Niagara Falls—Unifor members joined thousands of workers from across Ontario in Niagara Falls on Saturday to protest the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party policy conference.
Unifor members, including workers from Oshawa, Toronto, Oakville, Kitchener, Hamilton, and London, travelled to the demonstration Saturday morning. The protest took place outside the Scotiabank Centre as PC Party delegates met to put together Premier Doug Ford’s re-election platform.
“Doug Ford’s cuts are the deepest we’ve seen in a generation and have done untold damage to the lives and livelihoods of so many working people in this province,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “If Doug Ford’s conservatives think they have even the slightest chance of re-election after gutting health care funding, our education system, and the rights of workers, they’d better think again.”
In recent public opinion polls, 60 per cent of Ontarians said the province would be better off without Doug Ford as premier, while 56 per cent of respondents in more than 30 Tory-held ridings said they were less likely to support their conservative candidate in the next provincial election.
“Our members came out to show the public and this government that the labour movement is ready to make Doug Ford a one-term premier,” said Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director. “To see so many people from across the province, including teachers, students, and workers from all sectors of the economy, come together in ways we haven’t seen in decades is truly inspiring.”
Prior to joining Saturday’s rally, Unifor members participated in a province-wide solidarity action with teachers’ unions. On Friday, more than 200,000 teachers held a one-day strike to shut down more than 5,000 schools as a result of education minister Stephen Lecce’s refusal to bargain a fair deal with teachers.
“This government has completely failed Ontarians and this week’s rallies show how strong the movement to reject Doug Ford’s conservative agenda truly is,” Rizvi added.
In the fall of 2019, Unifor launched its Stop Ford Cuts mobilization campaign that provides information on the government’s funding cuts to social services, including cuts to healthcare, autism programs, education, and its introduction of anti-worker legislation through Bill 124. Bill 124 in particular directly interferes and infringes on the rights of workers to free collective bargaining for at least 16,000 Unifor members in Ontario.
Virtually all of the province’s unions affected by the legislation have prepared legal challenges to the legislation’s constitution validity. To see the full details of the campaign visit stopfordcuts.ca.