ONTARIO – The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced on Thursday, Oct. 3 that their CDSBEO members (custodians, school office staff, educational assistants, early childhood educators, library workers, maintenance staff and other non-teaching staff) will escalate strike action to a full withdrawal of services beginning Monday, Oct. 7 if an agreement is not reached by Sunday, Oct. 6.
The Board is encouraging parents and guardians to have an alternate childcare plan in place for Monday, Oct. 7, and contact their individual provider if their children attend an after or before school program in a CDSBEO facility.
“The safety of students is our greatest priority,” noted Board Chair Todd Lalonde. “Therefore, due to the vast and significant roles held by CUPE employees, the CDSBEO regrets that if strike action commences, all schools will be closed to students effective Monday, Oct. 7, until further notice.”
Local French Catholic school board (CSDCEO) announced that schools within their board will strive to remain open in the event that an agreement is not met, however before and after school programs will be canceled.
“In the event that no agreement is signed, please note that schools will remain open as long as the CSDCEO is able to ensure the well-being and safety of students and staff members…From today until further notice, please note that community bookings and activities that take place in our schools before or after school hours are canceled. Please note that evening parent meetings are also canceled unless directed by your principal. However, daycare services in elementary schools will be maintained,” read a CSDCEO.
“This labour disruption arises out of the current central negotiations process involving the Government of Ontario, the Council of Trustees’ Association (which includes the Association representing Catholic school boards – the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association), and CUPE,” read a CDSBEO press release.
CUPE represents more than 440 employees within CDSBEO schools and administrative offices. The Board made the decision with student and staff safety as the priority, according to a press release.
“The strike will affect many facets of school operations, and the Board has considered many factors including the safety and wellbeing of students, supervision, medical supports and care, safe operation of water and sanitation systems, and the condition of classrooms and other areas of the school building,” read a CDSBEO press release.
CUPE officially announced its work-to-rule action commencing on September 30. CUPE represents 55,000 educational support employees. To read more about how the work-to-rule action is impacting local programs, read our previous story here.
CUPE members plan to meet with provincial representatives on Friday, Oct. 4.