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School Support Staff Turning Up Heat On Province

By Randy Thoms Sep 1, 2022 | 9:54 AM

The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing some 55,000 school support workers, is hoping to get the public on its side in hopes of securing a pay raise.

Contract talks between the union and government remain at a standstill, so CUPE launched an ad campaign with testimonials from its members.

CUPE members are looking for a wage hike of 11% per year, which works out to an hourly raise of $3.25.
Other demands include designated early childhood educators in every kindergarten class, no matter class size, and minimum staffing standards in schools.

The province is offering a yearly increase of 2% to education workers who make less than $40,000 a year and a 1.25% increase to other members in a four-year deal.

“Tomorrow, education workers will have nothing to prevent their wages from being devalued again, and school boards will still have problems keeping and finding employees due to low pay,” says Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions. “That’s why we’re calling on Stephen Lecce and Doug Ford to rescind their insulting offer, pay workers a decent wage, and invest in more staff to provide the services students rely on.”

“What students and workers need is two sides of the same coin. Our work is crucial to children thriving. If we’re paid enough to keep up with the huge inflation that everyone’s facing, we could afford to put our own kids in sports. It would be easier for school boards to keep staff from quitting, and we wouldn’t have to personally make up for a decade of government funding cuts by working second jobs. It’s within Doug Ford’s power to direct his negotiators to hammer out a deal that puts students and workers first right now, just as it was 89 days ago when we served notice to bargain on the day after the provincial election.”

A strike vote could happen at the end of September.

Walton says contract talks are going slowly, and they’ve filed for conciliation in hopes that an unbiased third party can help avoid a walkout.

The union represents custodians, librarians, and administrative staff.


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