CUPE National President Mark Hancock made the following statement on the Ontario government’s Bill 70:
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is disappointed at the Ontario Liberal government’s attempt to force back-to-work legislation on our 3,000 members at York University on the eve of an election call.
Bill 70 says “post-secondary education serves a critical public function.” If the Ontario Liberals truly believed that, then they would have funded it accordingly.
Unfortunately, that has not been the case over the last 15 years of Liberal government in Ontario.
In fact, under the Liberals, post-secondary workplaces have only become more and more precarious.
Across Canada, in the face of aggressive assaults on their hard-won wages and benefits, CUPE locals are drawing a line and saying no to the erosion of their working conditions and demanding better from governments and employers. We’re proud of the stand that CUPE 3903 has taken to defend the well-being and dignity of their 3,000 members, and for the well-being and dignity of all post-secondary workers across Ontario.
Given her record, it was not surprising to see Premier Wynne make one last attempt at violating the right to free collective bargaining and legislating CUPE 3903 members back to work. It was nonetheless disappointing.
The truth is, by constantly interfering in bargaining disputes, the Ontario Liberals have sought to create a climate where employers can and will refuse to ever bargain at all. They never intervened when workers were facing increasing precarity and stagnating wages in their jobs. They only get involved to shut things down when workers demand better.
Students deserve better when it comes to their post-secondary education. And the people who deliver that education deserve better than a government that has never had their back.”