Ontario education workers may strike again as contract talks break down

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing 55,000 Ontario education workers, has filed a five-day strike notice, saying bargaining talks with the province have broken down once more.

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CUPE says it reached middle ground with the government on wages but the notice of a potential provincewide strike comes after what it calls a refusal from the province to “invest in the services that students need and parents expect.”

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Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government is disappointed at the strike notice and adds that the province has put forward multiple improved offers.

On Monday, Ontario repealed controversial legislation that had imposed a contract on the workers and banned them from striking.

That legislation was passed on Nov. 3 after an earlier strike notice from CUPE in an effort to keep them at work.

But thousands of workers, including education assistants, librarians and custodians, walked off the job anyway, shutting hundreds of schools to in-person learning for two days.

Premier Doug Ford then offered last week to withdraw the legislation if CUPE members returned to work, which they did, and bargaining then resumed.

  1. Jeff Holbrough, principal of J.P. Robarts elementary school in London, displays some of the donated children's winter clothing that will be available for parents to choose from when they come for parent-teacher interviews this week. Photograph taken on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022. (Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press)

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  2. Olivia Flores 14, of St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Woodstock studies the robot her team had made as part of the Oxford Invitational Youth Robotics Challenge in Woodstock on Tuesday November 15, 2022. 14 high schools participated. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

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