FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2012
(Toronto, ON) — The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will host an emergency meeting of labour union leaders representing over one million workers on Wednesday, September 26 to draft province-wide plans to challenge Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent attack on the Charter rights of workers. After tabling the constitutionally disputed Bill 115 to eliminate the collective bargaining rights of Ontario teachers and educational support staff, Premier McGuinty has openly mused about extending his draconian legislation to strip the democratic rights of all of the province’s 1.3 million public sector workers.
Collective bargaining rights have been instrumental in the creation of Canada’s middle class and improving conditions for all working families. Both Ontario’s Liberals and Conservatives are using the provincial deficit as cover for plans to roll back workers’ rights. McGuinty has aggressively interfered in bargaining and removed the right to strike from education workers based on the false assertion that Ontario’s deficit was created by the public sector, when the real cause was a recession combined with dramatic tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Ontarians.
“The Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW) went to the bargaining table with Ford and General Motors this month with their right to strike intact and the ability to bargain freely. The union successfully bargained settlements that were accepted by their members. This is the system that works and it is the fair process that workers deserve,” said OFL President Sid Ryan. “Ontario’s workers have demonstrated a willingness to do their part in reaching fair settlements in today’s tough economy, but only when all parties are sharing the burden and only when their rights are respected.”
“This emergency meeting has nothing to do with wages, benefits or sick leave. It is about defending democracy and fairness and protecting the Charter rights of Ontario workers,” said Ryan. “McGuinty and Hudak are collaborating to strip the basic labour rights of Ontarians in order to weaken opposition to dramatic cuts to jobs and services. Labour unions have no choice but to challenge this inequality agenda head on; and we are going to do it together.”
The heads of Ontario’s labour unions will host a media conference directly following their meeting to announce plans to challenge McGuinty’s public service cuts and protect workers’ rights.
What: Media Conference with Ontario’s Heads of Unions
When: 2:30 pm, Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Where: Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Conference Room “G” (Mezzanine Level, Richmond Tower), 123 Queen St. West
Sid Ryan, OFL
Warren “Smokey” Thomas, OPSEU
Jenny Ahn, CAW
Fred Hahn, CUPE
Joined by the leaders of Ontario’s public and private sector unions
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.