Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

August 27, 2014 14:44 ET

CUPE hopes to avert a school transportation strike before students' return to classes

Weekend meeting offers last chance to reach an agreement

NORTH BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug. 27, 2014) - Members of Local 1165-6 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing seven workers who plan and coordinate bus routing and school transportation services for northern Ontario school boards hope to avoid a strike that could start as early as September 2, 2014.

The transportation workers are employed by a school transportation consortium, Nipissing-Parry Sound Student Transportation Services (NPSSTS), which provides transportation services to four area school boards: Near North District School Board, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, the Conseil scolaire de district du Nord-Est de l'Ontario, and the Conseil scolaire Franco-Nord.

"We remain committed to achieving a fair contract - one that will ensure the continuity and safety of school transportation in our area, without any service disruption," said Monique Drapeau, CUPE National Representative.

"Our members work hard to make sure children get to school safely and on time. But current management proposals are simply not acceptable."

Drapeau explained that the school route planners are not part of the broader group of direct school board workers and that the workers have their own collective agreement. However, NPSSTS's management has failed to recognize that distinction and is now trying to cherry pick provisions from the school board workers' contract that would roll back many of the route planners' working conditions.

In January 2014, the parties agreed to continue with talks until August 31, 2014, to resolve outstanding disputes. The Union presented what they thought was a fair proposal. NPSSTS's board of directors rejected the complete proposal last week.

The members recently voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action if mediation talks fail to produce a settlement.

"This local was on strike for a month in 2005 and fought hard to protect their working conditions. Though sacrifices were made at the time, the employer is now seeking further cuts in this round of bargaining," declared Drapeau.

"If NPSSTS does not back away from these demands, and if we are not able to achieve a fair settlement in negotiations, students and parents could face a transportation nightmare next week, and that's the last thing we want," added Drapeau.

CUPE is encouraging parents and residents to contact their school board trustees to urge them to exert their influence to avert a strike.

Contact Information

  • Monique Drapeau
    CUPE National Representative

    Colin MacDougall
    CUPE 1165 President
    705-493-1951 (cell)

    Mary Unan
    CUPE Communications
    905-739-3999, ext. 379, or 647 390 9839