Ontario’s 55,000 frontline education workers have been exercising their democratic rights as union members by taking part in their strike vote that opened on Friday, September 23 and will close on Sunday, October 2.
“My coworkers and I have great proposals to settle on the table that are reasonable, necessary, and affordable,” said Laura Walton. “These proposals come from what frontline education workers and families across the province say we need to improve the quality of children’s education and to make education jobs something school boards can actually retain and recruit people to do. Doug Ford and Stephen Lecce have the power and resources to accept our proposals. They could and should do that today.”
Your central bargaining committee spent an extended day Tuesday and all day Wednesday trying to get the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and Ontario government to agree on something. Even bereavement leave was apparently too much to ask for.
It has become very clear that this government and our school boards need to see and feel the power building with workers to move them to respond to your proposals which, if accepted, would secure services for students & improve wages & working conditions for each of you.
A union representing education workers in Ontario has launched a new campaign arguing that a salary of $39,000 is “not enough” amid contract negotiations with the provincial government. The campaign centers around a radio advertisement that urges listeners to tell Premier Doug Ford that “$39,000 is not enough for education workers, or anyone.” In the ad, a male voice is heard listing off a variety of frontline education jobs, including educational assistants, secretaries and custodians. The voice says that because these employees are paid about $39,000 on average, “thousands are on the brink of poverty.”
After 8 days of negotiations we have seen very little movement other than the disrespectful offer put forward from Lecce and School Boards. We are requesting support of a Ministry of Labour's Conciliation Officer to support negotiations moving forward.
It’s still within the Stephen Lecce and Doug Ford’s power to direct their people at the table to accept our reasonable, necessary, and affordable Proposals for Student Success and Good Jobs or to at least make a respectful offer. But with the education minister wasting his time fearmongering and getting his math wrong, we’re filing for conciliation in the hope that a third party can help refocus the government and school board bosses on getting a fair collective agreement done.
Attempting to kickstart conversations on equity, violence, and health and safety, we’re disappointed to say that we made little headway. Additionally, although we raised the issues of job security and benefits, the employer maintained their concessions. Our proposal is reasonable, necessary, and ensures sustainability for education workers and the students and families who rely on the services we deliver. The gains you need rely on the high participation of you and your co-workers in the days ahead.
We have prepared a chart that compares the asks you have with the proposal your bosses and government have offered. It is clear that we are far apart on many issues. Bridging this gap will take a high participation of members!
Overall, we are disheartened with what was passed. Education Workers are fighting to stay out of poverty. The proposal of only $800 per year on average in face of skyrocketing inflation is not going to pay rising rent costs, put food on the table or addresses the staffing issues that are rampant in our schools.