Political action = better bargaining

At CUPE Ontario, we work tirelessly to advocate for our members, their families, and their communities. Our focus extends beyond elections as we strive to influence policy and legislation that directly impacts workers’ rights and public services.

Through our collective strength, CUPE Ontario and its members are pushing the Ontario government to:

  • Preserve public services and fight against privatization, including Private Public Partnerships (P3s), that threaten CUPE members’ jobs.

  • Increase funding for public services so that you can bargain better wages and benefits.

  • Approve province-wide policies that take cutbacks, restructuring, and concessions off the table.

  • Implement changes in labor laws that facilitate workers’ ability to organize effectively.

  • Stay away from any legislation that curtails our members’ rights to bargain freely and fairly.

Our overarching goal is to support CUPE Ontario locals in their fight to achieve significant improvements in bargaining outcomes, leading to better wages, job security, and working conditions. Our work directly affects your day-to-day life and the outcomes at the bargaining table.

Strength and experience – defending your rights

CUPE is a fighting union. Together, we’re pushing back against policies that undermine your rights in the workplace and prevent you from getting a good collective agreement and having secure job. We strive to be a union of activists, rallying people across the province to work for progressive public policy. Together, we build our communities, preserve public services and good jobs, and improve life for our families.

CUPE Ontario works to make presentations to government, prepare research papers and briefings for government committees, meet with government Ministers and Opposition critics, and undertake substantial lobby initiatives at both provincial and municipal levels.

Working in coalition with other labour and community allies, CUPE Ontario:

  • Took the provincial government to court to have Bill 124 struck down, restoring workers’ rights to free collective bargaining for decent wage increases.

  • Fought and won at the Ontario Court of Appeal, which dismissed the Ford government’s attempt to keep Bill 124 on the books.

  • Helped mount a grassroot campaign in Peel that led the PC government reversing its plans to dissolve the Region of Peel – a move that protected our members’ jobs.

  • Successfully fought off cuts to OMERS pension plan.

  • Supported 55,000 CUPE/OSBCU education workers as they defied Bill 28, one of the most draconian, anti-worker laws in our history, and forced the Ford government to repeal it.

And here are just a few of the many campaigns we’re currently working on:

  • Reclaim Our Cities – Repeal Bill 23, fighting the Ford government’s attacks on municipalities

  • Workers Are Worth It, giving locals and members the tools to demand better wages

  • Action for pension activists to build on Cancel the Cuts and ensure that OMERS plan members are equipped to fight back against changes to their pension plan.

CUPE Ontario campaigns are powered by its 5 sectoral committees and 15 issues-based committees, with support from staff and leadership.

Working with you to build power in your local

Sometimes, your local can feel isolated from the larger labour community. This impacts your ability to represent your members. With CUPE Ontario, you aren’t on your own:

  • Through our sectoral committees and conferences, we connect you with locals across the province that do the same work as you. These gatherings provide you an opportunity to learn best practices and share knowledge with other activists from across the province – crucial in areas where it’s tough to build union power or in sectors that are severely underfunded by government.

  • Our committees assist locals with bargaining coordination and central bargaining models that have proven success in improving wages and working conditions

  • We provide leadership on issues relevant to your members and their communities.

Affiliation: be part of a strong, democratic collective

CUPE Ontario is unique among unions because its structure is highly democratic and member-based. Our Action Plans and budget are decided by members at our annual convention.

Our democratic structure ensures that we are focused and working hard to advance the lives of your members – from facilitating coordination of collective bargaining to pushing for social justice, and rallying members and communities to push government to adopt policies that benefit working people. By affiliating with us, you have direct influence in shaping CUPE Ontario’s priorities, policies, and annual work.

When we mobilize thousands of members across the province on an issue, that’s the kind of political clout that moves government to take action that helps working people. However, the power to make change can only come with a strong collective. Imagine being in a boat with hundreds of other locals and you’re not picking up your oars to help move us all forward. Quite simply, when locals affiliate to CUPE Ontario, our solidarity movement grows and we achieve more together.

When locals affiliate to CUPE Ontario, we all gain more strength, power, and political clout.

Some people think that because they pay dues to CUPE National, they are automatically affiliated with CUPE Ontario. Not so.

Our campaigns and legislative and policy work is funded by our affiliates. Your affiliation helps us protect your rights and your jobs. In turn, our many committees offer members a province-wide stage to win on the issues that matter to them – from human rights to health and safety, from pensions to powerful sectoral committees that represent your unique interests.

We help build worker power and encourage activism among equity-deserving groups in your membership and provide leadership opportunities for those members to develop their skills:

  • We offer strike support by championing your struggle, raising funds from other locals and matching them, and connecting the ‘big picture’ issues with your strike to build supportive media.

