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TORONTO. ON … Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario President Fred Hahn joined presidents of three teachers unions today to reject the OECTA deal that Ontario’s Education Minister calls a “roadmap” for teachers and support staff negotiations with school boards.
“This deal is only a roadmap to ruin,” said Fred Hahn, CUPE Ontario President representing 55,000 school board employees. “Ontarians demand a quality education for their kids, and cutting hundreds of jobs and bullying the people who provide that education will only drive the best and the brightest away. It’s no way to build success.”
The presidents of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) held a joint media conference this morning in Toronto. They were critical of the agreement the province extracted from the province’s English Catholic teachers yesterday, saying that deep cuts will only hurt education and communities.
“A government-imposed settlement for all education-sector workers makes no sense,” said Hahn. “It would fly in the face of the Premier’s repeated statements about his government respecting the collective bargaining process and it would serve to weaken the services our schools provide.”
Despite assurances from Dalton McGuinty that his budget would not mean cuts to education, school boards across the province have begun announcing hundreds of cuts to positions including teachers, educational assistants, school secretaries, social workers and psychologists.
“Our schools are the front line in building strong communities, healthy citizens and a strong economy,” said Terri Preston, Chair of the CUPE Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee. “School Boards are finalizing their budgets for next year and they are being forced to make devastating cuts to programs and staffing. That means fewer supports for the most vulnerable kids, which will increase dropout rates and cost our society dearly.”
“The Liberals have repeatedly said that they will respect the collective bargaining process, but they also keep threatening to legislate their will if negotiations don’t go their way,” said Preston. “That’s not respecting the process. That’s bullying, and it’s setting a bad example for everyone.”
CUPE Ontario will stand with communities to protect one of the best education systems because our students and our province deserve nothing less.
“We’re standing together today with teacher’s federations because Ontario students deserve a great education and Ontario parents demand a great educational system,” said Hahn. “Ontario is a great place with great schools. We’ll do everything in our abilities to protect and enhance our public schools. Ontario’s future depends on it.”
For information contact: Fred Hahn – 416-540-3979 [email protected]