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TORONTO, ON – More than 1000 members of Ontario’s largest union will meet in Toronto this week at the 52nd annual CUPE Ontario Convention, May 27-30 at the Toronto Sheraton Centre Hotel.

“Years of cuts are putting tremendous pressure on communities across Ontario. Report after report shows rising poverty, more and more people in precarious work, and fewer services to support Ontarians,” said Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. “This austerity agenda is hurting our province, and this week we are coming together to step up the fight against austerity.

Repeated tax cuts for profitable corporations and ill-conceived privatization plans have created fiscal challenges in Ontario, and only by abandoning austerity will Ontario recover”, he said.

“Under Dalton McGuinty, Ontarians needlessly paid more than $8 billion for ill-conceived privatization schemes and suffered through Bill 115, which stripped school board workers of their constitutionally protected right and brought chaos to our schools,” said Hahn. “Instead of learning from the past, the Wynne government is pursuing an even bigger and more dangerous privatization mistake with their plans to sell Hydro One, and just brought in back-to-work legislation that, like Bill 115, uses a legal hammer against those fighting against attempts to bring austerity to our schools.”

At the Convention, CUPE Ontario members will approve an action plan to fight government austerity, restore the public services we all rely on, and stop the Hydro privatization.

“Privatization only benefits the very few – banks, corporate lawyers and Bay Street. For the public it means higher costs, loss of control and no accountability,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario secretary-treasurer. “When higher hydro rates hit the operating budgets of schools, hospitals and child-care centres, it will mean real cuts to programs and services. We’ve stopped hydro privatization before, and we’ll do it again, for the good of all Ontarians.”

This year’s Convention features speakers including federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Lucia McKeever, the president of UNISON, the largest pubic-sector union in the U.K., which has been fighting austerity under David Cameron.

Members will also join a rally at Queen’s Park on Thursday, May 28 at 12:30 p.m. to send a strong message to the Wynne government to Keep Hydro Public.

Many Convention events are open to media, and advance registration is strongly encouraged. To register or for more information, please contact Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, by phone (416-576-7316) or email (csaunders@cupe.ca).

Convention highlights:


10:10 a.m.      CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn
1:35 p.m.        Health & Safety Award
2:50 p.m.        CUPE National President Paul Moist


11:30 a.m.      Lucia McKeever, president of UNISON, the largest public-sector union in Europe
12:30 p.m.      Mass rally at Queen’s Park to Keep Hydro Public (speakers at 12:30)
1:55 p.m.        CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury
2:10 p.m.        Sisters in Solidarity Award
7-9 p.m.          International Solidarity Forum featuring UNISON President Lucia McKeever, Migrant Workers Alliance for Change Coordinator Syed Hussan and Ryerson University Professor Grace-Edward Galabuzi


11:40 a.m.      Federal NDP Leader Tom Mulcair
Noon              Equality Lunch featuring Desmond Cole, MPP Cheri DiNovo and New Tradition Music.
1:50 p.m.        Injured Workers Award
3:30 p.m.        CLC President Hassan Yussuf

Please note that exact times may change. You can follow the Convention on Twitter with #CUPEON15, and the fight against Hydro One privatization with #KeepHydroPublic.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with 250,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.

For more information, or to register, please contact:

Craig Saunders
CUPE Communications