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The Ontario Municipal Workers Coordinating Committee (OMECC) met September 10-11 in Toronto to map out its next steps in its ongoing fight for strong public services and healthy and strong communities. 

The theme of its upcoming conference will be “Fighting For Our Jobs!”  Municipal workers will gather in Toronto in March of 2008 to fight for our jobs by campaigning to protect public services, by protecting jobs at the bargaining table and by building our union. 

This fall, a whopping number of CUPE members, staff and leaders are running for political office in the Ontario provincial election.  OMECC has the resources to support 8 of the 10 who are running.  The others will be receiving support from other sectors so nobody will be left behind!  OMECC is working with CUPE Ontario and CUPE National in our effort to get progressive voices elected to work for working families on October 10.

The candidates that OMECC is supporting are:  Sid Ryan (running in Oshawa), Antoni Shelton (York West), Henry Bosch (St Catharines), Ric Dagenais, former OMECC member (Ottawa-Vanier), John Grima, a member of OMECC (Essex), Henri Giroux (Nipissing), Shaila Kirbria (Mississauga-Erindale) and Pauline Kulhmann (Leeds Grenville).  Also running are Nigel Moses (Whitby-Oshawa and Catherine Robinson (Durham).  Good luck to all!

CUPE’s Ontario municipal workers are also part of the campaigns of the Ontario Electricity Coalition and the Fair Deal for our City Campaign in this fall’s election campaign.  The OEC is campaigning to keep hydro public by warning the public that both the Liberals and the Conservatives support the privatization of our hydro system. 

The Fair Deal for our City campaign, an initiative of CUPE 79, CUPE 416 and the Toronto District Labour Council, hopes to have an impact on candidates in key ridings this election, convincing them to commit to supporting adequate funding for cities.  Currently, Toronto keeps only six cents of every tax dollar collected to cover the cost of all the services it delivers – that’s not enough for Toronto, Ottawa, Oshawa, Windsor or any city in the province. 

OMECC members also sent a letter of support to its municipal sisters and brothers in CUPE 15, CUPE 391 and CUPE 1004 on strike in Vancouver.  The civic strike there is going into its ninth week despite CUPE’s best efforts to reach contract improvements that were negotiated in other municipalities throughout the region, including pay equity for library workers and better contract language for auxiliaries.  CUPE is up against a city that seems determined to break the union by refusing to bargain union issues and letting the strike drag on.