June 5, 2023


On September 23, institutional workers in Ontario will certainly start voting on whether to go on strike. The vote follows arrangements between the Ontario government and the Ontario Civil Service Personnel Union (OPSEU) that broke down.

OPSEU stands for over 55,000 assistance staff in Ontario’s public institutions, consisting of custodians, workplace personnel, very early childhood instructors, and academic assistants.

The union has been in contract arrangements with the Ontario government since April.

The main sticking point in negotiations has been income. The Ontario government has actually been providing a wage increase of 1%, while the OPSEU is requesting a 5% wage increase.

The government has additionally proposed modifications to benefits as well as task safety, which the OPSEU has actually denied. If the strike vote succeeds, it would certainly be the first time in over two decades that institution workers in Ontario have actually gone on strike.

A strike would likely have a significant effect on the procedures of Ontario’s public schools.

School support staff will certainly take a strike ballot beginning Sept. 23, an action their union claims will certainly “be a signal” to the Ontario federal government as well as boards that workers will certainly not accept giving in at the bargaining table.

And also, while no job action is planned, the relocation could put the 55,000 custodians, workplace team, academic aides, and early youth educators in a strike position in October.

” Education workers holding strike ballots has to do with workers comprehending and also utilising our cumulative power to win long past due gains for students, Ontario’s families, and also each other,” Laura Walton, head of state of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions, said Monday at an on-line press conference.

The decision to hold a strike ballot comes on the heels of the province’s deal of a 2 percent raise annually over four years for those making less than $40,000 as well as a 1.25 percent increase for those making over that earnings level. CUPE has sought a yearly increase of approximately 11.7 percent, putting all employees on top pay and making all overtime payable at double time, as well as guaranteed service and staffing levels in schools.

At Queen’s Park, education pastor Stephen Lecce said the move will create anxiety. “The union is continuing on their preparation for a possible strike affecting 2 million children who should certainly be in institutions not just in September, but in October, November– each month,” he claimed. “And so my hope is that the union will certainly listen to moms and dads that have extremely begged everyone to proceed with business.”

Lecce stated the federal government’s deal is “reasonable, reasonable, and cost-effective for the taxpayer,” while CUPE’s proposal would bring about a $21-billion increase in the education spending plan, as it would certainly establish the requirement for all various other education unions that are likewise in negotiating currently.

CUPE employees earn an average of $39,000 a year, although that consists of part-time employees.

Their strike ballot will be held between Sept. 23 and Oct. 2. Agreement settlements are set up to proceed into September.
” We’re on a path to strike,” claimed Walton, who added that there is still time to get to an offer. “We are getting on a path to ensure that we have real services in our school boards.”

All contracts for education unions expire at the end of August.

Liberal MPP Mitzie Seeker, a former education priest, claimed Lecce is exaggerating the risk of a CUPE strike.

” Currently we are seeing these unsupported claims from the priest … “Looking for a strike mandate does not mean that there is a strike; it implies that they’re making use of the tools that they have in their tool package in regards to reasonable and also respectful bargaining and that can just be done at the bargaining table,” stated Hunter (Scarborough-Guildwood).

” That’s where I advise the minister to spend his initiatives.”

Marit Stiles (Davenport) told reporters the federal government’s offer to CUPE is too low when the rising cost of living has actually been performing at an annual rate of around eight per cent.

” It’s a pay cut, and also it’s inadequate to live on in numerous parts of this province,” Stiles stated.

What I’m learning from parents certainly is that they wish to see our education and learning employees valued. This government instead is risking, I assume, disturbance in the academic year.


Ontario removed the required five-day isolation guidelines for people with COVID-19.




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