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OTTAWA, Ont. – Over 4000 people came out to the Ottawa Civic Centre to hear rock bands Trooper and The Cooper Brothers at a free concert tonight presented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, CUPE 503 representing Ottawa municipal workers and Ottawa Hospital workers from CUPE 4000. Called ‘Rock for Public Services’, the event was one of a series of rock concerts that the union has held in cities across the province to celebrate and bring home the importance of public services.

“This is our way of thanking people in Ottawa for their ongoing support and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong communities,” said CUPE 503 President Brian Madden. The evening also featured comedy team Bowser and Blue.

Speaking at the event, CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan told the crowd, “You know, just like a good rock band, public services are there for you from the moment you’re born till the day you die. Public service workers are there when you have your first-born at the hospital to when your parents go into a nursing home. They provide 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 communities,” said Ryan. “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.”

Madden urged residents to stand up for quality public services at upcoming public budget consultations that Ottawa city council will hold during November. It is widely expected that the City will cut more services and more jobs in its proposed budget. “Let’s not let politicians sell off through privatization, contracting out or relocation of these jobs and services. “We need to preserve public services for a cleaner, greener, caring and safe nation’s capital. ”

For more information, contact:
Sid Ryan  President, CUPE Ontario  416-209-0066
Brian Madden  President, CUPE 503   613-230-2456
David Robbins  CUPE Communications  613-878-1431   

Thousands attend concert to support CUPE workers – The Ottawa Citizen