By David Doorey, York University
During my coverage of the recent battle between CUPE education workers and the Ontario Conservative government, there was a lot of interest in a video explainer of the whole story. I finally got to this project and here is the result.
The video, called Standing Up to the Notwithstanding Clause: The Story of CUPE Education Workers’ Day of Action, is about 30 minutes long and covers the story from negotiations beginning in the summer of 2022, through the notice of strike given by CUPE on October 30 and the government’s immediate move to introduce #Bill 28, Keeping Students in School Act. Bill 28 banned the right to strike of education workers, imposed a collective agreement against the wishes of those workers, and then invoked the #NotwithstandingClause’ to block any Charter challenge against the Bill.
The video explains how CUPE workers defied Bill 28 and refused to return to work unless the government repealed Bill 28 and returned to the bargaining table. The Canadian labour movement joined the fight. The video considers the government’s ‘unlawful strike’ application and the Ontario Labour Relations Board emergency hearing that had me live-Tweeting over a beautiful sunny fall weekend. Finally, we review how the Ford government caved just a few days after introducing Bill 28 and announced that it would repeal Bill 28 in its entirety, which it did on November 14. Finally, the video explains who the parties returned to negotiations and after a second notice of strike issued by CUPE, the parties reached a tentative agreement.
As I write, that agreement is being voted on by #CUPE members, so the story isn’t over yet.
If you’re a teacher, feel free to use the video and I’m attaching here as well a brief handout with a timeline, glossary, and some possible discussion questions.
Standing Up to the Notwithstanding Clause: The Story of CUPE Education Workers’ Day of Action: Handout
If you have follow up questions from students, feel free to email me at email@example.com. I will do my best to send back answers.
Thanks all, David Doorey