TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 28, 2012) - Thousands of Ontarians who care about young people and their education converged today at Queen's Park to voice their opposition to the McGuinty Government's unprecedented attack on education workers.
"For years, this Government has said bullying in our schools can't be tolerated. What sort of example is Dalton McGuinty setting when he tries to strip away the basic rights of every person tasked with ensuring students get the education they deserve?" asked Fred Hahn, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario.
Today's rally was called by the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) with CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) taking part in the event to fight back against the McGuinty Government's introduction of legislation yesterday that, if passed, would strip school board workers of their basic rights to bargain collectively with their employers.
"The only way to stop bullying is to show resolve and take a stand against the bully. Our commitment is unshakeable. We will oppose this unprecedented attack on workers' basic rights, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, if necessary," said Hahn. "The people of Ontario deserve nothing less."
Twice, the Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of workers to bargain collectively, striking down attempts by governments to strip these rights in the Health Services and Fraser decisions.
"This unnecessary legislation will not withstand the scrutiny of the Courts. Rather than wasting millions of taxpayer dollars defending the indefensible, the McGuinty government should give school boards and their employees the space they need to bargain collective agreements that are fair to everyone-students, parents, school boards and the thousands of workers who are the backbone of the education system," said Hahn.
"What this bill is really about is a desperate attempt by the Liberals to win by-elections in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan by inventing a crisis in our schools that does not, in reality, exist and is about the Liberals trying to distract public attention away from their plan to withdraw over $2 billion from our education system, concluded Hahn. We need an education system that will attract and retain the best teachers and school support workers possible for our students and McGuinty's current roadmap does just the opposite - how does that build a positive future for our children?"
CUPE Ontario represents 55,000 school board support workers who are affected by the government's proposed legislation.