BURNABY, BC—Education Minister Shirley Bond will get a lesson in the ABCs of democracy today, October 18, when the Canadian Union of Public Employees holds a massive rally outside her Prince George offices demanding that the BC Liberal government repeal Bill 12 and return to the bargaining table with B.C. teachers.
CUPE members will begin gathering in the street outside Bond’s 15th and Brunswick office at 9:30 a.m. with a barbeque and speakers planned for 12:30 p.m.
Barry O’Neill, President of CUPE BC will be the guest speaker in Prince George today.
CUPE’s 4000 Northern region members will be out in force throughout the North today walking protest lines, holding rallies, marches and vigils. Quesnel, Smithers, Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge, Houston, Telkwa, Hazelton, Prince Rupert, Masset, Port Edward, Stewart, Kitimat and Terrace will all show solidarity have already walked off the job today. CUPE members who work in a variety of services will join the teachers and K-12 support staff on protest lines. In Mackenzie, CUPE members will also support teacher protest lines as well as hosting a Candlelight Vigil at 7:00 p.m.
Today’s CUPE protest in Prince George follows yesterday’s rally in front of MLA Pat Bell’s office. About 1000 people from private and public sector unions as well as members of the public attended the rally sponsored by the Prince George and District Labour Council. Unions like IWA/Steel reiterated their support for CUPE’s actions in leading the protest.
The rally comes a day after a crowd of more than 20,000 gathered at the provincial legislature to support members of the BC Teachers’ Federation—a day that will be remembered throughout Vancouver Island as a pivotal moment in the ongoing fight for free collective bargaining in B.C.