President’s Memo November 1 2022 – Supporting CUPE Members
This memo is composed by OSSTF TTBU President Michelle Teixeira and reflects the positions and actions of the OSSTF Toronto Teachers’ Bargaining Unit Executive.
CUPE Education Worker Strike Update
Negotiations between the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which unites 55,000 CUPE education workers across the province, and the Ontario Government were scheduled to resume November 1, 2 and 3, 2022, with the assistance of a mediator. On Sunday, October 30, 2022, OSBCU served notice that unless an agreement was reached, a full withdrawal of services would take place on Friday. Later that day, the Ontario Government announced that it would introduce pre-emptive back to work legislation as well as legislation that would impose a contract on CUPE education workers. This legislation was introduced on Monday, October 31, 2022, and is expected to pass.
OSBCU has indicated that regardless of the status of the legislation, they will engage in a full withdrawal of services beginning on Friday.
Locally, CUPE 4400 represents 14,600 education workers, including office-clerical staff, custodians and educational assistants in the TDSB.
The actions of this Government are truly shameful. Education support staff workers are among the lowest paid workers in our Province, and these workers are predominantly women. The support that they provide to students and teachers is critical to the functioning of our schools. In the legislature, Stephen Leccee repeatedly used the rhetoric of this legislation “keeping the kids in schools.” But we know that if he and his party truly cared about students, they would recognize that education workers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, and that to value the work that they do is to value and prioritize a well-funded public education system.
The blatant disregard for our constitutional rights to freely collectively bargain is alarming and a slap in the face to democratic processes. Through education unions’ Charter challenge to Bill 115, which also imposed contracts on education workers, it has already been decided in the courts that such legislation is unconstitutional. Bill 115 has ended up costing the Ontario Government millions of dollars. And yet, the Ford Government would rather risk wastingthat kind of money all over again rather than give education support staff workers what they deserve, and put the money into the public education system where it belongs. For that matter, Lecce’s recent $200 dollar voucher to parents to supposedly support parents’ private tutoring costs could have gone instead to a fair deal for OSBCU workers.
Solidarity Actions – Show your Support!
- Attend An emergency rally in Toronto TODAY Tuesday, November 1 at 5:00 p.m. at the Ministry of Labour (400 University Avenue)
- Use an online email-your-MPP tool, in defense of free and fair collective bargaining
- Wear Purple on Wednesdays. Print an Education Worker support sign here: https://39000isnotenough.ca/resources/ and take a group photo with your signs and purple gear. Do not include students in your photos. Share your photos on social media.
- Participate in an emergency phone zap Wednesday November 2 between 7:00pm and 8:00pm. Register here: https://www.justice4workers.org/support_education_workers_emergency_phone_zap
Stay tuned for more information about future solidarity events.
Provincial OSSTF/ FEESO Bargaining Update
OSSTF/FEESO represents both Education Workers and Teachers and Occasional Teachers under the School Board Collective Bargaining Act. OSSTF/FEESO has two separate central tables, one for Education Workers and one for Teachers and Occasional Teachers. Both of these tables have met to set central and local table items, as well as started the process of exchanging bargaining positions working towards a new collective agreement. OSSTF/FEESO has not, at this time, requested a conciliator, nor a “no board report” and therefore OSSTF/FEESO is not in a legal strike position.
This means that OSSTF/FEESO members cannot, at this time, engage in legal strike action.
Provincial OSSTF released a media statement
yesterday. We will share further information from Provincial OSSTF as it is shared with us.
What Happens on Friday?
Late last night, the TDSB indicated to staff and parents that in the event of a CUPE work stoppage on Friday all schools would be closed for in person learning. It is not yet clear what CUPE’s plans are for that day. It is also not yet clear what the expectations are for other TDSB employees on that day. When we have more information, we will share it.