TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 26, 2013) - New Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne should move one item to the top of her agenda as the newly-elected Liberal leader, says Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario President Fred Hahn - that's a commitment to end the Liberal government's attacks on workers' democratic rights to free collective bargaining and impartial contract arbitration.
"The Liberal government created an unnecessary crisis by using Bill 115 to attack the collective bargaining rights of school board workers," said Hahn. "Their legislation was a disaster, making collective bargaining all but impossible."
Busloads of CUPE members came from every corner of the province for one of the largest labour rallies Toronto has seen. During the vote, an estimated 30,000 people marched to the rally in front of the convention at Maple Leaf Gardens. CUPE members carried signs saying "we will not forget," signalling their continued opposition to the Ontario Liberal Government's use of Bill 115.
"The Liberals already threatened another bill, the Protecting Public Services Act, which would take this attack on collective bargaining across the entire broader public sector," said Hahn. "We need the new leader's explicit commitment she will not pursue this damaging approach."
"Collective bargaining is a process that works, for everyone," he added. "It protects and stabilizes important public services and continues to set new working standards that spread to other work places, union and non-union alike. We are calling the Liberal leader to recognize that fact, and start building a more productive relationship with working people in Ontario - stop fighting with them and start working for them."
CUPE Ontario represents more than 230,000 Ontario workers who provide public services vital to every community in the province. Members work in five main sectors: school boards, health care, municipalities, universities and social services.