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Funeral for Collective Bargaining Rights

First We Mourn, Then We Fight

Toronto — 10 September 2012.

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Devastated by a far-reaching anti-worker Bill 115: Putting Students First Act (it was passed Sept. 11), rank and file education workers convened a funeral for collective bargaining rights on the lawn of Queen's Park. The solemn ceremony comes after education workers spent weeks trying to stop the legislation by lobbying Members of Provincial Parliament, rallying at Queen's Park, and addressing the public through the media. [Join Facebook group.]

Dearly beloved, we rank and file members and education workers have gathered here today indeed during a very solemn dark day to commemorate another victim in the death of the march to austerity. As the McGuinty Government continues his attack on the rights of working people, as he attempts to pass such foul and distasteful legislation named the "Putting Students First Act."

A piece of legislation that shows a murderous contempt for bargaining processes enshrined in law and in democratic principles. Legislation that will in fact further erode the quality of our public education, not improve it. Effectively jeopardizing the rights of future workers. Our students whom they dare to use in the naming of this loathsome legislation. Let us be reminded that despite the Drummond Commission stating that spending in Ontario is not out of control or excessive, the McGuinty Government feels the need to create a crisis where there was none.

And in the death march to austerity we must be also mindful that those hardest hit are the working poor, youth, part-time and non-unionized workers, racialized and immigrant communities. Let us also be reminded of how broad the death march is by giving our solidarity and support to the Chicago Teachers Union who began their strike action today.

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