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Niagara Falls, Ont. – February 24, 2020 – UFCW Canada activists joined thousands of education workers, labour allies, and community groups from across Ontario at a major rally in Niagara Falls on Saturday to denounce Doug Ford’s anti-worker policies and cuts to valuable public services.
Held outside the Ontario Conservative Party policy convention at the Scotiabank Convention Centre, the rally called on the Conservatives to stop their reckless cuts to education and health care and start investing in Ontario workers and their families.
Activists also urged the Ford government to stop its assault on public sector workers and UFCW Local 12R24 members working at The Beer Store and respect every worker’s right to earn a decent living and engage in free and fair collective bargaining – including workers in the cannabis industry and the gig economy.
At the rally, participants heard from UFCW 832 Secretary-Treasurer and Team Unite CLC candidate Bea Bruske, who called on the Conservatives to reverse their disastrous cuts to public services and start building an Ontario where hard-working families can thrive.
“If we let reckless, mean-spirited politicians like Doug Ford destroy public services in Ontario, then it’s just a matter of time before leaders in other provinces follow suit,” Bruske told the audience. “Our education system, our public health care, and our social programs will only be protected if we stand up to these bullies and put an end to the austerity agenda,” she added.
Attendees also heard from Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario; Laura Kirby-McIntosh of the Ontario Autism Coalition; Wayne Gates, NDP MPP for Niagara Falls; Yolanda McClean, Equity Vice-President at the Toronto District School Board; and hip-hop artist Mohammad Ali.
During the rally, Sister Bruske and Team Unite CLC candidates Lily Chang and Siobhan Vipond met with workers in attendance to hear their concerns, show solidarity, and send a message that we can build a brighter future by working together.
The massive rally followed another major action by Ontario workers on February 21, when tens of thousands of educators descended on Queen’s Park to protest the Ford government’s refusal to negotiate fair contracts with the province’s education workers.
As Canada’s leading union, UFCW Canada believes that political action is essential to achieving a better life for workers and their families. Our union takes politics seriously because the decisions made by political parties and elected officials impact UFCW Canada members in their workplaces, homes, and communities. To learn more about our union’s work in the political realm, visit the UFCW Canada Political Action webpage.