ATU Condemns Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Attack on Workers’ Collective Bargaining Rights and Dignity

ATU Condemns Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Attack on Workers’ Collective Bargaining Rights and Dignity

Media Contact: David roscow, 202-487-4990

Silver Spring, MD – The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest transit union in North America, is standing with the Ontario education workers in their fight against attacks on their collective bargaining rights by Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government with legislation that would strip away their right to strike and impose poor working conditions on education workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The Ford government also introduced the right to use the “Notwithstanding Clause” in the Canadian constitution, which gives the Premier ultimate authority to veto any laws, appeals, and judicial decisions up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada.

“This wide-reaching legislation will be disastrous for the labour movement in Ontario and will have a devastating ripple effect across Canada,” said ATU International President John Costa. “We know that the Ford government is no friend of working people but taking away workers' fundamental right to strike and refusing to negotiate is unprecedented.”

Not only would this legislation move to strip away the right to strike, but workers could face fines of up to $4,000 per day if they strike. Experts say the “Notwithstanding Clause” was never meant to be used in contract negotiations or to strip away rights protected in the Charter. The ATU pledged to stand with CUPE workers as they plan to go on strike this Friday, regardless of the legislation.

“You cannot force a contract on workers. You cannot force them to choose between feeding their families and fighting for their rights. This disregard for workers is a threat to constitutional democracy,” Costa continued. “The ATU stands with the brave workers of CUPE and all working people in Ontario and across Canada against these dangerous attacks. The Ford government needs to do its job and get the parties back to the table to negotiate the fair and just contract these education workers deserve.”