TORONTO – CUPE’s 55,000 education workers in Ontario are appalled at the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to declare the teachers’ strikes in Durham, Peel and Rainbow Boards to be unlawful.
“The Durham, Peel and Rainbow boards should have been focussed on getting deals at their local bargaining tables rather than on attacking their employees at the OLRB,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “CUPE’s bargaining has been proceeding at a glacial pace, and we completely understand the frustration of OSSTF teachers.”
CUPE’s education workers gave their union an overwhelming strike mandate of 93 per cent in province-wide votes held earlier this spring. CUPE has not yet been able to reach agreement with the management team composed of school boards and the province regarding what items will be centrally bargained vs locally bargained. CUPE has hearing dates set at the OLRB in June on that matter.
“Minister Sandals should be directing boards to meaningfully bargain to end these strikes,” said Terri Preston, chair of CUPE’s central bargaining committee for education workers. “The events of the last few days have shown that the new bargaining structure has not prevented the chaos that took place under Bill 115 in Ontario, as the Liberal government promised it would. Labour peace is not going to be possible without a serious change in direction on the part of the government.”
“This Liberal government hides behind others – first the Education Relations Commission, now the Ontario Labour Relations Board. Our members see this for what it is, and it will only double our resolve to stand with OSSTF and to continue to fight for a fair collective agreement for our members,” said Hahn.
CUPE represents education workers in all four of the province’s school board systems – French and English, public and separate school boards. CUPE’s education sector members are also covered under Bill 122, which created a new bargaining structure for school board negotiations.
CUPE remains committed to supporting OSSTF and ETFO in their respective job actions. In Ontario’s school board sector, CUPE represents 55,000 early childhood educators, educational assistants, instructors, custodians, school office staff, administrative staff, library and computer technicians, trades people and more.
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