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AJAX, Ont. – Between 6,000-7,000 people came out in Ajax to hear rock band April Wine at a free concert tonight presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Called ‘Rock for Public Services,’ the event was one of a series of rock concerts that CUPE Ontario has planned in cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.

“This is our way of thanking people in Durham Region for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan. The evening also featured local band The Side Project as the opening act.

Speaking at the event, Ryan told the crowd, “You know, just like a good rock band, CUPE is there for you from the moment you’re born till the day you die delivering public services. CUPE workers are there when you have your first-born at the hospital to when your parents go into a nursing home. It is CUPE workers providing public services like hydro and water and snow plowing at your schools, libraries and community centres, as well as the paramedics who provide life-saving services.”

According to CUPE Ontario, the provincial government and local municipalities mistakenly believe that contracting out and privatizing services is going to save them money. In the long term, privatization costs taxpayers more and delivers less.

“When work is contracted out to the lowest bidder, this hurts your community,” said Ryan to a big round of applause. “People cannot afford to live on $10 to $12 an hour. They cannot purchase goods and services from the small business community. They can’t afford to buy a home, put their kids into baseball and hockey leagues or send them to university. This hits communities hard.”

Ryan added that residents need to stand up for quality public services and not let politicians sell them off through privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services. “Let’s make our voices heard loud and clear every time politicians try to sell off public services.”

The Durham Region concert was a huge success both for the community and for CUPE’s fight to preserve public services. “It was a great opportunity to inform a lot of people about the value of quality public services,” said Ryan. Future Rock for Public Services concerts with April Wine are scheduled for Thorold this Friday, August 22, and Kingston on August 29, with further concerts scheduled for the fall.

For more information, contact:

Sid Ryan                     President, CUPE Ontario                   416-209-0066
Valerie Dugale            CUPE Communications                     647-225-3685

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