Union's rock concerts build love-in for public services; warn against underfunding, privatization

    TORONTO, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Like the summer of love in '67, the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario is building a love-in for
public services by hosting a series of free rock concerts called Rock for
Public Services featuring bands like April Wine and Trooper.
    The concerts, in communities including Ajax (tonight), Thorold, Kingston,
Lindsay, Kenora and Sturgeon Falls, are a highly unusual but effective way to
draw attention to how public services are being undermined by provincial
underfunding and the privatizing of services.
    "We're asking residents to stand up for quality public services and not
let politicians underfund or sell them off through privatization, contracting
out or relocation of these jobs and services," said CUPE Ontario President Sid
Ryan. "For example, tonight's concert in Durham Region will draw attention to
unacceptable cuts to health care services at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital."
    Last month, over 4,000 people packed Goulard Park in Sturgeon Falls and
another 1,000 turned out in Kenora to hear Trooper. "With Trooper and April
Wine, we're appealing to the bulk of taxpayers while local guest bands booked
to open the shows are drawing in young people," added Ryan.
    Ryan says that people don't always know what role public services play in
their lives. "We're there from cradle to grave for people. Public services
deliver when you send your children to public day care, the library, to school
or university; when you turn on your tap, switch on the lights, drive to work
behind the snow plow. Or when you visit loved ones in the hospital, your local
nursing home or supportive housing."
    According to CUPE Ontario, the provincial government and local
municipalities mistakenly believe that contracting out and privatizing
services is going to save them money. In the long term, privatization costs
taxpayers more and delivers less. "When work is contracted out to the lowest
bidder, this hurts communities," said Ryan. "People cannot afford to live on
$12 an hour. They can't purchase goods and services from the small business
community. They can't afford to buy a home and can't afford to send their kids
to university. This hits communities hard."
    "These concerts are our way of thanking people for their ongoing support
and dedication to preserving public services that are the bedrock of strong
communities," said CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan. The next 'Rock for Public
Services' concerts with April Wine are scheduled for Thorold (August 22) and
Kingston (August 28) with more scheduled for the fall.

For further information:

For further information: Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President, (416)
209-0066; Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications, (647) 225-3685

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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