What People Are Saying

Here are some excerpts from messages we are receiving from the public on our FEEDBACK page.

Dear Mayor Troy

Please consider this a letter of support for IATSE from an extended family that loves the CNE and have gone every year for decades. The people who work there deserve to be treated with respect. They make the CNE possible and keep one of Toronto’s great traditions alive. It’s not acceptable to give their jobs to other people and to walk away from negotiations.

-Jayne S., Toronto

Dear Mayor Troy

Today as I was a out to purchase my CNE tickets (as we do every year, 3-4 times for the duration of the exhibition because we love it that much) I saw that you had created a lock out on its workers so that you and your associates could pocket what is more than likely a large sum of money and pay offs/ kickbacks.

I am thoroughly disgusted with your actions and will not be attending until this is properly resolved. What a shame and embarrassment you are to the city and all Canadians.

-Amanda M., Angus

This is a union-busting exercise

This is a union-busting exercise, nothing else,… It’s unfortunate that we, as a board, locked the workers out.

-Councillor Jim Karygiannis, Board  of Governors

I don’t know any union that would agree to that,

It sounds to me that what the board has put on the table is quite a significant ask: the union losing jurisdiction as sole supplier on the site, to lose exclusivity. And I don’t know any union that would agree to that,

-Virginia Ludy, CNE’s chief executive

“Union vs not”

I support your efforts to come to a satisfactory conclusion. I’ve worked with and without 58 members and can say with absolute certainty that the skills and experience translates directly to superior setup time and quality. Relying exclusively on tour roadhands and imported labour, an event is more likely to result in accidents, rushing, and technical outcomes.

-Ryan C., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

Here at York University I teach a course on the Future of Work, and I will have 1000 students in the course this year.  That’s because the job prospects for young people are increasingly precarious.

As a former businessman, you know that the efforts of Exhibition Place to improve their “competitiveness” will make the jobs of their employees less secure.

As Mayor, I think your first priority should be the well-being of the democratic majority.  You are accountable to the citizens of Toronto, not to a narrow elite of business leaders.  For that matter, Exhibition Place should not be run like a private sector employer, trying to make a profit at the expense of their employees.

That’s why I strongly oppose your lockout of the Exhibition Place workers. These are people who have served the CNE well for over 60 years. There is no evidence I have seen that ditching these loyal employees now will result in lower costs to consumers and better, safer events.

-David L., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

I really really want to go to the CNE.  I’m 56 and I’ve gone all my life.

You are usually a good mayor and you are in difficult times with our new provincial government.

Don’t pick this fight. Honor the people who work in this union.  Support them. Get them good contracts. Let them do their job.

I fear for the future of my children’s working lives if we cannot settle working negotiations fairly.

-Esther A., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? This is appalling, this is immoral, it’s bad enough we didn’t elect Olivia Chow who actually cared about the people and doing the right thing but I expect you to do better.

-Jennifer N., Mississauga

Dear Mayor Tory

My family will not be attending the Ex this year.

Thank you for showing your true colours. In fact we will be avoiding Toronto entirely.

-Russ M., Oakville

Dear Mayor Tory

I was looking forward to bringing my nephew to the CNE this year for the first time but my family and I will no longer be attending.  We will not cross a picket line.  I strongly oppose your lockout of the Exhibition Place workers. These are people who have served the CNE well for over 60 years. There is no evidence I have seen that ditching these loyal employees now will result in lower costs to consumers and better, safer events.

-Vittoria I., North York

Dear Mayor Tory

It is shameful and despicable that Exhibition Place workers have been locked out and that the Ex is utilizing replacement workers.  This is not the Ex I want to see nor is it the Toronto I want to see.

I have a five-year-old son who was looking forward to visiting the Ex.  He will not be able to go because of the unjust lockout perpetrated by the Ex management and board.  The city needs good jobs and secure jobs.  Allowing outside companies to take the jobs of these workers is in no way good for the city.  The Ex seems to be leading the charge backwards into the nineteenth century rather than ahead to the future.

