ONTARIO – About 55,000 CUPE education workers across the province, including teachers, administrative staff, childhood education workers and cleaning staff, may begin a work-to-rule campaign as soon as Monday, Sept. 30.
Laura Walton, President of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which bargains centrally on behalf of the union’s workers, stated in a press release that representatives issued the required five days’ notice which will put them in a legal strike position on Sept. 30. This campaign will include 63 school boards across the province.
“We’ve always said that any job action we take will have at its heart the protection of education services for students,” said Walton.“If it takes job action to restore these services, then so be it. This is something worth fighting for.”
The focus of the job action surrounds the ‘countless hours of services and supports lost’ since the Ford government rolled out cuts that may affect Ontario students.
“And this year we’ve seen those services decimated: school libraries closed over students’ lunch breaks because there aren’t enough library workers; school cleaning cut to the point that custodians are told they can only vacuum kindergarten classrooms once a week; eight or nine students with special needs now supported by a single education assistant; communications with parents affected because some schools have lost their school secretaries,” said Walton.
Walton and CUPE representatives are scheduled to meet on Saturday, Sept. 28 and Sunday, Sept. 29 with the provincial Council of Trustees’ Associations’ in attempt to reach a deal that will dismiss job action. Plans to carry through the job action will be maintained if no deal is reached.
“Minister Lecce says he wants stability and predictability, but we have yet to hear anything that says that he’s ready to secure the education services that students and families rely on,” said Walton. “That what CUPE education workers are seeking from this process – not simply for themselves, but for the students they serve.”
More information on this work-to-rule campaign will be provided as it becomes available.