|(Le français suit)
This is a historic day, friends.
The Ford Conservatives have announced they would Repeal Bill 28 and get back to the bargaining table because of our coordinated, impassioned, and powerful pressure.
55,000 education workers – with the unwavering support of the rest of CUPE Ontario, the entire Canadian labour movement, and allies from every community in the province – have shown that attacks on our rights as workers will not be trampled on without a fight.
When the Ford Conservatives proposed then quickly passed Bill 28, we knew it would undermine our most foundational rights and freedoms, force a terrible contract on education workers, violate workers’ constitutional right to bargain fairly, and pre-emptively deem a strike illegal.
But we also knew that what can be forced through by a government can be reversed by the principled efforts of the people. Countless people, organizations, unions, and political parties came together with one voice to say that not only did education workers deserve a significant raise and sustained investments into services, but that Bill 28 was an unprecedented attack on all of us.
An astonishing 75,000 people sent messages to the Ford Conservatives through our www.DontBeABully.ca page in just over a week. We saw 126 political protests on Friday and Monday, with 10,000 people attending the demonstration at Queen’s Park on Friday alone. Allies organized their own actions and phone banks and letter writing campaigns themselves.
The solidarity people showed for education workers and for everyone who relies on the Charter most of all has been an incredible experience for all of us that we won’t soon forget.
Tomorrow, education workers will be back at work and we’ll be back at the table.
We will be ready to remind the Ford Conservatives that, if they are not prepared to bargain a good agreement, members will have, and can exercise, the right to strike if needed. And we will remind the Ford Conservatives that the entire labour movement will once again be ready to show their support in any way that’s needed until a deal is reached.
Thank you all for your solidarity and support. But our work isn’t done until 55,000 education workers in Ontario get a deal that meets the needs of workers, students, and communities. With that always at the forefront of our minds, we will keep the pressure up with the solidarity, commitment, and power we’ve shown each other these last days.