Education workers in Ontario speak out on tentative agreement

TORONTO — Thousands of Ontario education workers are voting until Dec. 5 on Sunday’s tentative agreement with the government that averted a Monday strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 55,000 education workers in Ontario, said the results of the vote would be announced Dec. 6.

If these union members reject the agreement, the parties could return to the bargaining table and CUPE could file a new strike notice.

CUPE has already indicated that the four-year tentative agreement provides for an annual wage increase of $1 per hour, or approximately 3.59% per year. According to the union, this tentative agreement is no different from what the government offered last week, before the union filed a five-day strike notice.

These employees – daycare educators, librarians, teaching assistants, in particular – had walked off the job for two days, two weeks ago, after the government passed a special law which decreed their working conditions for four years and withdrew their right to strike, guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Doug Ford’s government then used the special law’s notwithstanding clause to guard against a legal challenge, which drew widespread condemnation from unions and politicians across the country. The special law was eventually repealed and the government returned to the bargaining table, when the union promised to go back to work.


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