  • We empower small locals by providing additional support through all the structures and resources of CUPE Ontario and by connecting them to a larger trade union movement that has political clout.

CUPE Ontario’s leadership is constantly meeting with members and working alongside local leadership to get things done – for your local, your workers, their families, and communities.

Providing you with tools and support

The combined knowledge, experience, and committed advocacy of these members help provide the best programs and campaigns on a variety of issues. At your local, you don’t have to be an expert on all issues. We’ll connect you with the right resources – and people – that can help you serve your members’ interests better.

Building coalitions for social justice

Our issue-based committees, five sectoral committees, locals and members all come together to work on major events and programs. With our collective strength, we are proud to partner with labour and community groups to build strong communities and the kind of province that we all want.

We move issues forward by creating, funding, and joining coalitions of like-minded groups to push for change on those issues that are important to our members and their families.

CUPE Ontario is the labour voice in elections – provincial, municipal, and school board – getting labour-friendly candidates elected in your community and putting your members’ issues on election agendas.

We fight poverty and are pressing the Ontario government to introduce living wage strategies in its own funding agreements, build mentoring and training opportunities, and raise minimum wage rates, general welfare, and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) levels.

We work with all public and private sector unions to further trade union principles and promote core values, like social justice and the right-to-strike, that help working people in all facets of life.

We have consistently campaigned with our partners on key worker issues like pay equity, 2SLGBTQI+ rights, pension rights, child care and raising the minimum wage, among others.

Your members. Our committees. Big results.

Our five sectoral committees work on workplace-based bargaining issues. However, CUPE Ontario is also where labour activists from across the province join issue-based committees to develop campaigns, education, and lobby tools.

When your members connect to these committees, they become agents of change. They campaign for progressive public policy, fight for social justice and equality, and develop and advocate programs that vastly improve our workplaces – from health and safety to human rights and fighting discrimination.

CUPE Ontario Committees

Climate Justice
District Council Presidents
Indigenous Council
Health and Safety
Human Rights
Injured Workers
International Solidarity
Paramedic Workers (CACO)
Pink Triangle
Racial Justice
Retirees’ Network
Workers with Disabilities
Young Workers

Sectoral Committees

Health Care Workers Coordinating Committee (HCWCC)
Ontario Municipal Workers (OMW)
Social Service Workers Coordinating Committee (SSWCC)
Ontario University Workers Coordinating Committee (OUWCC)
School Boards (OSBCU)

Sectoral Councils

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)
Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU)

Community Coalition Partners

Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care (OCCBCC)
Ontario Health Coalition (OHC)

Effective, progressive, activist leadership

CUPE Ontario’s leadership is active, accessible, and always on the move, working with local leaders to protect your members’ rights, and advocate for the issues that matter most to locals. There isn’t another union in Ontario that has the public and political profile of CUPE Ontario. Its committees and leadership know how to make headlines and garner public attention to get things done on behalf of members.

At CUPE Ontario, we push for progressive change. We’re not afraid to take unpopular positions, because our priority is pushing for the right things to do for working people. Our role is to lead the way and stand up as principled activists for human rights and workers’ rights. We work with locals to collectively push for progressive change by:

  • Providing training, tools, and supports to local leadership to mobilize members, work with community allies and residents and mount campaigns that can make a difference for workers.

  • Assisting locals with research and messaging for making submissions to government.

  • Providing local leadership with opportunities and materials to enable them to lead and participate in local events and engage with media on issues important to their members and communities.

As well, our comprehensive communications keep our members’ issues front and centre in both local and province-wide media. In fact, our media profile is our most important tool to keep the provincial government’s accountable on all-important policy issues.

Diverse, wide-reaching leadership

Working with CUPE Ontario’s President and Secretary-Treasurer is a whole team of union activists providing effective leadership for the union’s activities.

Sectoral leadership

Leaders in CUPE Ontario’s sectors – health care, municipal, school board, social services, and universities – work with our committees to identify sectoral issues, plan responses and campaigns, host an annual sectoral conference, and lead coordinated bargaining efforts.

Leadership for equity-deserving groups

One of CUPE Ontario’s main mandates is to champion diversity, equity and inclusion, and provide not only space for members’ voices to be heard on equity and equality issues, but also to see real action as a result. Our equity committee chairs continue to push forward an agenda of education, awareness, and collective bargaining language for locals to bring about real, measurable change on equality issues.

Executive Board leadership

Leaders, elected from all our sectors, sit on the CUPE Ontario Executive. They provide leadership to their assigned CUPE Ontario committees and strengthen our union’s advocacy and presence in communities right across Ontario.

Democracy at work

CUPE Ontario is the only union in the province that holds an annual convention for membership to debate and decide directions and action plans; set the annual budget and union dues rate for CUPE Ontario; and facilitate the network and connections that make our union the strong provincial force it is today.

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