Toronto – The future of labour relations in Ontario has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. “By announcing its intention to force striking City of Toronto employees back to work, the Eves’ government is taking the unprecedented step of sanctioning the do-nothing “style over substance” confrontational approach taken by Mayor Lastman”, said CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer, Brian O’Keefe.
“From the very beginning, everyone knew that the City of Toronto wasn’t interested in reaching a negotiated collective agreement,” said O’Keefe. “The mayor has only been interested in killing time until the province bailed him out. But, if the province goes ahead with back-to-work legislation, Mayor Lastman will have killed more than time, he will have succeeded in killing constructive labour relations across Ontario.
“If an employer can get away with ignoring the bargaining process, confident that the province will bail them out, then the bargaining process is dead. This is an obvious attempt at union busting, not just against CUPE workers but against the union movement in general, and we clearly cannot stand idly by while this happens.
“Premier Eves should be able to see through the Mayor’s public relations chant of “jobs for life” and know that the workers of Local 79 and Local 416 are not being unreasonable. From the start, this was about privatizing public services, and from Enron and Nortel to Walkerton, we’ve had enough evidence that the private sector can’t be trusted to act responsibly when the public interest is at stake.
“I hope that Premier Eves appreciates the magnitude of the consequences his back-to-work legislation will have on the future of labour relations in Ontario,” added O’Keefe. “I urge Premier Eves to reconsider his decision to introduce back-to-work legislation and force Mayor Lastman to realize that his only course of action is to return to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith.”
For more information please contact:
Brian O’Keef, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer
Dean Williams, CUPE Communications