Municipal workers recognized for their outstanding service during the pandemic at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s annual conference

OTTAWA, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Association of Municipalities of Ontario presented an award to municipal employees on the opening day of its annual conference in Ottawa on August 15, in recognition of their “outstanding service to Ontario communities during the global pandemic. Fred Hahn, president of the Canadian Union of Ontario Public Employees, accepted the award on behalf of the 80,000 municipal workers represented by the union.

CUPE municipal members provide a wide range of services, including road maintenance; operation of water and sewage works; installation and repair of traffic lights; maintaining parks and recreational facilities; garbage collection and recycling; care of the elderly and disabled in long-term care homes; providing paramedical, public health, library and social services; and perform administrative and technical tasks.

“Municipal workers have played many valuable roles in helping our communities through the pandemic, displaying a strong commitment to their fellow citizens and the collective good of our society,” he said. “They made many sacrifices – from extended shifts, to irregular hours and weekends, to vacations and time with family.

Hahn thanked city workers for taking on challenging new roles and responsibilities for the good of their communities, as many were temporarily redeployed to different assignments. This included many workers helping to roll out the COVID vaccination program.

Although many CUPE locals have endured tough rounds of bargaining with employers during COVID-19, Hahn said the pandemic has shown unions and employers can work together to maintain and improve services that were directly benefiting the people of Ontario.

Earlier in the pandemic, OMA and CUPE jointly advocated for relief funding from higher levels of government to offset municipalities’ lost revenue resulting from COVID-19.

Hahn urged city leaders to expand this collaborative approach in the future. Referencing the devastating effects of inflation affecting many working-class people, including the municipal workforce, CUPE Ontario’s president urged investments in public services that help build stronger communities. stronger, healthier and more resilient.

“We must reverse decades of public sector austerity that has deepened income inequality and created the conditions for social conflict. We must reverse the trend and strive to build townships and cities where everyone has the opportunity to prosper and thrive. We can do this by investing in good public sector jobs that translate into high-quality services for Ontarians,” he said.

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Andrew B. Reiter