The following statement was issued by Laura Walton, president of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions, the designated bargaining agent charged with negotiating a central collective agreement on behalf of 55,000 education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Today the CUPE/OSBCU bargaining team met with the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the province with support of a conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour.
Part of our discussions included the conflicting messages coming from the Minister of Education, the Hon. Stephen Lecce. We referred to his statements in the media and compared them to the discussions at the bargaining table.
However, the Crown and CTA confirmed that their position remains unchanged. They will not move from proposals that hurt students by cutting their services. They will not consider proposals that will ensure a fairer deal for CUPE education workers, so that we can deliver high-quality services. They seem unwilling to work with us to reach an agreement that will give Ontario students a well supported, well rounded, publicly funded and publicly delivered education.
Their position left CUPE and OSBCU with no option but to ask the conciliation officer to file a “no-board report.” This request puts CUPE members in a legal strike position in the week of September 23.
Strike votes will continue to take place in CUPE school board locals across Ontario until September 15 and we will announce the results on September 17. We are confident that CUPE education workers deliver a strong mandate and a clear indication of their willingness to stand up for a fair deal that protects services.
CUPE education workers will continue to engage with parents, guardians, other unions, allies and other community supporters about the importance of their services and the negative impact of the cuts have to our students, schools and communities.