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Time for Action June Town Halls - All details

Ontario’s attack on workers’ rights is despicable

The AUPE elected executive has issued this statement of solidarity

Nov 01, 2022

AUPE statement: Unions will defend the right to strike

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The Ontario government’s attack on the basic rights of workers is despicable and dangerous. 

Doug Ford’s Conservative government has tabled legislation to prevent 55,000 education workers from taking legal strike action. 

Not only will the Keeping Students in Class Act order them back to work, it also invokes the notwithstanding clause to prevent them from challenging the legislation in court. 

The right to strike is protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Removing that right by using the notwithstanding clause is unprecedented.  

The 55,000 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will now face fines of $4,000 per day for every day they strike. 

These are education workers, mostly women, who are employed as educational assistants, early childhood educators, school librarians and janitorial staff. They earn about $39,000 per year. 

In the face of soaring inflation and after 2.5 years of working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are seeking a raise of $3 per hour.  

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) stands in solidarity with these CUPE members. We have 98,000 members, including 10,000 employed in education. 

The right to strike allows us to bargain on more equal terms with employers, to ensure that we get a fair reward for our labour. Striking has earned Canadians many of the things we now enjoy including weekends, vacation and workplace safety. 

If other governments follow Ford’s lead, workers across the country will see their working conditions fall, their wages driven down, their protections removed.  

We will not let the right to strike be taken from us. Governments across Canada, especially in Alberta, be warned.  


Guy Smith, President 
Jason Heistad, Executive Secretary-Treasurer 
Sandra Azocar, Vice-President 
Bobby-Joe Borodey, Vice-President 
Mike Dempsey, Vice-President 
Bonnie Gostola, Vice-President 
Darren Graham, Vice-President 
Susan Slade, Vice-President 

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