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Toronto - By introducing new legislation forcing all school boards and unions to negotiate simultaneously, three-year contracts province-wide, the Ontario Tory government is foisting more havoc, uncertainty and labour strife, on top of our already troubled public education system, says Brian OKeefe, the Ontario secretary-treasurer of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“This is just another ingredient in the Tory recipe for crisis and disaster in our schools. The crisis is a manufactured one, by a government intent on decimating our public education system in favour of two-tier private education.

“Unfortunately, the disaster is real and students, educational support workers and teachers are dealing with it every day. What this government is willfully inflicting on children, their families and education workers in Ontario is unconscionable,” adds OKeefe, who points out that the Stability and Excellence in Education Act 2001 is another in a series of draconian pieces of legislation aimed at wresting control of collective bargaining in the province.

OKeefe maintains, Ontarios public education system is already crippled by a woefully, inadequate Tory government funding formula that has resulted in staffing shortages and increased and crushing workloads for the 45,000 CUPE members who work in the school board sector.

“This move is politically motivated and designed to remove collective bargaining from the political arena prior to the next provincial election. The Tories will continue with their vicious cuts to public education while at the same time shutting down any potential labour disputes,” concludes OKeefe.

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For more information please contact:
Brian OKeefe, Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications