November 4, 2022
Statement by Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck in support of 55,000 CUPE Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) members and their fight for a fair deal:
The Manitoba Federation of Labour stands in solidarity with the 55,000 members of CUPE Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) and their fight for a fair deal against the bullying tactics of Doug Ford’s government.
Ford’s government is picking on school custodians, maintenance and library workers, secretaries, early childhood educators, educational assistants, and IT professionals and their families across Ontario by using the notwithstanding clause to impose a contract. This is an extreme move that no government, of any political stripe, has done before.
Premier Heather Stefanson’s predecessor Brian Pallister wasn’t afraid to stand up and tell other Premiers when they were going too far, as he did when he criticized Quebec Premier Francois Legault for passing legislation to prevent that province’s public servants from wearing religious symbols (Bill 21).
As she is the current Chair of the Council of the Federation, we believe that Premier Stefanson should summon similar courage today and tell Doug Ford that what he is doing is wrong and un-Canadian.
These education workers make $39,000 a year on average. They care about students and provide vital public services families count on. Many of them are parents of kids who go to public schools too.
But they also need to be able to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table for their families. They deserve to be able to collectively bargain a fair deal that allows them to keep up with the crushing increases at the grocery stores and gas pumps.
The Ford Conservatives are attacking education workers today. But make no mistake: if they are allowed to get away with this, they will come after the rights of other Canadians next.
Today, I will be standing in solidarity with CUPE education workers and allies in Kenora to send the Ford Conservatives a message that workers’ rights must be respected, not trampled on.