Thunder Bay—Municipal workers attending a three-day meeting in Thunder Bay say they are gearing up to protect public services and to fight the province’s new Municipal Act that forces municipalities to function like corporations and sell-off and privatize essential community services.
The 150 delegates attending the conference, slated for Thursday, April 4 to Saturday, April 6 at the Thunder Bay Valhalla Inn, are municipal workers from communities across Ontario. They are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union that represents approximately 90,000 municipal workers province-wide.
“Poll after poll shows Ontarians support public services, delivered by workers employed directly by municipalities. Since the tragic deaths in Walkerton, more and more Ontarians recognize the importance of the check and balances built into our public services that ensures health and safety protections. There is also an increasing awareness that quality public services build strong communities and healthy local economies.
“Ultimately, local governments will be held accountable when municipal services are eroded because of forced contracting out the lowest bidder,” says Ryan, who will be addressing the conference delegates on Thursday, April 4 beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Other conference keynote speakers include NDP Leader Howard Hampton and CUPE National President Judy Darcy on Saturday, April 6 beginning at 10:00 a.m.
“Municipal governments now thinking about going down the road to contracting out and privatizing services should take note, there are tens of thousands of CUPE members who work in the municipal sector, who will not stand idly by and watch the sell-off of our cities and towns. They will fight, they will strike, not only to protect their jobs but also our valued municipal public services,” says Ryan.