55,000 Ontario Education Workers Strike Despite ‘Draconian’ New Anti-Labor Law

Defying new laws fast-tracked by right-wing Ontario Premier Doug Ford outlawing strikes, greater than 55,000 schooling staff within the Canadian province hit the picket traces Friday, vowing to remain within the streets for “so long as it takes” to safe a contract they really feel is truthful.

The Canadian Union of Public Workers (CUPE) launched what it called “a wake-up name and a name to arms for organized labor throughout Canada” after Ontario’s Progressive Conservative authorities on Thursday enacted Invoice 28 — the Keeping Students in Class Act — which imposes contracts on CUPE members and prohibits them from putting on ache of a $3,000(USD) each day superb per worker and as much as a $371,000(USD) penalty for the union.

The brand new legislation additionally makes use of the notwithstanding clause to protect in opposition to constitutional challenges. The controversial authorized mechanism has solely been invoked twice in Ontario’s historical past — each occasions below Ford.

Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Invoice 28 an “assault on one of the vital fundamental rights obtainable, that of collective bargaining.”

CUPE nationwide president Mark Hancock stated in a statement that “this isn’t nearly schooling staff, that is in regards to the rights of all working individuals throughout the nation.”

“The message from our leaders right here in Ontario is obvious,”Hancock added. “Our members are united, and so they intend to battle — and so they have Canada’s largest union of their nook and we’re going to battle alongside them.”

CUPE nationwide secretary-treasurer Candace Rennick stated that “now’s a second for us to ask ourselves what sort of union we need to be, within the face of the worst piece of laws we’ve ever seen leveled on the labor motion.”

“Our members have spoken,” she added. “They’re ready to battle. They aren’t a part of the most important union within the nation for nothing. We’re going to have their backs, and we’ll stand with them for so long as it takes.”

In keeping with the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL):

The Constitution of Rights and Freedoms enshrines Canadians’ proper to a free and truthful collective bargaining course of, and the Supreme Courtroom of Canada has discovered that the proper to train financial sanctions (i.e., the proper to strike) varieties an integral a part of that course of. Along with violating staff’ constitutional proper to strike, the Protecting College students in Class Act enforces a concessionary contract on Ontario’s 55,000 schooling staff—the bottom paid staff within the schooling system—a lot of whom are girls staff and staff of shade.

The invoice unilaterally imposes woefully low wage will increase—properly beneath inflation—on low-income staff who’ve beforehand been subjected to a few years of 1% will increase… insufficient protections in opposition to job cuts; no paid prep time for schooling staff who work immediately with college students; a minimize to the sick depart/short-term incapacity plan; and plenty of different imposed phrases which penalize staff. All advised the imposed compensation modifications quantity to a mere $200 within the pockets of staff incomes on common $39,000 and going through 7% inflation.

Karen Brown, president of the Elementary Lecturers’ Federation of Ontario, said that by enacting a legislation that forces a contract on CUPE members, the Ford administration has chosen the “most draconian method of legislating away two elementary rights protected by the Canadian Constitution of Rights and Freedoms: the proper to discount collectively, and the proper to strike.”

“The Ford authorities has signaled it’s bored with reaching collective agreements which can be negotiated freely and pretty,” she added. “And its oppressive use of the however clause is one other flagrant abuse of energy — one which continues to assault democracy by trampling on Ontarians’ constitutional rights.”

Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Toronto’s Queen’s Park on Friday to denounce the Ford administration and present solidarity with the putting staff.

“We’d like our voices to be heard and for the federal government to understand this isn’t acceptable,” Maria Gallant, a college secretary, told CBC Information. “We’re simply asking to be paid what we deserve, nothing extra.”

Protesters additionally rallied outdoors the workplace of Schooling Minister Stephen Lecce in Vaughan.

“You can not rip away the rights of staff and anticipate… that we’re simply going to take it sitting down,” Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario Faculty Board Council of Unions, told International Information.

Others expressed assist for the strike on social media.

Birgit Uwaila Umaigba, an intensive care unit and emergency room nurse who can be scientific course director at Centennial Faculty in Toronto, dropped by a picket line to “shield our democracy.”

“Doug Ford and his retrogressive conservative authorities crossed the road by enacting Invoice 28 and banning 55,000 CUPE members from exercising their elementary proper to strike,” she tweeted.

OFL introduced a “Solidarity Saturday” day of motion within the province, calling Invoice 28 “a full-frontal assault on fundamental labor freedoms in Ontario.”

“Right now is a darkish day for Ontario staff. By introducing this laws earlier than schooling staff have even exercised their charter-protected proper to strike, the Ford authorities is making an attempt to short-circuit the bargaining course of and strip staff of a elementary freedom,” OFL president Patty Coates stated in a statement.

“Doug Ford and his authorities are as soon as once more telling staff throughout the province that their rights don’t matter,” she added.