I strongly oppose your lockout of the Exhibition Place workers. These are people who have served the CNE well for over 60 years. There is no evidence I have seen that ditching these loyal employees now will result in lower costs to consumers and better, safer events.

Mayor Tory, stop lying to Toronto when you say that Local 58 is not willing to come back to the table. In fact, the Union asked to have the issues go to binding arbitration by a neutral third party. Your hand-picked Board turned them down. Why?

You have often boasted that you want good jobs for Toronto. That is hard to believe now. Taking away existing jobs from our fellow Torontonians and handing them to “replacement” workers (who will leave town when their “gig” is done) is shameful. Can you imagine what it will do to their families? Probably not, but please give it a moment’s thought. Tell your Board of Governors to lift the lockout and get back to the bargaining table, or agree to arbitration.

You want to be Mayor again? Show some leadership and stand up for good jobs for skilled and dedicated Torontonians.

Yours in the hope of a more rational future,

-George S., North York

Dear Mayor Tory

I strongly oppose your shameful lockout of the Exhibition Place workers.

I spend the entire summer looking forward to the cne. My husband and I have been together for 15 years.  He introduced me to the cne when we started dating.  Because of the issues with the lock out, I don’t get to continue my tradition of spending the day shopping. I normally do all of my Christmas shopping at the ex and spend well over $1000 each year. I am a huge country music fan and was planning on going on the day with the concert! I’m also very disappointed to miss the superdog show and cooking demonstrations.

I had the opportunity this year to visit the Calgary stampede for two days and we have been looking forward to comparing the two while the stampede was still fresh in my mind.

My husband and I are supporters of workers’ rights. We refuse to cross picket lines.  My husband would rather join the line.

I’m holding out hope that in the spirit of Labour Day, this lockout will be resolved and I will be able to continue my streak of over 15 years.

-Candace B., Hamilton

Dear Mayor Tory

Going to the CNE is an annual tradition in our family that we have practiced for over 10 years…but it doesn’t seem like it will be this year. It has been heart breaking to tell my 9 year old daughter that we won’t be going to the EX this summer despite taking vacation at the same time as the CNE and having purchased our tickets before realizing what has been going on for the IATSE workers.

I strongly oppose the lockout of the Exhibition Place workers. These are people who have served the CNE well for over 60 years. There is no evidence I have seen that ditching these loyal employees now will result in Exhibition Place being more competitive in the marketplace, or in lower costs to consumers or in better, safer events.

Mayor Tory, you need to show your leadership and and stand up for good jobs for skilled and dedicated Torontonians.

The Union has asked to have the issues go to binding arbitration by a neutral third party but your hand-picked Board turned them down. Why?

You have often boasted that you want good jobs for Toronto. That is hard to believe now. Taking away existing jobs from our fellow Torontonians and handing them to “replacement” workers (who will leave town when their “gig” is done) is shameful. Can you imagine what it will do to their families?

Tell your Board of Governors to lift the lockout and get back to the bargaining table, or agree to arbitration.

I am truly hopeful that this summer I will be able to say to my family “let’s go to the EX!”

-Grace T., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

I strongly oppose your lockout of the Exhibition Place workers.

Arbitration by a neutral third party would have been a much fairer and respectful decision.

Please lead well by directing the Board of Governors to lift the lockout and get back to the bargaining table, or agree to arbitration.

The mayor I want shows leadership and stands up for good jobs for skilled and dedicated Torontonians.

-Debbie C., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

I do not understand why you would lock out Local 58 at Exhibition Place, only to fly in out of town workers at, no doubt, a significantly higher expense. If, as you claim, the City of Toronto is being reasonable in its negotiating position, surely binding arbitration would lead to an acceptable agreement.

The fact that you will not agree to arbitration suggests to be that you are aware your position is unreasonable.

I am shocked and disappointed at your stance against Local 58, the principles of fair negotiation and collective bargaining, and Toronto workers.

Unless this situation is resolved quickly, equitably, and fairly, I will not consider supporting you for mayor in the next election.

