(Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories — Vancouver, BC) The BC Federation of Labour today released the following statement:
The Ontario government’s Bill 28 is a reprehensible attack on the fundamental rights of 55,000 CUPE Ontario School Boards Council of Unions members. The Doug Ford government has resorted to the notwithstanding clause to force a contract on education workers.
That’s not only a dangerous and wildly irresponsible measure. It’s an explicit admission that the Ford government knows it is violating fundamental Charter rights. And it is directed at the lowest-paid workers in the school system.
These workers — education assistants, custodians, library workers, maintenance workers, secretaries, early childhood educators and IT professionals — do critical work in Ontario’s schools. Yet with an average salary of $39,000 a year, many are on the brink of poverty.
This ham-fisted legislation is ultimately destined to fail. History shows us again and again that the collective bargaining process — where employers and unions negotiate in good faith and reach a genuine agreement — is the only road to durable, lasting stability in the workplace.
On behalf of the more than 500,000 members of our affiliated unions, we stand with the CUPE OSBCU workers. We encourage our members to show support for Ontario education workers at cupe.on.ca/dontbeabully.
And we call on the Ford government to reverse this shameful decision immediately, to allow the collective bargaining process to proceed without political meddling, and to allow Ontario’s education workers to reach a fair agreement.