TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 31, 2011) - In an impromptu demonstration of frustration, a group of workers caught in protracted labour disputes are refusing to leave the gallery of the Queen's Park Legislature to protest the defeat of a private members' bill that would ban the use of temporary replacement workers. The ongoing sit-in began today when the government refused to allow Bill 45 to go to third reading and cancelled all debate on the restoration of labour rights in Ontario.

"There are workers in cities across the province who have been hung out to dry by this government. In Brantford, the employees of Engineered Coated Products have been left dangling on the picket lines for two and a half years as the employer continued to bus scabs past them while refusing to bargain," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "It is disgraceful that Premier McGuinty has refused to take action to resolve these disputes and protect workers' rights."

After a rally held today at Queen's Park to call on the McGuinty government to restore employee rights that were stripped away by the Mike Harris government over a decade ago, the government voted down Bill 45, the Labour Relations Amendment Act. Proposed by NDP MPP France Gélinas, the Bill would have banned the use of temporary replacement workers during labour disputes and required employers to bargain fairly with their employees. In refusing to allow the Bill to pass to third reading, McGuinty cancelled further discussion and debate about Ontario's employer-biased labour laws.

"The workers who are currently occupying the Legislature are desperate and fed up with being treated like second class citizens next to their employers," said Ryan. "If the Premier is going to allow employers to abuse workers and exploit lax labour laws, then what is he going to do to protect their livelihoods and support their families?"

"These workers deserve an audience with the Premier and he should have the courage to look at the devastation in their faces," said Ryan. "It is time that the Premier addressed their concerns and proposed measures to protect workers' rights. These workers are prepared to stay until they are heard."

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario.

Contact Information: OFL
Sid Ryan, President
416.209.0066 (mobile)
Joel Duff, Communications Director
416.707.0349 (mobile)
Lynn Simmons, Communications Department
416.668.7480 (mobile)