Ontario schooling employees want ‘actual wages,’ union says forward of bargaining

The union representing Ontario schooling employees is specializing in greater wages and job safety because it gears up for contract talks with the province.

CUPE’s Ontario Faculty Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) served the province with a discover to cut price on Friday, and negotiations may start as quickly as the tip of the month.

Laura Walton, president of CUPE-OSBCU, mentioned on the union’s conference in Windsor on Monday that schooling employees are “able to battle.”

The union represents about 55,000 employees together with library staff, custodians, schooling assistants, social employees and different faculty staff.

Walton mentioned the union’s members are the bottom paid staff within the schooling system. On common, they make $39,000 per 12 months, although some solely earn a minimal wage.

“They want actual wages,” Walton mentioned.

Additionally they want safety, Walton mentioned, referencing job cuts amongst academic assistants, early childhood educators, custodians, library and clerical employees.

“Mother and father must know that the companies they depend on, that our employees proudly present, might be there in September for them.”

CBC contacted Ontario’s Ministry of Schooling for remark however officers didn’t present a response by deadline.

Together with different Ontario public sector employees, wage will increase for schooling employees have been capped at one per cent per 12 months underneath Invoice 124, which took impact in 2019.

Labor research professor Larry Savage of Brock College expects this would be the first in an extended line of negotiations with provincial employees that can possible find yourself in strikes over the subsequent 4 years.

“It’s going to be a primary check for the Ford authorities. Through the election they made a giant deal out of claiming that they have been going to work for employees, and now you’ve gotten academic employees whose pay has been capped or frozen for the higher a part of a decade, searching for important wage will increase and extra helps within the faculties. And so I feel there’s going to be a really fascinating spherical of bargaining.”

If the union and the province cannot come to an settlement and a strike vote is handed, the employees could possibly be in a authorized strike place by the tip of August.

“No one needs to strike, however on the finish of the day, we’d like actual change,” Walton mentioned.