The union representing 55,000 education workers has given strike notice again. This time it is for Monday, November 21st. The Canadian Union of Public Employees says talks have broken down with the province.
While the union says the two sides reached middle ground on wages agreeing on a 3.95 per cent increase each year for the life of the agreement which is an increase of $1.00 an hour. But, the union says the province will not agree to invest in more services for students. That includes putting an early childhood educator in each kindergarten class and hiring enough educational assistants so all students get the support they need.
“From the beginning, we’ve been focused on improved jobs for education workers and improved services for students. For us, there is no one without the other,” said Laura Walton, educational assistant and president of CUPE-OSBCU. “It’s incredibly disappointing that the Ford government categorically refused to put money on the table to give students the type of learning environment they need.”
Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the province put forward multiple offers but the union rejected each one. Lecce says the government is disappointed the union has filed strike notice. He says the province will stay at the bargaining table until a deal can be reached.
Negotiations had just begun again last week after the province promised to repeal Bill 28. That legislated a four-year contract for the education workers as well as used the notwithstanding clause that ruled out the union’s ability to strike or renegotiate wages for the life of the agreement. The Bill was repealed on Monday. Education workers walked off the job earlier this month for two days, closing many schools across the province.