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Latest Talks End Without Deal For Education Workers

By Randy Thoms Oct 19, 2022 | 3:39 PM

Photo courtesy Rainy River District School Board

Mediated contract talks between the union representing education workers and the province have ended this week without a deal.

The two sides met for two and a half days.

Wages continue to be the big stumbling block.

The union is asking for a $3.25 an hour increase for all workers. The province proposes a 2 per cent increase for those earning less than $40 thousand a year and a 1.25 per cent for all others.

President of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, Laura Walton, says the wage issue must be resolved before any labour action by members is reconsidered.

“I think the workers have sent a clear message that they support the proposals that we have on the table, but they also sent a clear message that they do not support the proposals that have come across the table by the government and the employer. So, I think wages are going to have to be addressed,” says Walton.

Walton says very little was resolved in talks this week.

She says the only issue they came to an agreement on was related to bereavement leave.

The two sides are scheduled to return to the bargaining table on November 1, two days before education workers are in a legal strike position.

It is not certain yet how the union will act on that position if they can’t reach a deal.

Walton says that will be discussed this week.

“This government has the ability to prevent any job action from happening. We shouldn’t even need to talk about full of removal of services or work-to-rule. This government knows what they need to do to prevent that, and I really think it’s on the government to come to the table and start talking,” says Walton.

In a statement issued shortly after the conclusion of talks on Wednesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce accuses the education union of trying to disrupt in-class learning by refusing to compromise on its wage demand, claiming it will cost taxpayers $19 billion.

“Ontario’s government has a reasonable offer that increases salaries for all workers while protecting a very generous pension and benefit package, maintaining 131 days of sick pay,” states Lecce. “Parents can rest assured this government will not waiver in its resolve to keep all students in class, where they belong.”



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