The Ontario Public Service Employees Union filed a legal challenge to Bill 115 on Thursday, October 11, 2012. OSSTF, ETFO and CUPE have filed similar challenges in an effort to protect the Charter right to bargain.
“Collective bargaining is essential to democracy,” said OPSEU President, Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “By legislating education worker contracts across Ontario, McGuinty Liberals have denied workers their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is in turn a threat to all collective bargaining in both the public and private sectors.“
“Furthermore, Bill 115 allows the government the power to interfere with the right to strike. This is unacceptable,” said Thomas.
“The Ontario Liberals’ legislation is unconstitutional,” said Thomas. “Collective bargaining rights are essential to democracy: They are protected under the Charter for a reason.”
“We were correct in warning that Bill 115 was just the beginning,” said Thomas. “The proposed Protecting Public Services Act is more of the same. It would allow the government to determine the outcome of contract negotiations before they’ve even begun.”
“We’ve filed a legal challenge to Bill 115, and will do what it takes to ensure it is repealed. The Ontario Liberals cannot be allowed to get away with this flagrant disregard for democracy. We are taking a stand for all education workers, for all working people in this province, for our students, and all those who depend on public services,” said Thomas. “This is a fight worth fighting.”
Legislation affecting Ontario’s education workers is compounded by cuts to the Ontario Public Service, attempts to take control of pension plans, and chronic underfunding of social services including healthcare, education and social services.
OPSEU represents more than 130,000 workers, including 2000 members at Ontario’s Boards of Education.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President: 613-329-1931
Emily Visser, OPSEU Communications: 416-557-7936