The threat of Ontario education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) walking off the job again has now ended.
This morning CUPE announced that roughly 73 per cent of their members have voted in favor of a new contract.
The announcement brings to a close a rocky negotiation process that saw CUPE workers walk off the job for two days, closing schools across the province after the government imposed a contract on them and banned them from striking. That legislation was later repealed to facilitate further negotiations.
On Nov. 20 a tentative deal between the union and the province was reached, which amounted to a $1 an hour raise each year for the average worker.
“Alongside the historic participation of workers in the sector, this round of fully free collective bargaining also sets a new standard for wage increases in the broader public sector; it completely eliminates concessions that would have been devastating for workers, students and schools; and it safeguards jobs and job security, which will benefit students and workers,” said CUPE Ontario in a statement to members. “We must also never forget that we reached this point after a historic and successful fightback, waged against Doug Ford’s Conservatives and their massive overreach in using the Charter’s Notwithstanding Clause to pass a despicable piece of legislation, Bill 28. This law stripped education workers of their constitutional right to free collective bargaining and their right to strike, and it imposed a contract with concessions to sick leave and many other components that would have been devastating for workers and students alike. The government’s contract would also have imposed two-tier wages on education workers and awarded pay increases totalling less than half the amount ratified in the end by education workers.”
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