Morning rally slowed traffic on Bay Street and attracted considerable media attention. Many morning newscasts on television and radio led with the demonstration.
Toronto (15 Sept. 2011) – On September 13th more than 300 Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) college support workers marched on the headquarters of the College Employer Council in downtown Toronto demanding that management return to the bargaining table. To make their point they carried with them a symbolic bargaining table.
Rod Bemister, OPSEU/NUPGE's Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) support bargaining team chair, was delighted by the enthusiastic turnout and repeated his call for management negotiators to return to the contract table.
“We brought this table down here to make the point that we’re prepared to sit at it until an agreement can be hammered out,” said Bemister, pointing to the symbolic table resting on the sidewalk.
“So far, we’re prepared to return, but management won’t.”
The march and rally attracted support strikers from George Brown, Seneca, Centennial and Humber colleges in Toronto, as well as additional support staff from Mohawk, St. Clair, Durham, Georgian and Niagara colleges, most of whom set off early in the morning for the long journey to the demonstration.
The morning's event slowed traffic on Bay Street and attracted considerable media attention. Many morning newscasts on television and radio led with the demonstration, including CP24 News which videotaped the march from a helicopter overhead.
On their arrival at the Council office, the demonstrators chanted slogans calling on management negotiators to make good on their promise to return to the bargaining table.
Many of the picket signs reminded motorists and pedestrians that many college presidents have received pay hikes in excess of 60 per cent over the past five years at the same time they cry poverty when bargaining with their own employees.
Protestors heard from speakers representing the Ontario Federation of Labour, the Toronto and York Region Labour Council, the Ontario Nurses' Association, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the George Brown College Students Association.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE