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Laura Carney – 570 News
Nov 15, 2012 15:01:02 PM

A regional meeting in Guelph tonight will see CUPE members work to come up with a workplace strategy to Bill 115.

CUPE members from Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph are expected to attend.

About 20 similar meetings will be taking place across the province, then CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn says they want to approach the public, “We want to talk to the public and have a more public campaign on why these rights are important for all of us, on why this isn’t helping the economy of Ontario. Taking away peoples rights doesn’t help any of us. So that is the public message that over the coming months we’ll be coming out with across the province.”

Hahn says Bill 115 affects more than just unions, “We fundamentally believe that this is about all of us in Ontario. The right to collectively bargain is a right that is important for sure for people in unions. But unions have been able to bargain things that have been of benefit to all workers, things like pregnancy and parental leave, vacation time and benefit plans.”

There are more than 9,000 CUPE members in Waterloo Region and Guelph and Hahn says their union members are a big part of the province, “They’re members of those communities, they care about the province, they care about the local economy, they care about making things better. They are not the enemy. Targeting those workers, taking away their rights is not the solution we need in Ontario.”

Hahn stresses workers understand we’re facing tough economic times and their issue is not with a wage freeze. He says the unions problem with Bill 115 is that it attacks their democratic rights to collective bargaining and that these rights must be protected.

Public meetings are expected to start sometime in the new year.   (more)