Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

February 24, 2011 13:16 ET

University Workers Choose Sudbury to Start "Imagining a Better Ontario"

Conference Brings Workers From Across Ontario to Sudbury - Home of CUPE'S Newest University Members

SUDBURY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2011) - They're janitors and teaching assistants, clerical staff and cooks, to name a few, and they've come from across Ontario to meet in Sudbury, home of their newest University Union Local.

The workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario University Workers' Coordinating Committee (OUWCC), chose Sudbury for their conference where they develop action plans for the next year.

Last year, teaching assistants from Laurentian University became CUPE's newest members within the university sector.

"We're very pleased to be holding the conference in Sudbury this year, in the home with our newest CUPE University unit," said CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn, who will address the delegates on behalf of the Union's 230,000 members tonight, and will bring a message of the need to mobilize to build a better Ontario.

In addition to a busy week of debating priorities for CUPE Ontario's university workers during the next year, delegates will also participate in a variety of workshops and discussion groups which fit into this year's conference theme of 'Imagine … Workers applying the law for a better Ontario.'

Conference delegates will attend workshops and discussions on the importance of pensions for all workers, increasing social assistance rates, and strengthening workplace health & safety, and fighting privatization.

Delegates have worked with the Sudbury and District Labour Council to call a community discussion on social assistance rates. "It's so fitting that this discussion would take place in the community in which Kimberley Rogers lived" said Hahn. In 2001, Kimberley Rogers was found dead in her apartment. She was eight months pregnant at the time, and under house arrest and forced to live on $18 a month after paying her rent. She had been convicted for receiving a student loan while collecting social assistance.

"Kimberley's tragic life and death must never be forgotten, and none of us can rest until every Ontarian has enough food, decent shelter and the opportunity to fully participate in society," Hahn added.

Themes of fighting privatization are also very relevant to the Sudbury community, as the new mayor has pushed through a proposal to have a private corporation design, build, operate, finance and manage a sludge plant build in a so-called public-private partnership (P3).

"All the research from across the globe shows that P3s don't work for communities because they cost more and deliver less. That's why I hope all citizens in Sudbury, including CUPE Members at Laurentian, will examine the serious problems P3s like the one Council is considering have caused in other communities here in Ontario and around the world..," said Hahn.

The OUWCC is a committee of CUPE Ontario made up from locals working in the university sector across a broad range of positions including teaching, foodservice, clerical, security, library and parking, to name a few.

The OUWCC's activities include the coordination of collective bargaining, province-wide campaigns, political action on university issues and facilitating information sharing between locals.

Contact Information

  • CUPE Ontario
    Fred Hahn
    CUPE Communications
    Kevin Wilson