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ON NDP Calls Out PC’s For Not Bargaining In Good Faith w/ Ed. Workers

By Katie Nicholls Nov 1, 2022 | 3:21 PM

Education workers have been bargaining with the province for several weeks trying to agree on a new contract.

CUPE, which represents the 55,000 education workers across Ontario is asking for an 11 per cent wage increase after only receiving 0.5 and 1 per cent increases if any since 2016.

The Ford government has countered with a much lower offer of 2.5 per cent for employees who make less than $43,000 a year and 2 per cent for those that make more than that.

A strike notice was given to the province last week that this Friday, Nov. 4th education workers would walk off the job.

The province is trying to axe that by introducing legislation that would force the affected workers to not take job action as well as force their latest contract offer onto CUPE for four years.

CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Union (OSBCU) is still calling on education workers to proceed with their strike action on Friday.

The union says it’s still committed to negotiating a deal at the bargaining table.

Speaking to Acadia News, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North doesn’t believe that the PC’s planned or have been bargaining in good faith.

The province says they are protecting students and keeping them in class, but Vaugeois disagrees.

The government has actually chosen to use the notwithstanding clause, override the charter of rights and freedoms, override the human rights code taking away the right for collective bargaining for the lowest paid workers in the education system

Vaugeois also believes this is “calculated underfunding” similar to what is happening in healthcare she said during the interview; “…chronic underfunding, calculated underfunding and the use of wage repression and bargaining repression in order to create a crisis in then the systems starts to fall apart, and you’ve opened the door to privatization. ”

Will schools close or classes be cancelled?

That is yet to be determined.

In Thunder Bay, CUPE represents custodians, maintenance workers and some cafeteria staff only at the Lakehead District School Board (LDSB). There are no education workers represented by CUPE with the Catholic board.

The LDSB released a statement on Facebook;

We are continuing to assess the impact that a full withdrawal of services would have on our schools and will communicate with parents and guardians as the week continues. Maintaining a normal routine will be very difficult. CUPE members within our Board include custodial, maintenance, and some cafeteria staff.
The government has also indicated that they have tabled legislation (Bill 28 – Keeping Students in Class Act). Provincially, the parties are continuing discussions. While Lakehead Public Schools is not directly involved in the provincial negotiations, we remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached. Please monitor the Board website and social media channels for updates.
When asked how long a strike might be during a press conference, OSBCU President Laura Walton, said she didn’t have a crystal ball “but thinks that they need to recognize is that there needs to be a clear move by the government to not legislate and to work with students families education workers”.
A one line statement from Lakehead Public School Board Director of Education Sherri-Lynne Pharand, received to the Acadia Newsroom late this afternoon, reads.

“Lakehead Public Schools will be open for students and families on Friday, November 4th.”

…This story will be updated when more information becomes available. 


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