Ontario Union Prepares to Battle Ford Government's Bill 124
In a bid to push back against the Ford government’s Bill 124 and cuts to Ontario’s public services, CUPE Ontario announced Monday (Sept. 9) that they’ve launched their Communities not Cuts campaign.
Communities, Not Cuts proposes to be an aggressive, multi-year campaign where CUPE members will work with other workers, those in a union or not, community activists, families, neighbours to battle against proposed cuts.
The campaign will encompass a broad range of activities, from supporting direct actions in communities to an extensive advertising and online/social media presence, door knocking and talking to Ontarians, town halls, and visiting local MPPs in every riding.
“Every community, every type of work we do, every service Ontarians rely on is threatened,” said Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario president at a press conference at Queen’s Park on Monday. CUPE represents more than 270,000 municipal, health care, school board, post-secondary education and social services workers across Ontario.
“Our members work hard every day, in health care, education, universities, social services and in municipalities all across this province.,” said Hahn. “Those jobs have gotten harder after years of cuts that have only accelerated under the Ford Conservatives and now that same government is attacking their rights and financial future. This has got to stop.”
Ontario generates the lowest revenue per person and spends the least per person in the country.
This isn’t because average Ontarians aren’t paying their fair share; it’s because of our abysmally low corporate tax rate. #communitiesnotcuts #onlab #onpoli https://t.co/T06hmEiJ65— CUPE Ontario (@CUPEOntario) September 9, 2019
This call to action comes in the wake of the Ford government’s introduction of Bill 124 in early June — one day before the legislature was to break for five months.
Bill 124, or the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, contains wage restraint measures for non-union and unionized employees employed by the Ontario government, Crown agencies, the broader public sector, and other organizations that receive funding from the government of Ontario.
When the bill was introduced in June, Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy called the move ‘reasonable’ and ‘fair’ and that the bill wouldn’t involve wage rollbacks or job losses.
The Ford government maintains that the Bill is necessary to cut spending to deal with the deficit.
“Profitable corporations need to pay their fair share to help lower the deficit and fund public services. Raising taxes for profitable corporations and the wealthiest in our communities will help,” said Hahn.
“Attacking the rights of frontline workers doesn’t solve Ontario’s money problems. And combined with cuts to the services we all need, all it does is put families and communities further behind.”
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