Schools could shut down by Monday as Ontario’s education workers have given another 5-day notice to strike.
“It will be a full strike on Monday but our goal is to get a deal done,” says CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions’ President, Laura Walton.
“From the beginning, we’ve been focused on improved jobs for education workers and improved services for students. For us, there is no one without the other,” Walton adds.
CUPE says that their central bargaining committee was able to reach a middle ground with the Ford government and the Council of Trustees’ Association on wages, but the government ‘refused to invest in services that students need and parents expect.’
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he’s disappointed that CUPE filed notice to shut down classrooms once again, saying the government’s put forward multiple improved offers – which CUPE has rejected.
“We know the impacts on children of disruptions – from a mental, physical and academic perspective,” said Lecce. “They need to start reflecting on how these disruptions impact working people ad their kids. It shouldn’t be a casual thing you do every other week. We offered more.”
Of note, despite the 5-day strike notice, negotiations between the parties involved are expected to continue throughout the week, before Monday’s potential strike action begins.
This comes just a few days after the Ford government approved legislation to fully repeal Bill 28, which prompted unions to strike for two days on November 4 and 7.
Kenora Catholic schools were closed on the first day of the strike as members of OPSEU joined the strike in solidarity, while Keewatin-Patricia schools remained open with non-union staff. CUPE represents over 50,000 education workers such as administrators, custodians and more.