ONTARIO – In an announcement made in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct 2, Laura Walton, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) said that Ontario’s 55,000 public school educational support workers will strike on Monday if they cannot reach an agreement with the province or their employers.
Talks broke down over this past weekend between CUPE and The Crown and the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA), resulting in CUPE members beginning work-to-rule action in schools this week.
“I’ll be frank: we had hoped work-to-rule would force the parties to get together and agree to a deal. But that hasn’t happened, and now we’re hearing stories that cause us great concern,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, which negotiates centrally on behalf of the union’s school board employees.
“Without any justification whatsoever, some school boards are closing programs and sending workers home. Some boards are paying parents to do the work of CUPE members. Some are asking older students to collect younger students from the school bus. Across the province, boards are cutting services and putting students at risk,” said Walton, as she explained why she and her fellow CUPE members felt they had no choice but to escalate job action.”
Several in-school and after school activities in Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) schools have already been affected this week due to the work-to-rule action.
UCDSB schools in Cornwall have discontinued after school activities, postponed field trips and some students have eaten lunch in the hallways to make them easier for teachers to supervise without the help of Educational Assistants.
Viscount Alexander Public School in Cornwall was one such school where on Monday, students ate their lunch in the hallways under teacher supervision, Michael Deighton, Principal of Viscount Alexander has said that since Monday, lunch tables have been setup in the gym to accommodate students.