TORONTO, ON – The Ontario Liberals are hoping today’s repeal of Bill 115 will show voters they have changed, but the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says it’s just an attempt to fool people, and it won’t work.
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn called the announcement hypocritical. “Repealing Bill 115 now, just before the Liberal leadership convention, and after it has been used to attack more than 100,000 workers’ collective bargaining rights, is nothing more than misdirection. They have another bill ready to go that will do the same to hundreds of thousands of other public-sector workers.”
The Protecting Public Services Act was proposed by the Liberal government prior to prorogation. It applies the same bargaining constraints across the provincial public sector as Bill 115, gives the government additional powers to mandate new conditions on bargaining and will do away with impartial arbitration as a form of redress for those workers who do not have a right to strike.
CUPE is launching province-wide TV and online advertising today to ramp up its campaign against legislation that attacks its members’ rights. The ad describes gains first made through collective bargaining that then spread to other workplaces, such as parental leave, workplace health and safety standards, and pensions, and ends with “we can’t let any government take bargaining rights away.”
“We created this commercial to help the general public better understand why these democratic rights are important, for union and non-union workers alike,” said Hahn, “and why we all have a stake in protecting them.”
Hahn noted that the ads are just one element of an ongoing effort to build support, community by community, for protecting collective bargaining rights, noting that public resistance to the government’s bullying tactics is helping fuel the campaign.
“The steadfast resolve of CUPE members helped push the Liberals to repeal Bill 115,” said Hahn. “Buses of members and supporters are coming from all over the province to rally during convention so that delegates and candidates carefully consider which direction they want to take labour relations next.”
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