage of the province’s lowest-paid workers and index future increases to the cost of living. 

All MHAs present from both the Liberal and PC caucuses voted against the NDP Private Member’s motion.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP!

A copy of the Petition we will be asking our neighbours to sign is attached here (NL NDP Raise the Minimum Wage Petition) if you would like to get a head start gathering signatures – bring to your workplace, your schools, your neighbours!

Whether you are an experienced campaigner or this is your first time, don’t worry! We will give you all the information you need to feel comfortable and you won’t be canvassing alone. But remember to dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes.

To get involved call Mark at the Provincial Office at 709-739-6387 or info@nl.ndp.ca and we will connect you with people in your community.