In order to impose a four-year contract on approximately 55,000 CUPE education workers, which includes librarians, custodians and early childhood educators, the Ontario Conservative government has invoked the notwithstanding clause, a section of the Canadian Charter of Rights that allows provincial governments to override specific sections of the Charter through legislation.
This is not just an attack on education workers. It is part of a long-term strategic assault on CUPE and other Unions that seeks to destroy the rights of workers to negotiate with employers for higher wages, better benefits – including mental health – and the ability to file grievances to ensure healthy workspaces. The urgency to show our solidarity is not only political, but social as well; sick, overworked, and underpaid workers profoundly affects how we all live and relate to one another.
It is also in our own best interest to stand with our Union and with others in this moment. We are set to sit at the bargaining table next year, and just as the Conservative government imposed a cap on wage hikes in our last round of negotiations, they can also compel us and other CUPE locals to accept an unfair collective agreement and force us back to work. We need to let the Conservative government know that this strategy will not work; not with us, and not with any other Union in Ontario.
A rally to stand in solidarity with CUPE education workers with is set to take place this Friday (November 4) in front of the office of Guelph’s Member of Provincial Parliament, Mike Schreiner, at 173 Woolwich Street from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Other CUPE locals and members of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) and the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (USBCU) will be in attendance. An attack on one Union is an attack on all Unions, and all workers.
Update: CUPE National has released a website that allows members to find the nearest rally to where you live. https://cupe.on.ca/dontbeabully/
Please consider attending, wherever you may live. This is an unprecedented assault on worker’s rights that may affect your present and future working life in this province, and will have a devastating economic and social effect.
We will update this message if other rallies are planned here and in other cities. For further information, please contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org