Telling the real story of collective bargaining: CUPE Ontario

Still image from the ad, showing a worker shaking hands with an employerCommunicating around specific issues can be highly effective, often involving focused messages, sharply defined goals and tangible outcomes.

But sometimes you’re aiming higher. You want to change not just opinions on an issue, but the underlying attitudes, assumptions and narrative that drive those opinions.

When Ontario’s Liberal government targeted collective bargaining rights for school board workers with Bill 115, CUPE Ontario recognized it as the first assault in a campaign against fundamental rights for all public employees. And they saw that assault as part of the right-wing narrative about collective bargaining: that it always results in inefficiency and conflict, disrupting services and holding back economic growth.

So as part of their campaign in response to the government’s actions, CUPE worked with us to challenge not just Liberal legislation, but the narrative that made it possible. The result is a TV ad that tells the positive story about collective bargaining: how it yields benefits and sets workplace standards that help all Ontario families. Those include venerable victories like pensions and retirement benefits, but also newer advances like parental and caregiver leave – establishing collective bargaining’s relevance today and for the future.


“We are going to campaign until we receive assurance from all provincial leaders that they will not attack our democratic rights to bargaining and contract arbitration in the future,” CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn vowed. And by changing the narrative around collective bargaining, CUPE is helping to make those rights that much more resilient in the future.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.