Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
The agreement was reached Sunday after 30 hours of negotiations — just one day before the deadline for unions to reach deals with their local school boards, before the province swoops in to impose contracts under Bill 115.
“Bill 115 created an unnecessary crisis, making things much more difficult at the bargaining table,” said CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn in a statement. “It was the strength and support of our members, and the tireless work of our bargaining committee that made this tentative agreement possible.”
The union will not release any details of the agreement until after its leaders vote on it Jan. 5. However, the statement said the deal addresses the unique circumstances of school support workers, who earn an average salary of $ 38,000 and are laid off multiple times a year.
The agreement is a major breakthrough for the McGuinty government, which has been in a standoff with teacher and support-staff unions for months. Only 65 local agreements have been ratified out of a total of 470 — the majority with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, and a handful with support staff unions.
Education Minister Laurel Broten released a statement Sunday thanking CUPE for striking a tentative deal, and remaining firm on the Dec. 31 deadline for other unions.
“To those school boards and unions which have yet to come to terms on fair, balanced and responsible contracts, I say to you that it is time to end the uncertainty for students, parents and taxpayers and get back to doing what we do best: putting students first.”
OSSTF president Ken Coran said he could not comment on how the CUPE deal would affect his union’s leverage at the bargaining table.
“Until I know what they actually negotiated, it’s a bit of a grey area,” he said, adding he was hoping that CUPE had struck a deal with more financial flexibility. “Any negotiating team would negotiate what they believe their members would ratify.”
Asked whether any further local agreements were likely to be reached before midnight tomorrow, Coran said it was “impossible.”
“There’s no local bargaining even taking place right now,” he said. “The ball is totally in Minister Broten’s court.”