“We won”, says CUPE as Premier Doug Ford offers to rescind Bill 28

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is claiming to have defeated Doug Ford after the Ontario premier offered to repeal Bill 28 in good faith, if the striking education workers got back on the job. The law included the notwithstanding clause to circumvent any constitutional challenge to the legislation.

“CUPE and Canada’s labour movement are celebrating the defeat of Doug Ford’s draconian anti-worker legislation Bill 28 A. The bill would have imposed a regressive contract and stripped 55,000 CUPE education workers in Ontario of fundamental Charter rights,” a CUPE statement said.

CUPE’s National President Mark Hancock credited the “victory” to the power of worker solidarity across public and private sectors, but especially the courage and determination of education workers.

“CUPE’s frontline education workers, 70% of whom are women, stood firm. They took on the Ford government. And the government blinked,” said Hancock. “We’ve shown that when our rights are under attack, our movement is strong – and we will stand up for each other.”

The Ontario School Board Council of Unions echoed this belief.

“The work of our members is what repealed this bill. This is unprecedented,” said Laura Walton, president of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which represents 55,000 CUPE education workers in Ontario. “The organization of the members moved the government to this place, and the mobilization of our members will ensure that a real deal is achieved at the table.”

CUPE education workers will reportedly be back on the job Tuesday, however the decision on when schools will open is up to individual school boards who shut down when the strike began.

Several Ontario school boards, including the Toronto District School Board and the York Region District School Board are planning to reopen for in-person learning tomorrow. Parents should check their school board’s website for the latest information.

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