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Four Canadian unions sign pact to protect collective bargaining

EI affiliate the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) has joined three other labour organisations and formally signed a Mutual Aid and Assistance pact to promote and protect collective bargaining in Canada.

Leaders from the National Union of Public General Employees (NUPGE), the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW Canada) and the Canadian Professional Police Association (CPPA) joined the CTF in Ottawa to sign the pact to protect collective bargaining rights for all Canadians. The pact signatories recognise that freedom of association, and the right to organise and bargain collectively in Canada, are under significant pressure. Accordingly, the signatories have agreed to focus their cooperative efforts to enhance the ability of their combined organisations to prevent further erosion of these fundamental human rights. Attending the signing were Winston Carter, president of the CTF; James Clancy, national president of NUPGE; Michael J. Fraser, national director of UFCW Canada; and David Griffin, Executive Officer of the CPPA. Winston Carter, CTF President, explained that teachers in many jurisdictions across the country have seen their governments interfere in the collective bargaining process with regressive pieces of legislation that go against international law. “What kind of lesson are we giving our children with respect to global citizenship when our very own governments fail to respect international labour law, time and time again?” James Clancy of NUPGE agreed. "Over the past 20 years we've seen a serious erosion of our fundamental rights to bargain collectively and withdraw services if necessary, and it's our governments that are mostly to blame," "Rather than protecting our labour rights, federal and provincial governments have stood by silently and sometimes even provided the legal means to ignore and abuse these fundamental human rights," he added Since 1982, Canadian governments have passed more than 170 regulations and laws to restrict or suspend collective bargaining rights for Canadian workers. According to Michael J. Fraser of the UFCW Canada, “This attack on the fundamental human right of freedom of association has hurt the labour movement’s ability to organise non-union workers. I’m proud to be joining forces with NUPGE, CTF and the CPPA to help to reverse this situation." David Griffin, Executive Officer of the CPPA, said the agreement between the groups is a welcome development within the labour movement in Canada. “Labour rights are human rights and governments can’t cherry pick which human rights they want to protect and promote in a democracy,” he said. “A right is a right and our elected leaders have a duty to stand up for the rights of all citizens.” Together, CTF, UFCW Canada, NUPGE, and the CPPA represent over 800,000 working people across Canada.