Local CUPE workers back to work, ‘still a bit concerned’

Trevor Russell serves as president for CUPE Local 1165. The local represents secretarial, custodial, trades people, and Information Technology workers with the Near North District School Board. There are 315 members who have put down their protest signs to return to work.

“We dissolved the picket lines,” Russell said, “we’re all back to work today.” Once Premiere Doug Ford rescinded Bill 28, CUPE members agreed to return to the bargaining table.

See: CUPE ends protests; Ford promises to repeal Bill 28

Bill 28, the Keeping Students in Class Act, was “an egregious attack on human rights and workers’ rights and the Charter Rights in Canada,” Russell noted. “With that gone, we’re all back to work.”

However, although bargaining continues, Russell noted 1165 members are “still a bit concerned, our fight’s not over.”

“Our fight for a fair collectively bargained agreement is still ongoing.”

See: Ford says Ontario presenting CUPE with 'improved' offer

A large rally was planned in Toronto this Saturday for CUPE members and supporters to protest the province, however, with Bill 28 off the table, that protest has been put on ice.

Russell mentioned that he and his members would be willing to demonstrate at a future protest if needed, noting that “with every union offering and showing support for us, we’ll be there for them.”

When the province implemented Bill 28, it “ignited a labour movement that hasn’t been seen in Canada for a long time,” Russell said.

“We’ll allow ourselves the process of free and fair collective bargaining and see where we come out.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca