OWEN SOUND, Ont. – About 240 custodial and maintenance staff are ready to strike on September 4 after talks broke off between their union, CUPE 1176 and the Bluewater District School Board.
“This is about fighting layoffs that will affect as many as 50 or 60 people,” said local president Don McAngus. “The board has decided that the best way to avoid a deficit is to get rid of 22 and a half full-time equivalent jobs.”
The province’s flawed education funding formula has created some of the problem, but the school board should run a deficit while seeking funding improvements, McAngus said.
“The Bluewater District School Board should not be trying to solve its funding problem on the backs of the people who keep our schools clean and safe,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that the school year has to start this way, but our members are not going to stand idly by while their hours and even their jobs are decimated. We want no part of a plan that will mean dirtier, crumbling schools for children in Grey and Bruce.”
The union will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, September 4. Information pickets will be set up at every school with a special picket at Chesley High School. While no new talks between CUPE and the school board are scheduled, McAngus said the union is ready to meet at any time before Tuesday to negotiate a fair collective agreement and avert a strike.
For more information, contact:
Don McAngus, President, CUPE 1176, 519-353-5195 (home); 519-378-9503 (cell)
Jim Keenan, CUPE National Representative, 705-790-0056 (cell)
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications, 416-616-6142 (cell)