Today, 55,000 CUPE members in Ontario began the largest legal job action in our union’s history.
They are education workers, working in our schools and board offices, in both the French and English systems, for public and Catholic Boards, in communities all across Ontario.
Our fellow CUPE members make our schools work. They keep them safe, clean and well-organized, while providing extra support to help students succeed. They work as educational assistants, custodians, office administrators, early childhood educators, trades people, instructors, library technicians, speech pathologists, IT specialists and in many other classifications in our children’s schools.
CUPE’s 55,000 school board members are the backbone of our schools and are on the front line, fighting to maintain staffing levels against the Liberal government’s cuts to education.
And they’ve been without a contract for more than a year.
CUPE’s members are some of the lowest-paid workers in our public education system. The majority are women and face layoffs each summer. Just three years ago, the government attacked their basic right to free collective bargaining with Bill 115. They’ve faced years of cuts to the critical services they provide, seen inflation eat away their take-home pay because of wage freezes, and faced a government who seemed, at best, to treat their critical work as an afterthought.
Enough is enough.
Education workers deserve respect.
CUPE education workers’ job action begins today with work-to-rule. Our members are prepared to escalate their job action plan if a fair collective agreement cannot be negotiated. They have been clear with the government—they’ve been negotiating to settle, but prepared to strike.
Throughout this process, CUPE Ontario is committed to rallying the support of our union, the broader labour movement and community allies in this critical fight for fairness, public services and respect.
Today, our 55,000 members who are education workers in schools start their job action with the support and solidarity of more than 200,000 other CUPE members in the province of Ontario who are municipal, health care, social services, university and airline workers.
As well as being members of CUPE, we are also parents and community members who value the hard work, dedication and critical public services provided to our province by school board workers. We are proud to stand with CUPE Ontario education workers as they fight for these critical public services and for respect at work.