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Support Ontario teachers — Defy illegitimate laws [UPDATED]

[UPDATE] After a ruling by the Ontario Labour Relations Board at 4:00am on Friday morning, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) cancelled plans for a one-day walkout. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF) subsequently followed suit, cancelling plans for a walkout next week. We do not know what internal debates took place within the ETFO executive, but the reality of the situation is that some sector of the working class is going to need to make a stand — even if it means breaking the law — or these attacks are only going to continue to get worse. Teachers are on the front line in defending the democratic rights of workers to free collective bargaining and it is vitally important that everything be done to support their actions and spread the struggle.

Toronto transit workers face threat of privatization

The latest front in the battle against capitalist austerity was drawn recently with various proposals to privatize key sections of the Toronto Transit Commission’s present, and future, maintenance operations. This is hardly the first salvo aimed at Toronto transit workers, but one that underscores the bosses’ determination of passing the austerity bill onto the shoulders of workers.

Video from Ontario teachers' "Funeral for Collective Bargaining Rights"

Today, we publish a video of Toronto teacher Janet Csontos, responding to Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty's attack on Ontario teachers' rights. Janet is a teacher at the Student School in Toronto, a member of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), and a supporter of Fightback magazine. Janet is speaking against McGuinty's "Putting Students First" Act, at the Funeral for Collective Bargaining at Queen's Park, organized by rank-and-file Ontario teachers.

The New Union Project: Fightback speaks with CEP president Dave Coles

On 20 August 2012, Dave Coles, sat down for a short interview with Fightback’s Mike Palecek to talk about the New Union Project, a proposed merger between the Communication, Energy, and Paperworkers union (CEP) and the Canadian Autoworkers (CAW).  Dave Coles is the president of the CEP;  Mike Palecek is a national union rep with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The CAW and CEP's "New Union Project": Fightback's opinion

Organized labour stands at an impasse. Union density in Canada has dropped from just under 40%, to the current level of about 30%. It is even worse in the private sector, where the manufacturing crisis has reduced the private-sector unionization rate to 17%. The capitalist crisis has unleashed a wave of attacks by the bosses. Lockouts, privatization, back-to-work legislation, legislated contracts, contracting out, and off-shoring have been used to beat down unionized workers. In response, the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers (CEP) have proposed uniting their forces, in a New Union with over 300,000 workers. Fightback considers this fusion to be a positive step forward. However, size alone will not solve the problems of the union movement; to really build the movement, militant and democratic methods, linked to the formation of a socialist society, are necessary.

Conservative government imposes back-to-work order on striking CP Rail workers

The fundamental rights of Canadian workers have yet again been unfairly targeted by the federal Conservative government. Since the Tories won a majority last May, they have now brought in back-to-work legislation five times. On Monday, the Tories introduced legislation to stop 4,800 conductors and locomotive engineers from the Canadian Pacific Railway (represented by the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference) from striking. This is a clear attack on the constitutional right of workers to exercise their power of collective bargaining.

Fighting the attack on university labour: CUPE 3902 and the struggle for education workers' rights

Public education has not been immune to the cuts and austerity measures recently doled out by the likes of the Dalton McGuinty Liberal government or Rob Ford-led municipal government in Toronto. The bosses in the education sector have readily adopted this culture and developed their own hostility towards any kind of labour action on the campuses. The recent labour battle with CUPE 3902 at the University of Toronto are a clear reflection of these attacks.

Letters of solidarity with the Quebec student movement

qc student protest populaireWe are re-publishing two letters of solidarity with the Quebec student movement, and we encourage our readers and supporters to distribute them to their own unions, locals, student groups, workplaces, etc.  Fightback fully agrees that we need to spread the example from Quebec to the rest of Canada, as well as standing in solidarity with Quebec students in their struggle against the Jean Charest government.

Toronto library workers reach settlement after strike

Ending an 11-day strike, Toronto public library employees returned to work on Friday, March 30 after members of CUPE Local 4948 voted to accept a new contract. Workers had walked off the job after contract negotiations with the Library Board broke down. City representatives desired greater “flexibility” in denying job security to permanent library employees, by making it easier to lay off workers in the event of outsourcing or technological changes. By going on strike, Toronto library workers illustrated that the only way to fight austerity is by challenging the bosses and their government lackeys head-on.

Conservative government once again sides with Air Canada management with back-to-work legislation

For the fourth time in less than a year, the Conservative government used back-to-work legislation to take away the right to strike by Canadian workers.  The Tories prohibited  8,600 mechanics, baggage handlers, and ground crew (represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers — IAMAW), as well as 3,000 pilots at Air Canada, from striking — a clear violation of the constitutional right of workers to exercise their power of collective bargaining. The struggle at Air Canada is more than just about wages — it is about workers’ very right to organize and to strike.  These are fundamental democratic rights that are at stake, and this affects all workers, not just those at Air Canada.

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