NORTH BAY On the morning of the Harris Governments planned Throne speech, the president of Canadas largest union has told a gathering school board workers in North Bay that the assault on our school system is far from over.
CUPE National President Judy Darcy told conference delegates, Mike Harris is turning Ontario politics into a province-wide version of the TV show Survivor. Survivor, she explained, turns the whole idea of elections upside down. In a normal election, after the vote someone wins. In a Survivor election, after the vote one person loses. But in Harriss version of Survivor, after the vote everyone loses.
Said Darcy, After the 1995 election, we lost trade union rights and health care. After the 1999 election, we lost clean water and our education system. Now theyre coming after our cities and towns with a push to privatize and contract out. If they keep this up, there isnt going to be much of Ontario left.
The CUPE National President told the school board workers, Its time for us to tap the knowledge and skill of our members to show what our schools would look like if they were run for children not for the bottom line. Clean schools, safe schools, enriching schools thats what CUPE members deliver.
CUPE represents some 45,000 school board workers across Ontario, including 13,000 who are currently on strike against the Toronto District School Board.
The CUPE OSBCC Conference runs from APRIL 18-21 at the Best Western in North Bay. CUPE represents close to 500,000 working women and men across Canada 172,000 here in Ontario.
CUPE members in the education sector do the work that makes learning and teaching possible. They are the custodians and stationary engineers, administrative assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria employees, education assistants, English as a second language and literacy instructors, community advisory and clerical staff, both in the schools and at the board office.