UCDSB to close schools if CUPE strikes

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By Shawna O'Neill
UCDSB to close schools if CUPE strikes
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ONTARIO – After a Special Board Meeting during the evening of Thursday, Oct. 3, UCDSB Board Members determined that if CUPE members strike on Monday, Oct. 7, which has been proposed if no agreement is settled on, that all UCDSB schools must close.

“If a strike by CUPE members does occur, the UCDSB will not be able to operate our facilities or provide proper supervision and care to our students. We will need to close all of our schools to students. All before and after school care programs for school-aged students will be cancelled. Licensed, third-party daycares operating in our schools for non-school age children, will remain open,” read an UCDSB statement.

The decision to close schools and after school programming was also made by the CDSBEO (local English Catholic school board) on Thursday, Oct. 3. The 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 by Monday, Oct. 7, however all before and after school programs were cancelled effective immediately.

“Please understand that CUPE represents 1,600 employees within (UCDSB), in 10 different employee groups. This represents 40 per cent of our workforce. The work restrictions that are currently in place under the work-to-rule campaign have placed a significant strain on the regular operations of our schools – especially at the elementary level,” read an UCDSB statement. 

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. To read about the CDSBEO’s decision to close schools if CUPE strikes, read the story here.

CUPE members and provincial officials are set to resume discussions on Friday, Oct. 4. Several school boards across the province have stated that they will have to close schools if the union campaign continues. CUPE is demanding a better deal for its members who earn approx. $38,000 annually. It has been reported that a main concern stalling negotiations is a local priorities fund, cut by the Ford government, that was originally negotiated in 2016. That fund contributed to hiring for positions like educational assistants, custodians and clerical staff.

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