Canada: Ontario education minister says he’s ‘available 24-7’ as CUPE job action escalation looms - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Ontario education minister says he’s ‘available 24-7’ as CUPE job action escalation looms

13:00  02 october  2019
13:00  02 october  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off

  Education workers to begin work-to-rule after negotiations break off Some 55,000 education workers in Ontario are set to embark on work-to-rule on Monday after last-minute contract talks failed to reach a deal. The decision on a legal strike position comes at the end of two days of last-minute contract talks between CUPE, the province and the Council of Trustees' Associations in an effort to avoid a work-to-rule campaign.

Letter from Education Minister Stephen Lecce about CUPE job action . Sunday evening, CUPE released a statement regarding the breakdown in talks. The source also said Lecce has been tone-deaf to the concerns of the union : “ He hasn’t really been listening thus far, and we hope that changes.”

+ TORONTO – Ontario ’ s education minister says bargaining talks with the union representing education workers who have launched a work-to-rule campaign could resume later this week. Stephen Lecce says he remains optimistic that in spite of the job action by the CUPE today a deal can still be

a close up of a sign: Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaking to the media Tuesday morning.© Global News Education Minister Stephen Lecce speaking to the media Tuesday morning.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says he is "literally available 24-7" to meet amid a work-to-rule campaign by 55,000 CUPE education workers.

The Ontario government is bracing for a possible escalation in job action, including the potential of a strike as early as Monday.

Mary Unan, a communications specialist with CUPE, said the union has scheduled a 10 a.m. news conference at Queen's Park on Wednesday where "there will be an announcement, not just an update."

READ MORE: Ontario education workers launch job action as future of labour talks uncertain

Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down

  Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down On the evening before 55,000 educational workers initiate job action across the province, Global News has obtained a letter sent to school boards from Education Minister Stephen Lecce. In the letter, Lecce reiterates familiar government messaging about the labour dispute and sternly warns employees about maintaining student safety. “During this period of job action, student safety will remain the utmost priority. I know this is a position we all share, and I expect that no CUPE member will ever undertake any action that would jeopardize the safety and security of any student in the province.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said CUPE , which represents 55,000 custodians "I'm grateful for the union accepting those days," he told a morning news conference at a school in Nobleton, Ont. But hours later, the president of CUPE ’ s Ontario School Board Council of Unions , refuted Lecce' s

June 24 , 2019June 24 , 2019 by CUPE 1479. We are asking that all CUPE 1479 members wear their Tshirts on Thursday to show support to the OSBCU ( Ontario School Board Council of Unions ) who will be at the Central Bargaining Table negotiating a contract for us.

Talks with the government recently broke off after a stalemate took hold. Sources close to the negotiations said a deal was almost sealed when CUPE declined the government's offer on sick days.

On Tuesday, Lecce said absenteeism has been a major concern for his ministry and one that is costing taxpayers millions.

"For every day of sick leave that education workers and teachers gain, school boards and the province face well over $35 million in cost-pressure," he said.

"In the case of CUPE specifically, the average number of sick days taken exceed 15 days per year. This would include 11 days funded at 100 per cent of salary with the remaining sick days funded at 90 per cent of salary."

READ MORE: Ontario education minister delivers warning letter after talks break down

Many Ontario boards will close schools Monday if education workers strike

  Many Ontario boards will close schools Monday if education workers strike TORONTO — Hundreds of schools across Ontario are set to close their doors on Monday if the province's education workers go through with a threatened strike, potentially shutting more than half a million students out of the classroom. The Toronto District School Board was among those to issue a notice to parents Thursday informing them that if a labour disruption occurs, schools will not open to start the week.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said CUPE , which represents 55,000 custodians, clerical workers and early childhood educators , had accepted a government offer of new mediation dates and talks could resume as early as this week. “I'm grateful for the union accepting those days,” he told a

Ontario Public Service careers. OSAP: Ontario Student Assistance Program. Government services. Learn more about the process around property that’ s forfeited to Ontario as a result of a corporate dissolution. Business Information Guide.

