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TorontoOntario university workers who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are prepared to fight the ideological push by the Ontario Tory government to corporatize and privatize public post-secondary education, says Brian OKeefe the Ontario secretary-treasurer of CUPE.

Just this week, a government commissioned report said post-secondary education is in dire straits in Ontario because of provincial underfunding. CUPE university workers across the province have been sounding the alarm bells for years and over the last few months have shown they are prepared to strike to ensure everyone with ability can access a university education, says OKeefe, who is a keynote speaker at the CUPE Ontario University Workers Conference at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre, Guelph, on Friday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m.

The newly reactivated activism and militancy of university workers on campuses across Ontario will be a key topic of discussion throughout the weekend conference, scheduled from Friday, March 23 to Sunday, March 25, at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre, 716 Gordon Street, Guelph.

Underfunding colleges and universities short-changes our best and brightest and will ultimately damage our economy. As a result of provincial underfunding, administrations have jacked up tuition fees, and the push to sell-off post-education to for-profit corporations is a guarantee that capable students from lower-income families will be shut out, says OKeefe.

According to the government-commissioned Investing in Students Taskforce report, operating grant revenues on a per-student basis have decreased by 42 per cent since 1990.

But the colleges and universities minister insists post-secondary spending has gone up. The reality in Ontario is that unless this government faces up to the crisis they have created in our universities and adequately funds our public system, our economic future is compromised, says OKeefe.

Throughout the weekend conference, delegates will discuss winning strategies, both at the bargaining table and on the front lines, to continue to fight for accessible public post-secondary education.

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For more information please contact:
Brian OKeefe, Secretary-Treasurer CUPE Ontario
(416) 579-7414
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774

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