MADISON, WI, Feb. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Representatives of three Canadian
unions are in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend, joining with thousands
of workers and supporters to fight Governor Scott Walker's
union-busting budget bill.
Teachers, firefighters, steel workers, state employees, university
students, religious leaders and veterans have streamed into the state
capital by the thousands over the last 10 days. More than 1,000
students have been occupying the Wisconsin state capital building,
sleeping in Senators' offices and maintaining a 24-hour a day
occupation. Today, more than 100,000 people will fill the streets of
Madison to demand that Walker remove the sections of the budget bill
that would prevent public sector workers from bargaining collectively.
"Walker's bill represents a direct attack on workers' rights," says John
Gordon, President of the 180,000-member Public Service Alliance of
Canada. "Public sector workers shouldn't have to pay for the financial
crisis they didn't create. We are here to say that Canadian workers are
watching - we won't stand for this type of treatment at home or
anywhere else in the world."
"This is really one of the most inspirational moments I have witnessed
since I've been involved in the labour movement," says Gaétan Ménard,
Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union of Canada."To see 100,000 people gather to defend public
employees' rights to collectively bargain against a government that so
intent on union busting is a unique experience we will certainly
cherish and treasure upon our return to Canada."
Wisconsin union leaders have made it clear that they are willing to make
compromises and agree to concessions in the face of a difficult
budgetary climate. Their only demands are that cuts to Medicaid and the
restrictions on collective bargaining be removed from the budget bill.
Paul Moist, National President of the 605,000-member Canadian Union of
Public Employees, denounced Gov. Walker's attack on Wisconsin's public
"Using the current recession and a Republican majority in the State
Assembly and Senate to strip away fundamental rights from dedicated
public employees is plain wrong and totally unjustified," Moist wrote
in a recent letter to Walker.
CUPE, PSAC and CEP collectively represent over 900,000 employees across
Canada, of which 750,000 are employed in the public sector.
SOURCE Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada
For further information:
For more information or to request an interview:
Ariel Troster, PSAC Communications