The Conservatives “faced a major backlash from the province’s trade unions in response to their plan to eliminate 100,000 public sector jobs.” – CBC
“If the public sector unions mount just as aggressive an anti-Harper campaign as they did an anti-Hudak campaign, they need to be ready to respond” – iPolitics
It seems that the Ontario election on June 12th proved that Canadian unions are stronger than we ever thought.
What we saw on June 12 was an amazing social movement that came together to elect a government who promised to protect the interests of working people as well as the important government services we rely on, such as healthcare and education.
From the outset, the choice was clear. If we couldn’t elect the Liberals or the NDP, we would end up with Tim Hudak’s Conservatives, who vowed to weaken the power unions have to improve people’s working lives.
This social movement, consisting of dozens of labour unions across Ontario, launched a major advertising campaign outlining Hudak’s anti-union agenda. Along with SEIU Healthcare, unions representing government employees, teachers, construction workers, trades people, private sector employees, and many others were part of the coalition. Even the union representing Ontario’s police officers, who usually stays neutral in elections, took a stand against Hudak. The labour movement wanted Ontarians to know about the threat Hudak’s conservatives posed to all Ontarians.
But it wasn’t just commercials on TV, radio and social media that swayed people’s hearts and minds. Unions such as SEIU Healthcare launched a large ground campaign that sent members to a dozen key target ridings throughout the province. It was their job to inform fellow SEIU members about the dangers of a Tim Hudak government.
They highlighted Tim Hudak’s plans to freeze healthcare workers’ wages, dismantle defined pension benefit plans, fire 100,000 public sector employees, and outsource healthcare jobs to the lowest bidder. The ground campaign was an overwhelming success. The vast majority of SEIU members who were contacted said they were voting for either the Liberal or NDP candidate in their riding. They began to understand that voting for Hudak was a vote against healthcare and against working people.
Many have recognized that the labour movement played an important role in defeating Tim Hudak’s conservatives, showing that the labour movement is very much alive and well in our Province!