For those who may not be aware, the Canadian Union of Public Employees were in the midst of negotiations with the province of Ontario. After some serious negotiating between both sides this past weekend, a tentative agreement was reached late on Sunday night. This means that schools across Ontario will remain open on Monday.
We are pleased to report that we have a tentative agreement with the Council of Trustees' Associations and the province of Ontario. School is open tomorrow! We thank everyone for their support and patience.
— OSBCU-CSCSO (@osbcucscso) October 7, 2019
The union which represents over 55,000 workers across the province, were trying to increase the number of paid sick days and short-term disability days that CUPE workers received, along with a number of other issues. As CUPE members previously were entitled to 11 sick days at 100 per cent of their pay and another 120 short-term disability days paid at 90 percent every year. And with contracts for all school workers, including CUPE members and teachers, expired on Aug. 31.
It increased pressure for both sides to get a deal done in a timely manner. The union says it was able to secure modest wage increases and maintain its existing sick leave plan – a sticking point for the school trustees. Which should provide some comfort to those who were out of work as a result of the strike.
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“We believe that this deal represents a foundation upon which we can build upon,” said Laura Walton who represents Ontario school board workers for CUPE.
This deal ensures that any talk of shuttering schools as a result of a strike is no longer necessary. As at least 2 dozen school boards across Ontario were previously at risk of suspending operations as a result of this strike. This decision also provides a bit of relief for parents who had to make alternative accommodations as a result of what was presumed to be looming school closures.
“Families in Ontario will certainly be the beneficiaries of this because they ought to know with confidence that their child will be learning today, tomorrow and every day.” Ontario’s minister of education Stephen Lecce had said, upon announcing that a deal had been reached.