Legal clinic workers join Ontario professionals’ union

Employees come together to protest against Ford government’s legal aid funding cuts

Legal clinic workers join Ontario professionals’ union
Scott Travers

The employees of Willowdale Community Legal Services have unanimously voted to join the Society of United Professionals.

The Society of United Professional (IFPTE local 160) represents over 8,000 professionals in Ontario, including over 400 lawyers and legal sector workers, as well as engineers and scientists.

With WCLS employees joining the union, they have allied with members from Legal Aid Ontario and the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic in the campaign to stop legal aid cuts, the society said in a statement.

The employees at WCLS expect to be affected by the Ford government's cuts to legal aid funding and see unionizing as an opportunity to strengthen their legal clinic.

“We're the people who deal with clients every day and are intimately involved in the running of the clinic. Unionization is a way for us to amplify our voice and ideas in clinic decision-making within the context of cuts,” said Rola Hamdan, who has been a community legal worker at WCLS for over 16 years. “We're looking forward to joining other members of the Society of United Professionals in advocating for a properly-funded legal aid system.”

“It is a critical time to come together and organize against the Ford government's catastrophic legal aid cuts that are hurting both frontline legal aid workers and their clients,” said Scott Travers, Society of United Professionals president.

“The Society of United Professionals is proud to provide a platform for legal aid workers to speak out and organize to defend access to justice in Ontario.”

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