THUNDER BAY, ON, 31 August 2020 —/COMMUNITYWIRE/— Thunder Bay area front line workers stripped of rights are the latest to join growing political protests demanding that the provincial government restore their basic legal workplace rights.
On Tuesday, September 1 at 11 a.m., affected health care, social service and other front line workers represented by Unifor, the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions/CUPE (OCHU) and CUPE Ontario will hold a protest rally at the office of Thunder Bay MPP Michael Gravelle.
“When the pandemic hit Ontario, it was our members working in health care that rose to the occasion and now only to be abandoned by Premier Ford,” says Andy Savela, Unifor Health Care Director. “The province needs to stop using the pandemic as an excuse to use emergency orders to deal with staffing issues that existed long before the COVID-19 crisis.”
The protest in Thunder Bay is one of 25 political rallies by front line workers across the province this summer calling on the government to revoke the COVID-19 emergency orders that can indefinitely override their most important workplace rights.
“Front line staff have sacrificed a great deal to support the people of Ontario during COVID-19,” says Michael Hurley, President of the OCHU/CUPE. “The government has declared the emergency over, yet it has stripped the most important workplace protections from this largely female workforce. For workers revered as heroines, losing the right to keep their shift schedule, to work in the same community, not to have their job eliminated without notice or their parental leaves cancelled is a terrible blow. Many of them have responsibility for child and elder care and have to be able to plan their lives. The government is disloyal to front line workers and we trust that the people of Ontario will support us in this struggle to restore our rights.”
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn calls the removal of workplace rights by the provincial government, “an extraordinary, undemocratic, and unprecedented abuse of power. Front line heroes—who put themselves and their families at risk to help keep us safe and who continued to deliver critical services in a pandemic—deserve better than unnecessary attacks on their legal rights. “And we'll keep organizing and applying pressure in communities until emergency orders that impact our members' rights are fully revoked.”
In addition to the Thunder Bay rally Tuesday, the political protests will continue throughout September and October 2020 at PC MPP offices in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Ottawa, Stratford, Guelph, Halton, Mississauga, Cobourg, Peterborough, Oshawa, Lindsay, York, Kingston, Windsor, Hamilton, Niagara, and Toronto. For rally times, locations, and updates, visit www.ochu.on.ca. Protests have already been held in Pembroke, Brockville, Cornwall, Kenora and Fort Frances.
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