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Ontario CUPE strike: Day 1 of strike draws in solidarity for education workers, backlash against Ford and $100,000 donation

The Latest

  • Thousands of Ontario education workers hit picket lines Friday, including a large group at Queen's Park

  • Unifor has donated $100,000 to support the CUPE and help pay for fines imposed due to the provincial government passing Bill 28

  • Groups from across Canada have come out in support of the Ontario strike, "This action by the Conservative government of Ontario is an abuse of power, a violation of working people’s rights, and an affront to our democracy,” a statement from CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta reads. "There is no better example of why Conservative governments are bad for working people, and our country as a whole, than this action by the Ford government."

  • CUPE has made a statement that all education workers will be, "out on Political Protest until further notice"

  • Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce received backlash for his appearance on CP24 urging education workers to stop the undue hardship against children

  • TV hosts across Ontario, including The Social's Eliane Lui, and Breakfast Television's Sid Siexeiro blasted the Ford government's "incompetence"

                      

The provincial government passed legislation Thursday making it illegal for the workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to strike.

With the passing on Bill 28, fines for violating the prohibition on strikes is up to $4,000 per employee per day, and up to $500,000 for the union. Unifor and Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council (ORC) announced Friday that that it is donating $100,000 to help CUPE cover any fines.

The situation we find ourselves in this morning is far from normal. 55,000 workers are bravely walking picket lines to not only fight for better wages and better schools, but now to defend the rights of all workers to strike. Today we’re picketing with CUPE, but Unifor will continue to escalate our actions until Bill 28 is repealed and a fair collective agreement is negotiated for CUPE.Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director

RELATED: FAQs about the dispute between the province and CUPE

"It is my hope and expectation that they will show up tomorrow for our kids," education minister Stephen Lecce said on Thursday.

“Regardless of the attempts by your OSBCU Bargaining Committee to achieve a negotiated deal that respects the needs of workers, students and families, the Ford Conservative government would not make the necessary investments to achieve this deal,” the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said in a statement on Thursday.

According to a memo obtained by The Canadian Press, the Ministry of Education said school boards should "implement contingency plans, where every effort is made to keep schools open for as many children as possible."

RELATED: Which Ontario's major school boards are open, closed, remote learning?

"Every four years we negotiate our contract and we always get about two percent for a four year span - so a .5 increase every years - and that’s how it’s been going since the [Mike] Harris days," Toronto office administrative secretary, Sarah Rier, told Yahoo News Canada.

"Doug Ford has been the worst premier I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s destroying our province. The schools are crumbling. I have an $11,000 budget to last me until June... From the Toronto Public School Board administration down, support staff are almost treated like second class citizens. It’s disappointing because it takes the teaching staff and the support staff to run the school."

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