UPDATE 1:00 PM November 4th: MPP Steve Clark responded to our request for comment with the following statement:
“Our schools should be open and our kids should be in class. Our government stands with the parents and students who insist that schools are open because they understand the real consequences of closures to children’s physical, mental and social emotional health. This illegal strike is denying Ontario students their right to learn. Nothing matters more right now than getting all students back into the classroom and our government is working hard to do just that.”
Erin Hurford says she’s proud to see the amount of people supporting the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ (CUPE) strike.
Hurford, the president of the CUPE chapter that works with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), was one of dozens of people that took to the streets of Brockville outside MPP Steve Clark’s office Friday as part of the protest.
“It’s time that we stand united,” Hurford says. “We’ve got other unions here with us as well, other than just CUPE, and we are very proud that people are standing up and saying that what happened last night at the legislature is not okay.”
What Hurford is referring to is the passing of Bill 28, which forced the union representing 55,000 education support workers into a four-year contract, prohibited strike action and halted wage negotiations.
The bill was introduced on Monday and passed Thursday afternoon.
“I have to be honest, it was a very sad day for me, to think that our provincial government can strip rights away from people in Ontario, and that the [Progressive Conservative] government felt it was okay to trample on peoples’ rights” Hurford says.
“This is just the start, in my opinion,” she continues. “I’m afraid of what Ontario is going to come to, if they can take away rights of workers, of the lowest paid education workers, and just sign a bill that says there’s nothing we can ever do to fight this.”
According to a statement from CUPE on Thursday, the strike will continue until an agreement is reached.
We’ve reached out to MPP Steve Clark for comment.