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GUELPH, ON. – Upper Grand District Board workers will campaign against the board’s plans to contract out maintenance work at schools in Guelph and Wellington County. The workers, who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), say contracting out will lead to a loss of accountability, lower the quality of maintenance services and open the door to further privatization of public services.

While the board is planning to add 100 new teaching positions for the upcoming school year, they are privatizing the work of 14 dedicated, long-term school board workers,” said Jill Smyth, CUPE national representative. “Some of our members have been providing these services for over 20 years. How can employees who maintain school facilities and clear snow for the safety of students suddenly be classified as redundant?”

CUPE Local 246 represents over 233 custodial, trades and maintenance workers. The 14 workers affected by the board’s contracting out plans include 8 grounds crew, 6 painters and 2 warehouse workers. They perform maintenance duties including snow removal, grounds maintenance, painting and facilities set-up in local schools in Guelph and Wellington County.

We have raised our concerns with the board, including the loss of on-call snow removal services performed by our members, but they are determined to proceed with their contracting out plans without assessing the loss of control and accountability,” said Smyth. “The board must outline how the new contractors will perform their duties and if regular security checks will be performed on the new contractors. If the board is allowed to contract out these vital services, what will be next on their privatization agenda?”

We are warning parents and residents of this community about the problems associated with contracting out,” said Smyth. “We urge parents to contact the board and demand that school maintenance be performed by public employees who are accountable to the community and not to profit-seeking companies.”

For further information, please contact:

Jill Smyth
CUPE national representative
(519) 743-7781

James Chai
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999