KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2013) - Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) from Kingston and Belleville will pack buses bound for Toronto on Saturday morning, where they will join workers from across the province at the Liberal party convention for a march and rally. CUPE members will urge all candidates to chart a new course that respects collective bargaining rights and impartial arbitration for essential workers.
"People only get on a bus on a Saturday morning in January if they're really concerned," says Laura Walton, recording secretary of CUPE Local 1022, which represents support staff in the Hastings & Prince Edward District School Board. "Our rights are part of our identity as Ontarians, and we can't let any government take them away."
"These are democratic rights. You can't just take them away with the stroke of a pen," says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. "Any leader who tries to strip these rights from us will learn that we will fight them with everything we have."
Hahn added this attack affects more than just unionized workers. "Collective bargaining works. And it benefits everyone," he says.
Walton and Hahn will be joined at the rally by CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick and busloads of members more than 30 communities across the province, from Windsor to Ottawa, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie where a busload will leave at 3:15 a.m. to join the 1:00 rally at Allan Gardens in Toronto.
CUPE Ontario represents 230,000 workers across Ontario in five main sectors: school boards, municipalities, social services, health care and universities.