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A little rain didn’t stop crowds of people from converging on Mississauga City Hall on June1 for a rally to support Canadian Union of Pubic Employees (CUPE) Local 966 workers who have been on strike since May 3. 

Members of CUPE Local 966, Ontario Works Human Services Unit, provide valued and vital services to the most vulnerable residents in the Region of Peel. Among these services are newcomer settlement services, employment and training, assistance for the homeless, and child and family support. The workers, who are predominantly women, have been standing up for the services they provide for almost one month, against the Region of Peel’s refusal to offer a contract settlement in line with those given to workers in Caledon, Mississauga and Brampton. 

These people provide critically important services that support communities and promote social cohesion. They work with newcomers and young people and the people most in need. In an economic downturn, when demand is highest, their services are even more important because demand is greater,” CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said.

Nobody takes these jobs because they want to get rich; they do it because of commitment to their communities. The Region of Peel is telling these women that they should be expected to take less, that their work is less valued. That’s not fair. It’s not right. It’s not okay. And it’s not happening.” 

Several speakers addressed the rally, including Rathika Sitsabaiesan, NDP MP for Scarborough-Rouge River, Marie Clarke Walker from the Canadian Labour Congress and John Cartwright from the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. 

We are overwhelmed by the show of solidarity we have received from other CUPE locals and their generosity, other unions and our community supporters,” said Mary Jo Falle, president of CUPE Local 966. “This has been a great boost for our members who want to get back to the bargaining table and back to helping the clients we serve daily.” 

The rally was called by more than 1,100 CUPE members from across Ontario during their recent convention in Windsor. Hahn also presented the local with a cheque for $35,000 in donations collected in under ten minutes at that convention. 

For more information, please contact: 

Michel Revelin, Vice-President, CUPE Local 966, 416-822-3779

Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications, 416-892-8716

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316