Astonishingly, superintendent of business services and board treasurer Nick Pfeiffer explained during Monday’s meeting that funding for a newly created superintendent position, at the added cost of about $211,000 per year, was provided by the Ford government specifically for hiring yet another backroom senior manager.
We thought it would be no-brainer for both parties – workers representatives and the bosses – to quickly accept the same central scope as last time. But something as simple as this became another opportunity for the provincial government to delay. They figure that they can prolong the start of discussions about real issues that matter to you and kids’ caregivers even longer by dragging out today’s first meeting into a second unnecessary meeting weeks from now. (By the way, they haven’t even agreed to a next meeting date yet). As for the ground rules, your bargaining team made it clear that workers will not accept a “media blackout.” Instead, those of us who are at the negotiating table on your behalf intend to be very open and transparent with the whole CUPE-OSBCU membership.
CUPE education workers are ready to negotiate a contract that protects and expands services for students, and they’re ready to get it down before the new school year starts this fall. Support education workers’ demands for service guarentees and higher wages for low-paid frontline workers. Send a message to the premier and education minister now
Years of systemic and structural underfunding by this Conservative government, and the Liberal government before it, have resulted in understaffing and unsustainably low wages for education workers. The workers’ bargaining demands, if met, would fix these systemic problems to meet students’ needs as well as create good jobs for education workers – twin goals that will benefit all communities throughout the province.
Information regarding the upcoming Elections at the 2022 OSBCU Convention
Report: Despite how important they are to students’ success and the success of schools as a whole; education workers do not get the recognition they deserve. They have been subject to longstanding understaffing and overwork, as well as legislative attacks on their wages. As a result of the latter, school board workers’ wages have eroded significantly over the past decade. Legislative restrictions on free collective bargaining like Bill 115 (under the previous Liberal government) that froze wages for two years, and Bill 124 (under the current Conservative government) that limited increases to 1% per year for three years, contributed to long-term loss of real income. Overall, education workers’ wages have increased by only 8.8% (compounded) from 2012 to 2022. Over that same period of time inflation in Ontario has been 19%.1 Recently, the provincial government projected inflation in 2021 is topping 3%.2 Reports in November 2021 show inflation as high as 4.7%.3 The imposition of 1% limit on wage increases through Bill 124 further eroded their purchasing power.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has drawn up a list of simple, low-cost ways to reduce hazards for everyone who spends their days in brick-and-mortar schools. Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), outlined the measures that the union wants in place in schools that have students attending class: Mandatory screening: Active and enhanced screening should be applied to everyone entering schools. Screening should include temperature checks for anyone coming through school doors and written attestation should be required from parents to confirm that their children don’t have symptoms of COVID- 19 and haven’t been exposed to it.