With the passing of Bill 28, the Ontario Conservative party launched an existential assault against the province’s unionized workers by removing their charter right to engage in free and open bargaining through the application of the notwithstanding clause. This outrageous attack was also targeted at a work force comprised mainly of women who had not seen a raise in wages for a decade.
The government’s commitment to rescinding the Bill and allowing education workers to return to the bargaining table is a historical victory for Ontario’s unions. It has united us and renewed our purpose. Throughout this emergency we have made new and renewed connections with many academic locals, some currently in bargaining, that will solidify our solidarity in the long term.
However, the fight is not over, merely postponed. CUPE National has declared that we are “standing by”, but not “standing down”, and are actively discussing strategies going forward. We must also prepare ourselves for future emergencies like this one. The union has begun this work, and we will update you on our progress.
CUPE 3913 is set to enter bargaining next fall. We need to continue to fight for others not only to help preserve the charter rights of all Canadians, not only to allow all workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and healthy workspaces, but to ensure that the same will not happen to us.