L'ORIGNAL, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 6, 2017) - Representatives of Local 4155 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are demanding that the school board Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l'Est ontarien (CSDCEO) meet with the union today to avoid a strike tomorrow in the board's schools.
Despite the board's claims of wanting to return to the bargaining table, it says to be unable to meet the union today; the board also insists that tomorrow is the earliest that it can make the meeting - after the strike has begun.
Faced with the board's refusal to negotiate a fair and equitable deal, the education workers at CSDCEO, represented by CUPE, will begin a strike tomorrow, a date that has been firmly established and widely announced as the date for the job action.
At the moment, the CSDCEO is the only school board in Ontario that has not reached a local collective agreement with its education workers, who are represented by CUPE 4155.
"There is an imminent strike that promises to cause enormous inconvenience to students, families and everyone who has anything to do with the board's schools," said Raymond Giroux, president of CUPE 4155. "Education workers, students and parents deserve more urgent action.
"We are demanding that the board's negotiators stop worrying about the union's representation and share more of the union's concerns about the quality of services in schools."
The CSDCEO has dragged its feet in negotiations with CUPE 4155 over the past two years. As a result, last week the local's negotiating committee gave the required five days' strike notice.
"The union's decision to take strike action was taken with the goal of improving services in schools," said Giroux. "Unfortunately, the school board has failed to take the same commitment in negotiations."
Members of CUPE 4155 are school secretaries, supervisors, clerks, maintenance workers, library technicians and IT technicians - all staff that play a vital role in students' success at CSDCEO.
Last Saturday, the members of CUPE 4155 held a general meeting with CUPE Ontario Fred Hahn in attendance. He assured them they had the support and solidarity of CUPE members across Ontario.
Raymond Giroux, president of CUPE 4155, emphasized that the union remains available to negotiate with the CSDCEO, but that the school board must demonstrate its commitment and prove itself to be serious about the bargaining process.