Lecce claimed the framework is not sustainable for school boards that face considerable pressure on budgets.

"In some cases, we have seen boards experience cost-pressures of well over 30 per cent to their sick leave funds," he said.

"When school boards are covering 100 per cent or 90 per cent of salaries for over 130 days, this means that funds are not going to the frontline student experience"

Workers currently part of the job action include educational assistants, custodial staff, administrative assistants and others educational support workers.

READ MORE: Ontario education workers launch job action as future of labour talks uncertain

Elections Canada says it's working on a contingency plan in the event of a CUPE strike

  Elections Canada says it's working on a contingency plan in the event of a CUPE strike Elections Canada says a potential strike by Ontario education workers part of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) likely won't affect schools that operate as polling places for the upcoming Oct. 21 federal election. Rejean Grenier, a regional media advisor with the federal elections office, said Elections Canada is working on a contingency plan in the event of a strike.He said Elections Canada has "made no other plans so far … and in the event that the work-to-rule situation continues, we will just work around it and people will be able to vote.

+ As members of the teachers’ union are getting ready to vote on a full-scale strike, BCTF president Jim Iker says they want a deal before the end of June. Teachers will be taking a vote on Monday, June 9 and Tuesday, June 10 to get a mandate for escalated job action .

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals said Thursday that that the “safety and well-being” of students is “paramount.” “It is disappointing that members of CUPE are engaged in job action that affects our students,” Sandals said . “It is our expectation that school boards are taking the necessary measures

When asked about pressures facing workers and understaffing issues, Lecce said, "There is no question that education staff work hard."

"I believe our proposals at the bargaining table have been reasonable, and there was not much daylight between the government, the CTA, and CUPE by the end of negotiations on Sunday," he said.

Talks reach make-or-break point as Ontario education workers strike looms

  Talks reach make-or-break point as Ontario education workers strike looms Last-minute contract talks continue on Sunday with a threat of a province-wide strike by Ontario education workers looming. CUPE served notice on Wednesday that some 55,000 members, from office administrators to special education assistants to custodians, are prepared to walk off the job Monday if a deal can't be reached. That notice was issued just two days into a work-to-rule campaign.A strike by education workers would see the cancellation of classes and all recreational and after-school programs starting Monday.

Statement from Education Minister in Response to Update on Collective Bargaining Process from CUPE . TORONTO — Today, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education , issued the following statement on the decision of CUPE to break off talks with the employers, and give notice of intended job action

Some 55,000 Ontario education workers will begin a work-to-rule campaign on Monday after the latest round of talks Walton said the union and the province remains far apart especially on the key issue of job security. However, the minister said the issue of rising absenteeism remained unsolved. He said students will begin to feel the impact of the job action if a deal can't be reached quickly.

Global News attempted to reach the CUPE communications team Tuesday night regarding Wednesday's announcement and current job action, but was unsuccessful.

READ MORE: Ontario teachers’ union releases bargaining proposals, adds pressure on Ford government

Lecce claimed even though work-to-rule action has only been in place since Monday, students across the province are being impacted.

"School field trips being cancelled, fundraising events cancelled, after-school activities cancelled – a school is a place where our children should be given opportunity to achieve their full potential," he said, adding he had a message for parents.

"I want their kids remaining in class, doing what they do best, learning and achieving their potential. And so we're not going to be deterred from that mission."

‘Walk-in’ protests over education ‘cuts’ to occur at public schools across Ontario, groups say .
Ontario Families for Public Education said the rallies scheduled for Thursday are being held to "protest education funding cuts and to celebrate the incredible gains made for our kids by CUPE education workers in their recent contract negotiations."The action comes on the heels of a victory for the union. On Sunday, CUPE announced it had reached a tentative deal with the province for 55,000 educational support workers.

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