The Ford government will introduce legislation to introduce a contract for the education sector union | Rare Techy


The Ford government will introduce legislation on Monday to impose a four-year contract for thousands of education support workers to avoid a strike, a move likely to trigger a union lawsuit.

The dramatic escalation in months of contract negotiations came after the Canadian Public Employees Union, which represents 55,000 custodians, office workers, librarians and early childhood educators, gave the government notice to strike on Friday, Nov. 4.

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Educators gather outside the Toronto Convention Center ahead of Doug Ford’s event

CUPE member Laura Walton described the offer as an ultimatum from the Ford government after months of negotiations.

The government’s latest offer, now legally imposed on union workers, would raise wages by 2.5 percent a year for workers earning less than $43,000, while those earning more than $43,000 would get a 1.5 percent a year.

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That’s a slight increase from the previous offer, which was 1.25 percent for those earning more than $40,000 and 2.0 percent for those earning less than that.

CUPE asked the government for an 11 percent pay rise, citing the high cost of living and historically low wages.

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Mediated contract negotiations between the government and CUPE break down ahead of the strike deadline

In a statement, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the government made a “generous” offer and plans to keep its promise to keep students in class.

“With CUPE refusing to withdraw its intention to strike, we are left with no choice but to introduce legislation tomorrow to ensure that students remain in class to pursue their studies,” Lecce said.

But the union warns the government it could end up in court over the legislation and questions whether the government negotiated in good faith.

“They had all the legislation drafted, which proves they had no intention of negotiating fairly with educators,” Walton said at a news conference late Sunday.

While Lecce has warned for weeks that the government will not allow the strike to continue due to several years of school disruption due to COVID-19, the minister always stuck to his prime ministerial mandate to reach an agreement with the union through negotiations.

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But as contract talks stalled, the government changed its tone and focused more on preventing a strike than reaching a deal.

The legislation, to be tabled at 1pm on Monday, is also a “signal” to teachers’ unions, said a source who is still in the early stages of negotiations with the government.

“Our intentions are clear,” the source said of the government’s plans to sign contracts with other unions in the education sector.

By introducing the contract, Premier Doug Ford is copying former premier Dalton McGuinty’s work from 2012, when the Ontario Liberals introduced a contract for teachers’ unions ahead of a strike.

invoice 115, Students first, froze wages and restricted union members’ right to strike, prompting a lawsuit by five education unions.

An Ontario Superior Court judge later ruled that Bill 115 “substantially interfered with meaningful collective bargaining” and that the contract award process was “fundamentally flawed.”

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Wynne says legislation that mandated contracts for teachers in 2012 was problematic

“It is not able to offer meaningful collective negotiations due to its structure. Ontario developed its own process. It set parameters that would allow it to meet specified fiscal constraints, and then set up a program that limited the ability of other parties to meaningfully participate,” Judge Thomas Lederer wrote in a 2016 ruling.

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Earlier this year, the Federation of Primary Teachers was awarded a $103 million grant that was distributed to former and current members of the union.

If the Ford government introduces the legislation, they will have just four days to pass the legislation to avoid a province-wide CUPE strike currently scheduled for Nov. 4.

© 2022 Global News by Corus Entertainment Inc. department.


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