CUPE is asking education support workers in Ontario to accept a tentative contract offer

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That Canadian Union of Public Employees is now asking thousands of Ontario education support workers to accept a tentative contract offer from the Ford government, which contradicts earlier comments by a key member of the negotiating team.

When the union agreed to accept a four-year contract offer from the Ford government on Nov. 20 — narrowly averting a planned strike that would have closed schools across the province — the bargaining committee signaled it was uncomfortable with the deal.

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“I don’t like this deal,” said Laura Walton with the Ontario School Board Council of Unions, which represents 55,000 custodians, librarians, early childhood educators and clerical staff.

“As a mother, I don’t like this deal. As a worker, I don’t like this deal. As president of OSBCU, I understand why this is the deal that’s on the table. I think it falls short, and I think it is terrible that we live in a world that does not see the need to provide services to children that they need.”

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Walton’s foolish approval of the contract led to internal union concerns about whether members would accept or reject the offer during a nearly two-week ratification vote — the results of which would be revealed Dec. 6, the union said.

On Tuesday, however, CUPE national president Mark Hancock appealed to members to vote in favor of the tentative contract, saying the negotiating committee “secured everything that could be secured.”

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Ontario education workers will vote on tentative agreement starting Thursday, union says

“OSBCU’s bargaining committee was able to reach a landmark wage settlement after more than a decade of statutory wage restraint,” Hancock said in a memo to members.

“No agreement contains everything we seek.”

While Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the contract resulted in “incremental gains” for both sides, government sources told Global News the deal was the same offer presented to the union before it announced a five-day strike notice on November 15.

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CUPE, which is calling this one of the “toughest rounds of negotiations in the country,” said the deal would give members a $1 per hour wage increase. hour, giving the lowest wage earners an increase of 16.8 percent when compounded over four years.

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“Although you were not able to obtain all that you sought in this round — namely, funding for additional, much-needed services — we recommend acceptance of this preliminary agreement with your bargaining committee,” Hancock said.

Earlier this month, CUPE workers staged a two-day strike after the province briefly introduced legislation banning their industrial action and imposing a contract on CUPE workers.

This legislation was repealed by the Ford government – an offer it made in exchange for CUPE ending its strike.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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