TORONTO – The Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), the designated bargaining agent charged with negotiating a central collective agreement on behalf of 55,000 education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has filed a no-board report.
On September 5, the CUPE/OSBCU bargaining team met with the Council of Trustees Association (CTA) and the province with support of a conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour.
Laura Watson, president of the OSBCU said, “part of our discussions included the conflicting messages coming from the minister of Education, the Honourable Stephen Lecce. We referred to his statement in the media and compared them to the discussions at the bargaining table.”
“However, the Crown and CTA confirmed that their position remains unchanged,” said Ms. Watson in a release.
“They will not move from proposals that hurt students by cutting their services. They will not consider proposals that will ensure a fairer deal for CUPE education workers, so that we can deliver high-quality services. They seem unwilling to work with us to reach an agreement that will give Ontario students a well-supported, well-rounded, publicly funded and publicly delivered education.”
“Their position left CUPE and OSBCU with no option but to ask the conciliation officer to file a “no-board report,” continued Ms. Watson. “This request puts CUPE members in a legal strike position in the week of September 23.”
“Strike votes will continue to take place in CUPE school board locals across Ontario until September 15 and we will announce the results on September 17. We are confident that CUPE education workers deliver a strong mandate and a clear indication of their willingness to stand up for a fair deal that protects services,” the release noted.
Mr. Lecce issued the following statement in response to CUPE’s request for a no-board report.
“As the school year begins, it is important that parents, students and educators know that I remain on their side, committed to keeping kids in the classroom. I am disappointed that CUPE has decided to take this action; however, I am pleased that an agreement was reached with CUPE and the school boards to appoint Bill Kaplan as a mediator. Mr. Kaplan is a highly respected senior labour mediator. I believe that with the assistance of Mr. Kaplan, we can resolve our differences.”