-Al K., Toronto

Dear Mayor Tory

I can’t even imagine how challenging your job is.

That being said, for what it’s worth, I oppose your lockout of the Exhibition Place workers. These are people who have served the CNE well for over 60 years.

Mayor Tory, did you say that Local 58 is not willing to come back to the table? In fact, the Union asked to have the issues go to binding arbitration by a neutral third party. Did your Board turn them down? If so, why?

Taking away existing jobs from our fellow Torontonians and handing them to “replacement” workers (who will leave town when their “gig” is done) is distasteful. Can you imagine what it will do to their families? Please give it a moment’s thought. Please advise your Board of Governors to lift the lockout and get back to the bargaining table, or agree to arbitration.

Thank you for all you do for Toronto, our great city that we call home!

-Alexandra E., Toronto

Mayor Tory: Shame on You!

Shame on you! Locking out these hard-working people from your ivory towers… I will miss the CNE this year because I will not cross my brother’s and sisters picket line!

-Leslie S., Mississauga

“I stand with IATSE 58”

I’ve been encouraging friends, family, and members of OPSEU 558 to boycott the Ex this year, and to let the Board of Directors and John Tory know why.  Hoping all sides return to the bargaining table soon.

-Eva M., Toronto

My Letter to the Mayor

Hey, brothers and sisters in the struggle, Godspeed to you.   Bravo on the most excellent and effective half page add in today’s Star.  Here is the letter I wrote to the mayor:

Dear Mr, Mayor,
I did not vote for you.  But, so far, you have impressed me with your intelligence, work ethic, social skills and one-liners (“Let’s not set our hair on fire.”) By all accounts, I am poised to vote for you this fall, unless Jennifer Keesmat knocks my socks off.

I loved the gratitude you expressed today for our democratic rights to demonstrate and picket.  I was sitting in my mechanic’s office, watching CP24, and a young couple also waiting for their car, commented the same.  Amen.

I will not be attending the CNE until this lockout is resolved.  I urge you to do everything you can to get management back to negotiating.  Deep fried Mars bars hang in the balance…and your re-election.  The day after we go to the polls, will you look back in regret to this shining opportunity to do the right thing and win the hearts and minds of every union member in this great city?  I hope not.

-Carolyn M., Toronto

“Strongly opposed to lock out”

Please keep standing strong against your employer. We need unions and people in Toronto need to see that unions are real, exist and advocate for members everyday. Thank you for your hard work in making the Exhibition Place possible. I go to the Ex and I had no idea people like you were putting in the hard work. I am behind you 100%.

-Kylie B., Toronto

Tory – What a hypocrite!

We’ve had to listen to Mayor Tory go on and on for years about how he wants to bring good jobs to Toronto. Now he wants to take good jobs and give them to “gig” workers who cannot afford to live in Tory Toronto and who, in any case, will probably move elsewhere they can afford. Somebody has to tell Tory that actions speak louder than words. What a hypocrite. End the lockout!

-Jeanne K., Toronto

Safety must be #1

Am I crazy for wanting professionals who know what they’re doing looking after the safety of entertainment venues? It wasn’t that long ago that a jerry-built stage in Downsview Park collapsed just before a Radiohead concert. I happen to know that it wasn’t built by IATSE 58 members, it was some low-bid, cut-rate construction company that paid no attention to warnings that the non-union workers were giving them. One guy died and three were injured. Good thing it didn’t happen an hour later but it is still sad and didn’t have to happen at all.

– Fred T., North York

Tough situation

I feel for you guys but you know that people won’t support unions if they are any way inconvenienced. They’re like Trump fanatics: ”Don’t bother me with the facts!” But I will not be crossing your picket line and I will tell others why they shouldn’t. Good luck!

– Therese P., Toronto

Be realistic

Sorry folks, but it’s a tough world. I’m an Uber driver and have to scratch out a living in this “gig” economy. I guess we have to be realistic. It’s the Golden Rule, right? He who has the gold makes the rules.

– John C., Whitby