Member Section Archive
As 2018 draws to a close, many of us are taking a well-earned break from work to spend time with family. While we do, let’s not forget the members of our union who work over the holidays to look after our loved ones and keep our communities strong while we’re away.
Let us also reflect with pride on our efforts as a union over the past year and steel ourselves for the challenges ahead. In 2018, CUPE Ontario members played a leading role in ousting the Wynne Liberals and electing the strongest NDP caucus in a generation. But there’s no sugar-coating it–we’re looking at a hard road ahead under the Ford Conservatives.
They’ve wasted little time implementing their far-right agenda. Rolling back the gains for working families made under Bill 148. Undermining the free collective bargaining process by forcing CUPE 3903 members and power workers back to work. Passing discriminatory laws targeting trans people, taking our sex-ed curriculum back to the 90s, attacking the rights of Franco-Ontarians, and much, much more.
And even though Canadian corporate tax rates are among the world’s lowest, the Ford Conservatives, like the Wynne and Trudeau Liberals, have refused to address the main cause of underfunding for the public services we all depend on: criminally low taxes on the wealthy that perpetuate inequality in our society.
But there is still hope. CUPE members are rising up to resist this far-right resurgence. Whether going on strike against two-tier contracts and precarious work, mobilizing our members in elections, fighting the Ford austerity agenda at Queen’s Park, stemming the rising tide of racism in our communities, defending our pensions, pushing minimum care standards for long-term care residents, or standing in solidarity with our allies in the labour movement, we must never forget that WE are the people and the only way the far-right wins is if the people do nothing.
2019 will bring fresh challenges but also the chance to elect new leaders in the Canadian federal election. As CUPE Ontario members, we resolve to continue standing on the front lines in defence of the public services our parents and grandparents left to us, while making new gains for working people and their families.
We invite you to read an overview of our work in 2018 beneath this message.
Wishing you a safe and joyous holiday season and a Happy New Year.
President, CUPE Ontario
Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario
This year, Cornwall municipal workers – CUPE Locals 234, 3251, 3251-01 and 5734, CUPE 2424 workers at Carleton University, and CUPE 3903 workers at York University went on strike to combat precarious work, stop two-tier contracts, protect pensions, and fight concessions.
CUPE Ontario mobilized members to walk picket lines, made financial contributions to locals’ strike funds, and used new digital tools to amplify locals’ voices through video, social media, and web advertising.
Although Cornwall municipal workers and CUPE 2424 were able to reach agreements with their employers, after the longest strike in the post-secondary sector in Canadian history, CUPE 3903 members were legislated back to work. York University continues to punish activists for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression during the strike. You can send a solidarity message here.
This year, CUPE members mobilized across the province to elect Members of Provincial Parliament, city Councillors, and school board trustees to stop cuts and defend public services.
For municipal and school board elections, CUPE Ontario launched a new online tool, CUPEVotes, to help voters and members find the CUPE-endorsed candidates in their wards.
Although the Doug Ford Conservatives took power in the provincial election, our member mobilization efforts, Demand Better campaign, and activism to Keep Hydro Public, helped end 12 years of Liberal misrule and elect the strongest NDP caucus in a generation.
In 2019, we will build on the network of activists we developed during provincial and local elections to resist the Ford agenda and set the stage for an NDP victory in the federal election.
CUPE Ontario continued the effort to make 4 hours of daily care for Ontario long-term care residents the law, holding a major rally at Queen’s Park in February after achieving all party support for the Time to Care Act at Second Reading. Although the Time to Care Act did not pass due to the dissolution of the legislature before the provincial election, we held lobby training with long-term care workers earlier this month to prepare for a renewed push in 2019.
In the spring, the Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee (OSBCC) reformed itself into the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) – the central bargaining agent for CUPE school board locals. The council allows Education Workers from across the province to share information and strategies for bargaining and discuss issues and policies of concern. With locals in all four school systems, the council helps locals to fight contracting out and to defend public education in the face of spending cuts.
In 2018, CUPE Ontario and allies fought proposed changes to the OMERS pension plan that would have scrapped guaranteed indexing and severely impacted municipal workers’ retirements. Read our joint statement on the outcome of that effort here.
At the urging of members and in coordination with our Racial Justice Committee, CUPE Ontario began work on a two-pronged action plan to combat the rising tide of hate in our communities and to tackle institutional racism within CUPE itself. Stay tuned for more details as this plan is put into action over the course of 2019.
Through the hard work of our Aboriginal Council, Human Rights, International Solidarity, Pink Triangle, Racial Justice, Workers with Disabilities, and Young Workers committees, CUPE Ontario pursued campaigns to raise awareness about access to clean drinking water in Indigenous Communities, stop workplace violence and sexual assault, call out barriers to access for Ontarians with disabilities, organize Pride events across the province, and more. With support from CUPE Ontario, the OUWCC also began rolling out their Dine-In campaign to demand better food services on Ontario campuses and CUPE Local 2 launched TTC: Not for Sale to prevent the privatization of Toronto’s subway.
CUPE Ontario had a full year organizing conferences, solidarity actions, and other events to connect, educate, and mobilize our members.
Our event schedule included the Health & Safety and Injured Workers, Womens‘, CACO, HCWCC, OMECC, OSBCC/OSBCU, Social Service Workers, Trades, OUWCC, Racial Justice & Human Rights, Library Workers, Secretary Treasurer’s conferences.
CUPE Ontario organized rallies to Rebuild & Improve Public Health Care, and demand Time to Care for long-term care residents. We put on Spring & FallSchools, lobby days, and sent delegations to Labour Day and the Women’s March. We also organized Town Hall Calls about University Sector Pensions, Long Term Care, and more.
Convention 2018 was a resounding success. Over 1,000 delegates met in Toronto to pass resolutions and the 2018 Action Plan, elect Executive Board members, and hear from inspiring guest speakers such as CUPE National President Mark Hancock, Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and Hamilton City Councillor Matthew Green.
In the fall, we organized a series of Leadership Meetings across Ontario for local leaders and activists to prepare for the Ford government and mobilize for municipal and school board elections. CUPE Ontario also took part in solidarity actions in support of striking CUPW members, locked-out CNE workers, and allies and community partners.
Check out the 2019 calendar here.