PETERBOROUGH, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 31, 2012) - It's time for governments to take their fingers off the "pause" button and to get Ontario's economy rolling, say the leaders of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, which represents the people who provide front-line services in communities across the province.
"Our economy could be growing faster, protecting and producing jobs, but governments of all levels are preventing growth. It's time to press 'play' on the economy," says CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn. "Instead of investing in growth and good jobs, Stephen Harper, Dalton McGuinty and the leaders of many municipalities have been cutting services, depressing wages and slowing the economy down. How will Ontario businesses prosper when more and more working people can't afford a house or an education or are forced to scrimp on basics like food and shelter? We need to grow the economy, not stall it."
CUPE members are participating in Labour Day events across the province this long weekend. Visit www.cupe.on.ca/labourday for information about events across Ontario.
Labour Day is a chance to remember our proud history as a Canadian labour movement, a movement that works to build strong communities, good jobs and a middle class in Canada. As governments reduce revenues by giving away massive corporate tax cuts, unionized workers are being made their scapegoats. The result of these brutal attacks is rising inequality and a generation that will be the first in our history to have a less prosperous future than their parents, as shown in this week's report, "Falling Behind: Ontario's Backslide into Widening Inequality, Growing Poverty and Cuts to Social Programs," available at www.weareontario.ca.
This summer, Dalton McGuinty launched a campaign against public-sector workers with Bill 115, which the Canadian Civil Liberties Union decried as an attack on people's rights. It followed close on the heels of Stephen Harper's unprecedented use of back-to-work legislation in labour disputes with private corporations, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's visceral attack on city workers.
"The more working people come under attack, the more they see the value in standing together," says CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick, who lives in Peterborough. "That's why CUPE is growing, with people in 52 more workplaces choosing to join with us in the last year. Together we will overcome these new challenges and build an Ontario we can all be proud of. There truly is power in a union."
"We're marching today because, together as union members, we have made our workplaces safer and healthier, raised the standard of living for all Ontarians, and brought life to ideas such as public holidays - like today," says CUPE Ontario executive board member Vern Andrus, an elementary school head custodian in the Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board. Andrus will participate in Labour Day events at Memorial Park in Oshawa beginning at 10:00 a.m. and in Peterborough, where a picnic at Nicholl's Oval Park Pavilion begins at noon.
CUPE Ontario is the province's community union, representing the people who deliver front-line public everyone relies on every day. Most CUPE Ontario members work in one of five main sectors: municipalities, health care, social services, universities and school boards.