Ontario CUPE school staff vote to ratify contract with province


Ontario education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees have voted to ratify a contract with the government.

Laura Walton, president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said about 73 per cent of those who voted were in favour. 

Walton – who had said she didn’t like the deal because it didn’t come with staffing level guarantees – said about 76 per cent of the union’s 55,000 education worker members voted during the ratification process. 

“I thought it would be closer … 73 is a bit higher than I expected,” Walton said at a press conference on Monday. 

Workers who were not in favour had said they were concerned about a lack of services in classrooms, such as numbers of educational assistants and early childhood educators, Walton said.

The ratification ends a whirlwind bargaining process that saw education workers walk off the job for two days after the government passed — then later repealed — legislation that imposed a contract on them, banned them from striking, and used the notwithstanding clause to allow the override of certain charter rights. 

The two sides later returned to the table and brokered a tentative deal on Nov. 20 that the union says comes with a $1-per-hour raise each year, or about 3.59 per cent annually, for the average worker.

The four major teachers’ unions are still in bargaining with the government