Workers at the Niagara Institute, members of CUPE 1287, got some picket line reinforcements yesterday over 75 supporters came to rally and show their support for the women now in the 8th week of a bitter strike.
National President Paul Moist and Ontario President Sid Ryan joined other supporters in fortifying the lines. Moist and Ryan were in Niagara-on-the-Lake to mobilize against privatization in health care as Canadas premiers and territorial leaders met to prepare for their major health care meeting with Prime Minister Martin in Ottawa in September.
Ontario NDP MPP Peter Kormos also joined the line to express his solidarity and support in 1287s fight for respect.
Support for that fight was pledged by members of other unions and organizations, including retired auto workers, members of United Steel Workers, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union and marchers from community-based groups like the Ontario Health Coalition. A much deserved boost for workers on a bitter strike that has gone on too long.
The dispute remains caught up on the issue of decent wage increases all other issues have been agreed to in principle. In a controversial move, management at the Niagara Institute asked the Ontario Ministry of Labour to administer a vote on their final offer 5.7% over the life of a collective agreement to last three and a half years. Workers have been fighting for a minimum increase of 8%. The forced vote will take place next week, August 5th.
Ironically, the Niagara Institutes programs and courses include mediation and conflict resolution which strikers and their supporters urged the Institutes management to take.
The Niagara Institute is affiliated with the Conference Board of Canada.-30-