TORONTO — Ontario’s Building Trades Council, LIUNA and the operating engineers union have all issued statements slamming the Doug Ford government for passing Bill 28, which overrides the bargaining rights of CUPE education sector workers.
Bill 28, which was fast-tracked and approved by the Progressive Conservative government Nov. 3, blocks CUPE from striking and invokes the notwithstanding clause to prevent the union from challenging the legislation in court as a violation of the Charter of Rights of Freedoms.
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher said in a statement that Local 793 is “categorically opposed to Bill 28 and any attempt by the government of Ontario to undermine the collective bargaining rights of workers, including the right to strike which is a necessary and fundamental right of workers in Canada.”
CUPE acts for 55,000 education workers employed as custodians, educational assistants and support staff. The workers went on strike Nov. 4 in defiance of the back-to-work legislation.
LIUNA international vice-president Joe Mancinelli addressed a public letter to Minister of Education Stephen Lecce that argued, “Free and fair collective bargaining is a Charter-protected historical right that is the foundation of labour rights and must be respected.”
He added, “Forcibly imposing a contract on education workers is not the answer.”
The statement from the Building Trades also condemned potential use of the notwithstanding clause.
“The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario stands in support of all workers against the potential removal of collective bargaining rights,” the statement said. “We strongly encourage both sides — CUPE and the government — to continue negotiations in good faith in the pursuit of a fair contract that benefits everyone.”
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