education workers strike

Ontario education workers will strike after no deal reached with government

Education support staff across Ontario are set to strike on Friday as mediation between a worker's union and the provincial government ended without a deal.

In a statement on its website on Thursday afternoon, the bargaining committee representing the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that mediation had concluded.

"It is clear that this government never intended to negotiate," the statement from the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) reads.

"The time and effort they have spent on Bill 28, which strips away education workers' Charter Rights, should have been spent on a deal that would have respected workers and ensured the services that students desperately need are secured."

The Government of Ontario introduced Bill 28, the "Keeping Students in Class Act," on October 31. The bill, which is expected to pass on Nov. 3, imposes a four-year contract on CUPE education workers while making strike action illegal.

CUPE has said that the legislation "violates workers' constitutional right to bargain fairly."

During a press conference on Monday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government had made a "good-faith attempt" to deliver a fair deal for workers, but that CUPE intended to proceed with the strike.

Custodians, maintenance workers, library staff, secretaries, early childhood educators, and educational assistants are some of the workers heading to the picket lines tomorrow. According to CUPE, they are the lowest-paid education workers, earning an average of $39,000 per year.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has said all of its schools will remain closed for in-person learning for the duration of the strike.

The strike will continue "until further notice" unless a non-legislated deal is reached with the provincial government.

Lead photo by

Jonathan Castellino

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