Due to pressure from workers and residents of Peel Region and Dufferin County, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) will vote on a 2022-2023 budget Tuesday that would retain 41 out of 51 education workers’ jobs – 80 percent of frontline positions that were on the chopping block a month ago.
Fresh off a community victory 200 km east along the 401 where trustees, on Monday night, voted down the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board budget because it contained cuts, members of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) are calling on Dufferin-Peel Catholic trustees to reject the budget their staff is putting in front of them unless all cuts are rescinded.
“Community pressure has already compelled the Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board to reduce the number of damaging cuts these elected representatives are willing to make,” said CUPE Local 2026 president Lisa Maye. “Now we’re urging trustees to stop the cuts altogether. They have the power to rescind the cuts and pass a proper budget that protects services for students today and that’s absolutely what they should do today.”
The budget document being considered by the Dufferin-Peel Catholic board comes after trustees received hundreds of phone calls from members of CUPE and the community in late May, telling these elected representatives not to proceed with any cuts.
“Trustees should be passing a no-cuts budget because our students need more support to succeed, not less,” said Terry Groves, president of CUPE Local 1483. “It’s time for Dufferin and Peel Catholic trustees to stand up for their communities, do the right thing, and scrap the school cuts here.”
“In Canada’s richest province, no community should be forced to arbitrarily choose between the right literacy supports for students or adequate cleaning in schools,” said Laura Walton, OSBCU president. “Ontario has so much wealth and it’s a political choice by our bosses, on school boards and at Queen’s Park, whether to keep slashing the services students need or to give our children have what they require to meet their potential.”
CUPE-OSBCU members are committed to guaranteeing services for students. In 2019, during the frontline workers’ last round of bargaining with the provincial government and school boards, CUPE-OSBCU members negotiated the Education Workers Protection Fund specifically to stop these sorts of damaging cuts that harm students.
CUPE Local 1483 members provide custodial and maintenance work that keeps Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board schools in a state of cleanliness and good repair, keep students safe, and ensure quality learning and working environments. Members of CUPE Local 2026 work as school secretaries, board office staff, library workers, and in information technology, providing supports necessary for the daily functioning of schools.