CUPE files for conciliation in school board talks

Union represents 55,000 education workers in Ontario

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) recently requested the aid of a conciliator from the Ministry of Labour in its central negotiations with Ontario school boards.

CUPE represents 55,000 education workers across the province. The union represents early childhood educators, education assistants, instructors, custodians, school office staff, administrative staff, library and computer technicians and trades people.

Members include employees in all four of Ontario’s school board systems, including French, English, public and separate school boards.

“It’s clear we are going to require assistance to get these talks moving,” said Terri Preston, chair of the union’s central bargaining committee.

“We’ve been without a contract since September 2014… And our members are not prepared to go another school year without a deal.”

According to the union, it was offered only four more dates to bargain with the province and with school boards.

“We anticipated that we would be able to conduct meaningful bargaining throughout the summer, with the aim of getting a deal before Labour Day,” said Jim Morrison, a CUPE national representative assigned to the central negotiations. “We can’t do that without bargaining dates.”

With several teachers’ unions currently in legal strike positions, it is possible the province could see increased work-to-rule campaigns when classes begin in September.

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