Public school teachers and support staff rallied outside Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin's office in Waterdown Wednesday afternoon in an ongoing fight with the provincial government over wages and bargaining rights.
According to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, the 3 p.m. protest included both elementary and secondary teachers as well as support staff and members of other labour unions who were rallying in support.
"If you look out here today, you've got steelworkers, you've got CUPE — who represents not only education workers but also a whole bunch of other public sector workers," Anthony Marco, the vice-president of the OSSTF's district 21 teacher bargaining unit, said at the rally.
"When you go up against one labour group, you go up against them all and we hope the politicians keeps that in mind going into an election."
The OSSTF had originally planned a full-day strike on Wednesday that would have cancelled classes for students, but abandoned the idea after the Ontario Labour Relations Board deemed a similar job action by public elementary school teachers illegal.
"When everything else is taken away, you do what you can," Marco said. "If we’re not allowed to strike because something’s been imposed on us, our only recourse is to protest in some way, shape or form."
He added while the main battle over Bill 115 remains in the courts, the demonstrations are meant to serve as a message to current and future provincial governments.
"Within the next couple of weeks we’re going to have a new premier. It could be someone who is a bit more willing to concede the fact that Bill 115 was a mistake and that we should be maybe removing those imposed contracts and finding a way to actually sit down and bargain again," he said.
"Throughout this whole process we’ve been willing to bargain with our local employer, and I think they wanted to bargain with us, but all of that was taken off the table."
CBC Hamilton's Adam Carter live-blogged the rally Wednesday afternoon: