Ontario CUPE educators start voting on whether to strike

Allison Jones, Canadian Press

Published on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 5:14 AM EDT

Ontario’s education workers, including librarians, custodians and administrative staff, will begin voting today on whether to go on strike, and their union is encouraging them to vote in favor.

The Civil Service Union of Canada made public Ontario’s first contract offer, calling it insulting.

The government is proposing a 2% annual salary increase for workers earning less than $40,000 and 1.25% for everyone else, and CUPE is aiming for an 11.7% annual salary increase.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has criticized CUPE for planning a strike vote even before the first proposal was submitted.

All five of the state’s major education unions are in the midst of negotiating new contracts with the government.

CUPE’s 55,000 education worker members will vote between today and October 2 on whether to go on strike.

Laura Walton, president of the trade union council for CUPE’s Ontario Board of Education, said the lack of progress in negotiations over the past two days had “hardened” why a strike vote was needed. increase.

“(Starting today) the 55,000 frontline education workers will get the chance to give the bargaining committee the order to strike to get the Ford government and the Board of Education to take us seriously. ‘ she said.

Walton said the government said it wanted to address larger issues such as pay, job security, sick leave and benefits at a later date. But even attempts to discuss simpler issues, such as bereavement leave and creating pools of replacement workers when others are away, have been fruitless, she said.

Walton has previously said holding a strike vote doesn’t mean workers will withdraw their services, but in an interview this week said what people should worry about is the state of schools. He said there were not enough teaching assistants to provide adequate support and not enough parents to clean the school regularly.

“Our goal is to keep fighting for the services our students need and to make sure our staff can afford to provide those services to our students,” she said. I got

“Now we are seeing governments that continue to disrespect workers.”

Lecce said in a statement that the education union was clearly “rushing” towards the strike.

“It has never been clearer that CUPE will go on strike if their demands for an increase in compensation by nearly 50% are not met,” he wrote, noting that the ministers will take action against salaries and other compensation-related proposals. You mentioned that you said it would be the total.

“Instead of continuing to strike and march into chaos, all unions need to promise parents to stay at the table and keep their children in the classroom. It hurts that working parent by repeatedly setting it back.”

The government noted that CUPE is also asking for five additional paid days before the start of the school year, 30 minutes of paid preparation time each day, and an increase in the overtime pay multiplier from 1.5 to 2.

Walton says the government’s proposal will add $800 a year if the average worker earns $39,000.

CUPE and other unions are seeking increases to make up for the last contracts subject to the 1% annual legislative cap known as Bill 124, and to combat inflation at just below 7% said.

CUPE has a few more negotiation dates with the government scheduled for October, but no more until after the strike vote is over.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on September 23, 2022.

Ontario CUPE educators start voting on whether to strike

Source link Ontario CUPE educators start voting on whether to strike

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