REGINA, SK, February 22 – Over the summer, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and 25 affiliate unions, including IATSE Local 295, filed its legal argument in the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench. The argument related to the Charter Challenge by the SFL against the Saskatchewan Party government’s unconstitutional anti-worker and anti-union legislation, which was introduced in 2007/2008 by the Wall government.
The SFL filed its 230-page legal argument and submitted thousands of pages of evidence.Three intervenor unions also filed thousands of additional pages of argument and evidence. The arguments of the intervenor unions reinforced that the ill-conceived Bill 5 and Bill 6 violate workers constitutional rights as outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
On February 6, 2012, Judge Dennis Ball ruled in favour of the unions, stating, “I have determined that the rights to bargain collectively and to strike are protected by s. 2(d) of the Charter. The Public Services Essential Services Act infringes on those rights by empowering all public sector employers to make non-reviewable decisions that can effectively preclude the capacity of their employees to engage in meaningful strike action, and thus to engage in meaningful collective bargaining.”
SFL President Larry Hubich declared this “an extremely important decision for working people, not only in Saskatchewan, but for those across the country. An important message has now been sent to Legislatures from B.C. to the Maritimes: that working people’s Charter rights are more important than any government’s ideology.”