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Many delegates attending the CUPE Ontario convention prolonged their stay
in Windsor to join more than 30,000 people there for a mass rally Sunday,
May 27. The protest was organized by the CAW and the Ontario Federation of Labour to highlight the loss of manufacturing jobs and, in particular, auto sector jobs. The development of federal and provincial jobs strategies to deal with “unfair free trade” policies was a key focus of the rally.

CUPE Ontario president Sid Ryan and secretary-treasurer Fred Hahn, and
CUPE National president Paul Moist, were among the CUPE participants at the rally.

Lost manufacturing jobs also impact on public sector workers, said Ryan.
“When you lose good-paying jobs from the manufacturing sector, you also lose
the tax base that supports community services such as public transportation,
child care, long-term care, social services, and the list goes on. Private
sector workers, public sector workers, we are all affected.”

CAW research shows that, over the last two years, 17,000 jobs in auto assembly
and parts have been lost because of unfair trade agreements. Unless governments develop an industrial jobs strategy, more jobs will be lost, said
those speaking at the rally.

Speakers also urged the federal government apply a fair trade barometer that
includes enforcement of human rights and fair wage policies for workers for
countries that want to sell their products in Canada.

A similar rally was held in Oshawa Sunday. Ontario CUPE members and the CUPE Ontario leadership are also participating in a larger rally and a march on
Parliament Hill is scheduled for this Wednesday, May 30.