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Education Workers Have the Power to Win in Toronto

A rank-and-file educational worker who participated in the historic strike earlier this month in Toronto discusses how fellow workers can fight back against the Doug Ford administration and win their demands.

Martin Reilly

November 20, 2022
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This leaflet was written by Martin Reilly, a Toronto Education Workers/Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 4400 militant who has been active in rank-and-file organizing for the past two years.  Left Voice supporters met Reilly during the historic strike action that defied an effort by the government  to make the CUPE 4400 strike for a living wage increase illegal.  The defiant strike received wide support within the labor movement, and throughout Canadian society.  With a strike deadline approaching, it is going to be extremely important for education workers to apply the lessons from the two day illegal strike, which proved the power of the working class when it uses its methods (like strike actions) of struggle.  

Labour Has the Power to Win A Cost of Living Contract That Keeps Up With Inflation!

Use the Power of the Strike to Win A Just Contract! 

Build Working Class Solidarity With All Unions Fighting Against Concessions! 

With two days on strike, Labour forced the Ford government to step back on their strikebreaking “Keeping Students in Class Act.” Our solidarity achieved something which hasn’t been seen in Canada in some 20 odd years, but just repealing this law isn’t enough. We need to be able to care for ourselves and our families. We’ve lost 11% of our wages in the last decade to inflation, and inflation is only going up. Our siblings make an average of $39, 000 a year, poverty wages even according to Ford. Our “raises” need to go up alot to match inflation , and go even further to be true to the word. 

The OSBCU put together a list of demands which would achieve that, a 3.25 per hour raise every year for a three year contract, as well as improvements in many other areas of our work and lives. This is what we need. We’ve shown we have the power to make history, let’s use it to get the contact we deserve. Not a penny or a letter out of place from our original demands, no concessions!

To win that requires that we take ownership and control of this fight.  Our union leaders keep telling us that it’s the rank and file you make our fight powerful.  Since that is the case, any decision to call off a strike should be one that rank and file members make collectively and democratically.  This time we stay out until we win all of our demands.

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