Schism in Toronto CUPE strike: Summer workers start petition to get legislated back to work
To: The Hon. Dalton McGuinty, the Hon. Peter Fonseca
We, the Undersigned, comprise students employed as lifeguards, day camp counselors, wading pool attendants and other seasonal workers in the city of Toronto this summer.
At the time of this petition’s drafting, a strike initiated by CUPE Local 79, a union representing 24,000 ‘inside workers’ including all City of Toronto seasonal staff, has so far lasted 11 days with no end in sight. The strike has so far caused each of us to forfeit hundreds of dollars in lost wages and, if recent bleak comments from top city bureaucrats are to be believed, we may very well lose thousands of dollars more before the strike is settled.
For many citizens of Toronto the strike is an inconvenience, forcing them to haul their own garbage to designated drop-offs and creating an unpleasant smell you have likely noticed at Queen’s Park. For us, however, the strike is having a devastating impact, costing us some of the most important wages we will earn all year.
Every summer, countless young people depend on seasonal employment with the City of Toronto as a means of paying for university tuition, which has soared in recent years and now costs, on average, $5,000. Others work for the City to subsidize post-graduate studies and professional education, or to pay back student loans. In short, we depend on these jobs for our future.
We have been forced from our jobs by a strike over matters that have nothing to do with us. We are expected to sit idly by while our employer and our union use us as pawns in a political game. This is unacceptable.
The Government of Ontario has the power to legislate us back to work. Every day this strike continues, the possibility that many of us will be unable to afford our education for the coming year becomes more likely. In an economic climate this bleak, it is impossible for even half of us to simply find summer employment elsewhere. We believe everybody should be entitled to fair treatment from employers, but the unwillingness to negotiate on the part of both CUPE Local 79 and the City of Toronto is slowly costing us our future.
We, the Undersigned, representing thousands of Ontario students who now face the possibility of being unable able to afford post-secondary education, ask you to consider our future and the future of this province, and to legislate the members of CUPE Local 79 back to work immediately.
No response from CUPE or the employer so far...