TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 30, 2012) - Today, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced that they have negotiated a tentative agreement for 55,000 Ontario school support workers, including educational assistants, early childhood educators, instructors, custodians, librarians and school secretaries.
"Bill 115 created an unnecessary crisis, making things much more difficult at the bargaining table," said Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario. "It was the strength and support of our members, and the tireless work of our bargaining committee that made this tentative agreement possible."
Terri Preston, chair of CUPE's bargaining committee, said CUPE would follow its usual democratic ratification process. "We will be taking the tentative agreement to our leadership for a vote January 5, and upon its approval, to our local membership for ratification in the following weeks. We will not release any details about the agreement until our leadership has voted."
Preston noted the agreement does address the unique circumstances faced by school support workers, whose average salary is $38,000 and many of whom are laid off multiple times a year.
Hahn made it clear that CUPE remains opposed to Bill 115, which allows the government to undermine basic rights to collective bargaining and impose contracts. "Collective bargaining works. It creates stable working environments that lead to stable services for the people who depend on them. Bill 115 threatens that needed stability in our schools and puts our collective bargaining process at great risk."
CUPE will continue its campaign to repeal Bill 115, including a legal challenge to the bill, and will continue its campaign to stop legislation floated by both Liberals and Tories that would strip democratic rights to collective bargaining and impartial contract arbitration from other public sector workers.