CUPE 5257 members at Blaisdale Montessori School, with seven campuses throughout Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, and Bowmanville, have begun strike action as of 8:00 a.m. Monday, November 16, 2020.
“Teachers and support staff at Blaisdale Montessori School are disappointed that the employer would not bring forward a fair contract after months of negotiations and several strike deadline extensions,” says Sara Lorne, President of CUPE 5257. “More than 55% of workers at Blaisdale Montessori School earn minimum wage and the employer refuses to offer any wage improvements for the first two years of the agreement.”
The workers, who have been without a contract since August 31, 2019, voted overwhelmingly to commence job action following a series of unsuccessful contract negotiation meetings with the employer.
“Our goal is to minimize service disruption and keep kids in class so that parents can focus on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Lorne. “If Blaisdale Montessori School truly valued providing excellent education, they wouldn’t be treating teachers and support staff so unfairly.”
In the current round of negotiations, the union aims to make gains for the large cohort of staff who currently earn minimum wage and keep annual wage improvements in line with the cost of living.
“Staff at Blaisdale Montessori School rose up for parents and kids during this pandemic, taking on cleaning and additional tasks to support them during this challenging time, and now are standing up for them through this job action,” continued Lorne. “Parents and kids at Blaisdale deserve to have quality teachers and support staff who are treated fairly, not living paycheque to paycheque.”
CUPE 5257 represents more than 100 members who work at Blaisdale Montessori School who provide education and support to more than 700 students.