On Friday, February 21, four Ontario education unions representing elementary and secondary teachers and education workers will participate in a one-day walkout across the province. And we, all of CUPE Ontario’s 280,000 members, which proudly includes the 55,000 members of the Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU), stand in solidarity with them.
Nearly 200,000 teachers and education workers from across 72 school boards, affecting nearly 5,000 schools across the province, are demonstrating their opposition to the Ford government’s education cuts. They’re made of members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO).
“We’re in solidarity with the members from these four unions because our public schools matter,” says Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President. “We refuse to allow them to be short-changed with measures that force e-learning courses on our students, squeeze them into overcrowded schools, and limit supports for students with special education needs.”
“CUPE Members work as part of a team with others in our schools, most notably our Early Childhood Educators who are teaching partners in the Kindergarten Program,” said Laura Walton, President of the OSBCU. “A written guarantee to protect that program is an important part of these negotiations, and for our children’s future.”
In October of last year, when CUPE education workers mobilized to secure a central collective agreement that ensured critical investments in public education services and jobs, members from these unions, as well as community members and parents, placed their solidarity with our members.
“Now we’re returning the favour by clearly saying: CUPE stands with you,” says Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario. “It’s through solidarity that our education allies will secure freely-negotiated collective agreements.”
We are asking all CUPE Ontario members to show solidarity. CUPE education workers will not perform struck work. We will join our allies at info pickets, walk-ins and other actions.
“It’s through solidarity that our education allies will secure freely-negotiated collective agreements,” says Rennick. “Now is the time to ensure the schools our kids deserve.”