The Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) stands in solidarity with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) workers who are having their rights trampled on as they seek a fair deal for their critical work in the education sector. CAPE condemns the Ontario government’s invoking of the notwithstanding clause through the passage of the Keeping Students in Class Act to override their right to collective bargaining, imposes a four-year contract and bars any constitutional challenge. The Ontario government knows that without this clause their legislation would not stand up to a Constitutional challenge.
“This is a draconian measure, and it sets a dangerous precedent,” said CAPE President Greg Phillips. “We support collective bargaining rights and their right to strike if need be – these fundamental rights cannot be taken away. They are Charter-protected rights.”
CAPE calls on the federal government to step in and prevent the further dismantling of the fundamental rights of its citizens and encourages its members to express their opinions to their Member of Provincial Parliament and Member of Parliament on this matter. If members wish to participate in any local rallies in support of CUPE members, it must be done during a regularly scheduled break or lunch, or be on approved leave.
While CAPE members have always leaned towards arbitration, rather than striking, as a union we still firmly believe it is still a fundamental collective bargaining right to have the option to strike when the membership feels it is prudent and necessary. This same right must be available to all unionized employees, not just in the private sector but in the various public sectors as well.