CUPE Ontario says that 93% of its 55,000 workers are in support of a strike to protect education services for students. They will be in a legal strike position as of Sept. 30, 2019, and could walk off the job then. The Ontario education worker strike could mean that staff such as librarians, secretaries, early childhood educators and custodians would be walking off the job.
CUPE has said that they still hope to avoid a strike and would like to reach a deal with the Ontario government.
“We’ll continue to do everything we can to avoid a labour disruption,” said Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU).
The recent changes implemented by the Ford government have been a cause for concern for many in the union. Increased class sizes, and a gradual reduction of the number of teachers, and a shift towards online learning are some of the issues education workers are fighting against. They see the cuts as threats to the quality of education in Ontario, CBC reports.
CUPE's website has also said that crowded classrooms and education cuts mean fewer opportunities for students to learn and be supported by school staff.
“Back-to-school in Ontario this year looks very different from last year. Families, students, and workers have all been hurt by the Ford government’s cuts to education,” said Walton.
Negotiations with the Council of Trustees’ Associations (CTA) and the province will continue. The two parties will be meeting today and tomorrow to try and reach an agreement.
CUPE members reached out to parents last month with an open letter that was published in several media outlets. The letter was intended to inform parents about the issues and to stay transparent about the problems education cuts have been creating in schools.
"If it takes job action to defend high-quality, well-supported, and well-rounded public education, then CUPE education workers are ready,” Walton concluded.