November 1 2022
“The legislation introduced in Ontario and invoking the notwithstanding clause are an attack on all working people in Canada. The National Union is strongly committed to supporting CUPE and OPSEU/SEFPO in their fight and to standing up against this attack.” — Bert Blundon, NUPGE President
Ottawa (01 Nov. 2022) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is joining the growing chorus of those condemning the efforts of the Ford government in Ontario to impose a contract on workers in the education sector.
Particularly worrisome is that the province is using the notwithstanding clause to prevent a legal challenge to the legislation.
Education workers looking for a fair contract
Education workers in Ontario who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are looking at going out on strike on Friday, November 4, 2022, with the aim of achieving a fair collective agreement. Education workers with the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO/NUPGE) are also at the bargaining table. The legislation significantly restricts their collective bargaining rights.
Both CUPE and OPSEU/SEFPO education workers are the lowest-paid staff in Ontario’s schools. They earn an average of $39,000 per year, and the schools are so understaffed that it has created a dangerous and stressful environment for both students and staff.
Attack on workers’ rights
“Obviously the Premier knows what he is doing isn’t constitutional. By invoking the notwithstanding clause, the government is saying that it knows what it is doing violates both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as several Supreme Court rulings. Otherwise, why would they do it?” said NUPGE President Bert Blundon.
“The legislation introduced in Ontario and invoking the notwithstanding clause are an attack on all working people in Canada. The National Union is strongly committed to supporting CUPE and OPSEU/SEFPO in their fight and to standing up against this attack.”
Together in solidarity
NUPGE is currently in discussions with their Ontario Component, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/SEFPO/NUPGE) to look at ways they can respond to this unprecedented move by the Ford government.
“We want the education workers of CUPE and our members in OPSEU/SEFPO to know that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with them. This is not just your fight. It is a fight for the entire labour movement,” said Blundon.
“I will be reaching out to the President of CUPE to offer our assistance,” Blundon concluded.