MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – School support staff currently in new contract negotiations with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) are warning that, by seizing control of the board and skewing the bargaining process, the McGuinty government has set the stage for guaranteed labour turmoil.
Eleven hundred school support workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), have been in contract negotiations with the catholic board since November 2006. “All indicators suggest that the Liberal-imposed supervisor Norbert Hartmann will be pushing the buttons and controlling decision-making on behalf of the Liberal government at the bargaining table so that they can cut jobs and gut programs,” says Ontario CUPE President Sid Ryan.
“What the Liberals have done is set the bargaining process on a collision course. Workers negotiate to improve their standard of living. The government supervisor is there to make cuts on behalf of this government. There is a clear divergence of interests here that sets the stage for confrontation.
“But they’ve miscalculated and just upped the ante. What’s now going to hit the bargaining table is the flawed education funding model. That’s what’s fueling program and job cuts. And that’s what this round of bargaining is now about,” says Ryan.
Larry Stevenson, the president of CUPE 1483, representing custodial and trades workers, says that the cuts Hartmann wants to make break existing collective agreement rights and 80 plus cut-related grievances will be filed. The Hartmann cuts include 37 custodial maintenance positions and $2.3 million from an already lean facility support budget.
“Contract negotiations are tense enough without this kind of political interference,” says Stevenson.
Similarly, CUPE 2026 president Tina DiVona, representing secretarial, technical, and administration staff, says 40 or more grievances are being filed as a result of the supervisor’s proposed cuts that would see 19 clerical staff lose their jobs and close to a half-million dollars cut from the clerical support budget.
“Clerical staff are in the same budget line as school supplies. We’re tired of being treated like we’re no more important than erasers and paper towels. Enough is enough,” says DiVona.
For more information please contact:
President, CUPE Ontario
President, CUPE 2026
(647) 297-(CUPE) 2873
President, CUPE 1483