BROCKVILLE, Ont. – Upper Canada District School Board management has filed documents with the ministry of Labour to start the countdown to a legal strike or lockout deadline of August 1, 2006, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 1,400 workers in Eastern Ontario public elementary and secondary schools.
“We offered to meet with the board in August to try and reach a negotiated settlement in conciliation, but they instead chose to start the countdown to a legal strike or lockout deadline,” said Susan Hanson, president of CUPE 5678. “They are still demanding concessions and takeaways, and that’s something our members cannot accept, especially with the impact that would have on the quality of education in our communities.”
Mediation talks have been scheduled for July 31st, one day before the legal strike or lockout deadline. CUPE 5678 members voted previously in favour of strike action if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached.
“We would much rather continue working and our members resent the fact the school board is backing us into a corner,” said Hanson. “We are prepared to strike if necessary, to protect our collective agreement and stop the board’s attack on our working conditions and the students’ learning conditions.”
CUPE represents 1,400 clerical, education assistants, instructional assistants, plant, custodial and maintenance, information technology, transportation, library and support staff in schools across a vast area of Eastern Ontario, including the communities of Akwesasne, Alexandria, Alfred, Almonte, Athens, Augusta, Avonmore, Brockville, Carleton Place, Casselman, Champlain, Chesterville, Clarence, Cornwall, Drummond, Dundas, Elgin, Elmsley, Gananoque, Glengarry, Grenville, Hawkesbury, Ingleside, Kemptville, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Merrickville, Mississippi Mills, Montague, Perth, Prescott, Rideau Lakes, Rockland, Russell, Smiths Falls, Stormont, Tay Valley, Thousand Islands, Vankleek, Westport and Williamston.
“We urge parents to contact school trustees and tell them to come back to the table with a fair and reasonable collective agreement – that’s all it takes to prevent a strike our lockout,” said Hanson.
For further information, please contact:
CUPE 5678 President
CUPE National Representative