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TORONTO, Ont.- The City of Toronto and the province should anticipate province-wide labour unrest if there is a move to designate TTC workers as an essential service, says Sid Ryan, Ontario president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Ryan, who heads the province’s largest union, says that CUPE will not stand by and watch the right to strike be taken away from any workers.

Mayor Miller and Toronto Councillors better think long and hard about asking the province to take away the right to strike from public sector workers,” said Ryan. “We successfully mobilized labour throughout the province when Mike Harris tried to suspend the right to strike during amalgamation, and we are poised to do that again.”

The right to strike is a fundamental right in any democracy,” Ryan added. “If you take that right away, workers are little more than indentured servants. We are not prepared to allow that to happen to any workers in Ontario’s public or private sectors.”

Ryan took umbrage to the way in which the rights of TTC workers were removed by the hasty passage of provincial legislation yesterday that was voted on by all parties. “Without any seemingly public safety issue at stake, these politicians circumvented workers’ rights. At no time during the discussion was proof put forward that public safety was in jeopardy by these workers exercising their democratic rights.”

The majority of collective bargaining is resolved without labour disruption.

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For further information, contact:

Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications  647-225-3685
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario  416-209-0066