group of people posing for a photo with shirts that say CUPE 966 caresCUPE Ontario and CUPE 966 are calling the cancellation of Peel region’s dissolution a victory for Peel residents and workers and claiming that community organizing – and the threat of more of it – played a major role in today’s announcement from the Ford government.

“Dissolution was never an answer to any of the problems facing Peel,” said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. “After dissolution was announced, unions, community groups and non-profits began working together to ensure that public services would be protected. Then it became all too clear how underserviced Peel residents actually are, especially when compared to their neighbours in the GTA and York region.

“Even after today’s announcement, simply maintaining the status quo for services is not an option. There is a still a desperate need for government action in Peel. Residents need more and better public services; they deserve public investment in their health, in their community, in services for young people and older persons. And the region needs good jobs for local people. These priorities are still our focus for Peel.”

CUPE 966, which represents over 3500 public sector workers in Peel, and CUPE Ontario worked together and in conjunction with OPSEU and Metamorphosis, a network of over 100 non-profit community service agencies in the region, to determine what dissolution would mean for residents, workers and public services in Peel.

The public pressure and public scrutiny from these groups were part of what triggered the Ford PCs to abandon their plans for dissolution, according to union representatives.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in the right direction and it’s the result of the organizing of the frontline members of CUPE Local 966,” said Salil Arya, president of CUPE 966. “We consistently raised our concerns that we might lose our jobs in the shake up; that the public services we’re proud to deliver in our communities would be jeopardized and that the dissolution would open the door to privatization; and that our calls for real and substantial investments into the public service were being ignored in favour of dissolution instead. We raised our voices and we’ve shown that organizing works.”

Hahn stressed the value of union and grassroots organizing to preserve and enhance public services.

“Dissolution or no dissolution, we will continue to continue to work in coalition with labour and community partners and pressure the Ford government for additional provincial resources for the region. Our goal was and is to make sure that the province is equally resourcing Peel for its fair share of public services,” said Hahn.