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TorontoAll workers in Ontario got a raw deal last week when the Tory government introduced new employment standards legislation. And the introduction of labour law changes, making it harder for workers to join a union, is a clear indicator of this governments contempt for working people and an ever-escalating attack on their workplace rights.

But labour is not prepared to sit idle and allow Mike Harris to take away protections for workers. We intend to fight, says Brian OKeefe, secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario Division (CUPE).

OKeefe will be attending an all-union mobilizing meeting in Cornwall on Monday, December 4th, 2000 at 7 p.m. at the Best Western Parkway Hotel, 1515 Vincent Massey Drive. Joining OKeefe will be Wayne Samuelson, president, Ontario Federation of Labour.

To date, thousands of activists have packed meeting halls across the province to hear OKeefe and other labour leaders outline labours fight back campaign and to decide what community and workplace actions they will mount to ensure the hard-won rights of workers are protected and the Tory overhaul of legislation is nixed.

The provincial tour marks the first time since the Days of Action that an all-union front has come together to fight the Tory government. Other scheduled meetings on the tour have included Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Kingston, Ottawa, Owen Sound, Pembroke, Sault Ste. Marie and Toronto.

The Tory proposals to lower standards include a 60-hour workweek, one-day-at-a-time vacations and less pay for overtime. The Tories argue these changes to employment standards are needed to give employers more flexibility and help fuel the economy.

If this were in fact true, why are European economic powers introducing shorter, 35-hour workweeks? Five Canadian provinces now have a 40-hour workweek, as do many U.S. states. This shows the Tories are making these changes based on ideology, not based on whats good for the economy or whats good for workers, says OKeefe.


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