Ontario CUPE school workers set for job action
Disruption could be on the way for Ontario classrooms.
Thousands of unionized school workers in the province are set to give notice of job action as early as next week.
Contracts for the employees expired last month and talks at the bargaining table haven’t gone as planned.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees members are concerned about job security, benefits as well as wages, and are prepared to start a work-to-rule campaign.
“None of us want to be out on strike. We don’t want to see those kids lose that support,” said Joanne Delaney-Fraser, president of CUPE local.
But CUPE, the union representing 55,000 members in Ontario, recently voted 93 percent in favour of a strike.
The first step of work-to-rule is refusing any unpaid work before or after school hours.
The local president represents 1,000 employees from the Waterloo Catholic School Board and says after the contract talks with the province broke down over the weekend she was insulted by the result.
“The amount they’re offering, it’s shameful. It’s not anywhere near close to giving us a living wage,” said Delaney-Fraser.
Meantime, the education minister commented on CUPE’s collective bargaining process.
"I urge CUPE and the employers to come back to the table and direct their efforts toward reaching a deal as quickly possible. Our government remains available at any time to restart talks with CUPE and keep students in school. Kids and parents deserve no less," said Stephen Leece in a statement.
CUPE hopes the work-to-rule campaign will pressure the government into a fair agreement and says there is still time to negotiate.
The local public school board says any CUPE job action will not impact their schools, as no Waterloo District School Board employees are members of the CUPE bargaining group.