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March 5, 2012

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CUPE members to rally in support of free collective bargaining tomorrow

BURNABY—CUPE fully supports the British Columbia Teachers Federation's struggle against Bill 22 and their fight for free collective bargaining. To that end, CUPE will be participating in the mass rally on Tuesday, March 6 at the Legislature in Victoria, CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill said today.

“While we fully support our sisters and brothers in the BCTF, this issue goes far beyond any single set of negotiations or disputes,” said O’Neill. “This attack on free collective bargaining rights by the BC Liberal government has serious implications for the entire labour movement and all working people in BC. That’s why it’s essential that CUPE members across the province work with other unions and allied organizations to tell the BC Liberals that collective bargaining is a right that governments cannot take away with the stroke of a pen or through Draconian legislation.”

O’Neill spoke with CUPE Local presidents and activists from across the province in a series of conference calls on Sunday and encouraged them to organize shows of opposition to Bill 22, which continues the BC Liberals’ attack on collective bargaining that started in 2001.

“I know that many CUPE members throughout the province would love to be part of the rally in Victoria to show their support for free collective bargaining, so CUPE Locals across the province will be working together to organize rallies at noon on Tuesday in as many communities as possible,” said O’Neill.

On Thursday March 1, 2012, the BCTF served notice that it will commence a three day strike starting Monday March 5, 2012. The BCTF has reached an agreement with the employer through the Labour Relations Board that will see no picket lines go up during the strike. The agreement, which the BCTF has asked CUPE to honour, means CUPE members in the K-12 sector are expected to show up to work as scheduled, but should not perform any work that would have been done by teachers or administrators prior to the dispute.

More information on the BCTF dispute and CUPE’s response is available on CUPE BC’s website, here.

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