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(Midhurst) Members of County of Simcoe CUPE Locals 2710 (Social Services) and 3110 (Office, Technical and Clerical Workers) jammed the Midhurst Community Centre last night to prepare an action plan and to make clear their demand that the County of Simcoe end government by secrecy. Local 3110 president, Roger Wilson, told these workers a tale of suspended council process and secret sessions to deteremine the public services of the County of Simcoe.

The meeting founded a public coalition whose purpose is to get access to the secret report, and other in camera deliberations flowing from the report, to seek public consultation regarding the recommendations of the report and to protect the public services which the County of Simcoe provides its taxpayers. The coalition will shortly launch a series of activities and a publicity campaign.

From the beginning, Simcoe County has conducted itself in a manner reminiscent of a totalitarian state, not a democracy. The hiring of a consultant, the development of and acceptance of the reorganization report and its recommendations all of it has been conducted out of public view., Roger Wilson said after the meeting as he spoke of being refused access to the report which consultant Bob Reynolds prepared for Simcoe County.

The county has refused outright to consult us, to work with us, to release the report, or even allow us to speak to council, Robert Penrose, President of Local 2710 said. They keep going into secret sessions to discuss labour relations without ever telling us, the workers, what these relations are. This is backward-thinking management of the worst kind.

Why is the report secret? asked Sid Ryan, President of CUPE Ontario. I can only surmise that it is to prevent any organizing by workers and other taxpayers which might question the report. I can only surmise that it is secret because it recommends reduced services under the guise of efficiency and puts so-called taxpayer accountability ahead of democratic control, open government and services to citizens, Ryan explained.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadas largest union, represents workers employed by both public and private sector organizations in health care, emergency services, education, municipalities, social services, libraries, utilities, transportation and airlines, and front-line water services. CUPE represents half a million workers, 180,000 of whom are in Ontario.

Robert Penrose, President, Local 2710
(705) 722-3132 ext 1184

Roger Wilson, President, Local 3110
(705) 734-9341
Denzil DSouza, National Representative
(705) 722-7387
Neil Walker, Communications Representative
(416) 292-3999 ext 222