TORONTO – Education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) rejected charges that school breakfast programs had been cancelled at Peel schools as a result of the union’s work-to-rule job action and demanded that the Peel District Board of Education reinstate the programs.
“Breakfast programs are not the responsibility of CUPE members and are not part of the work-to-rule instructions to them,” said Terri Preston, chair of CUPE Ontario’s school board coordinating committee.
She added that, if school nutrition had been a priority for the board, cancellation would never have arisen as an issue during work-to-rule action.
“We regard full school nutrition programs as a vital aspect of student welfare and they should be fully funded by the ministry,” she said. Indeed, CUPE has long advocated for fully funded nutrition programs as part of what is needed for student success.
Commenting further on the Peel board’s choice to cancel the breakfast programs, Preston pointed out that it was a poor management decision that is creating unnecessary havoc for students and parents.
“No other board found it necessary to take such a decision,” she noted.
CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn joined Preston in condemning the Peel board’s decision and also called on the Minister of Education to correct statements she gave to media that placed responsibility for the program cancellation on union members.
“Who can blame CUPE members for believing that there is a fundamental lack of respect for their work, when a government minister makes these kinds of erroneous statements about them?” demanded Hahn.
“Instead, Minister Sandals should have either checked the basic facts or recognized from the start that this was a board decision that had nothing to do with workers exercising their rights.
“It’s yet another demonstration of disrespect to educations workers and the minister should apologize,” declared Hahn.
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