The president of the North Bay and District Labour Council believes the minimum wage hike has made it easier to unionize some workplaces. Henri Giroux says this is the result of some businesses using their workers to offset the rise in the minimum wage. Giroux says the business reaction has scared some employees who may start fighting back. “If the employees are seeing that they’re getting screwed by the employer, maybe it will be easier to sign (union) cards,” Giroux said. “They may think maybe it’s time to have protection that we don’t have now.”
Giroux said if there were more unions in sectors that mostly employ minimum wage earners, then before changing workplace conditions, management and union officials could sit down and work on a proposal that benefits everyone. “But the way some employers have reacted, it just gives us more ammunition to approach workers and tell them look at what they’ve done to you,” Giroux said. Giroux says he wouldn’t be surprised if labour groups are asked by minimum wage earners to help them get unionized and adds perhaps it’s time labour take a look at minimum wage sectors. The labour council president admits though that trying to organize these areas would be difficult.