Ontario Government Attempts to Legislate Contract Onto Education Workers
The Ontario government tabled legislation which seeks to impose a 4-year contract on education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees – Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) today.
The government is preparing to use its majority, that it gained from 18% of the population, to violate the right of education workers represented by OSBCU; 83% of whom voted 97% in favour of strike action. Instead of recognizing the legitimate concerns of the 55,000 education workers represented by OSBCU, Premier Doug Ford stated they should not “force his hand.” In other words, the vote of education workers to back up their demands for wages and working conditions that are agreeable to them by withdrawing their labour is meaningless and can just be dismissed by his government, as if such a stand of 45,500 working people is of no consequence.
For months, the Ontario government has been asserting that, come hell or high-water, students need to be in schools with full extracurricular activities this school year, instead of negotiating with the workers who provide education so they can come to terms that are agreeable to them.
OSBCB issued the following statement on October 30, in response to the government’s announcement that they would be legislating OSBCU’s contract.
Today the government presented us with what they called their final offer. They told us that if we did not accept this final offer, they would impose this through legislation that they would introduce as early as Monday October 31.
It is clear that the government has no intention of negotiating. The legislation that they intend to impose includes:
– Wage increase of 2.5% for employees earning less than $25.95/hour or 1.5% for anyone earning more than that. This is the equivalent of
a wage increase of $0.40 to $0.67
– Weak protections against job cuts – so much flexibility for cutting jobs that there is no guarantee of service security.
– Insufficient funding to sustain the benefits plan.
– Massive cut to sick leave/short-term disability plan that will deny most members access to STD.
– No money for additional staffing.
– Nothing on a DECE in every Kindergarten class.
– Nothing on paid prep time for education workers who work directly in class with students.
We are committed to negotiating a collective agreement that meets the needs of education workers. We will be at the bargaining table on November 1, 2, 3 as scheduled and are willing to meet on October 31 to give more time for negotiating.
What the government is trying to force on education workers is not acceptable for anyone – not for workers, not for students, not for parents.