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The Cornwall Standard-Freeholder

Thu Oct 25 2012 

Section: Editorial/Opinion

Column: Letters to the Editor

On Sept. 11, the Ontario government passed Bill 115 — the putting Students First Act — stripping the right to free collective bargaining of all education workers across Ontario.

While much of the media focus has been on the impact of Bill 115 on teachers, I think it’s important for the public to know that this is not just about teachers.

It affects over 55,000 CUPE members working as custodians, secretaries, education assistants, student support workers, librarians, early childhood educators, tradesman, and all other school board support staff across Ontario.

Education support staff are the backbone of our schools. They ensure our children can learn in s safe and clean environment and provide the additional supports students need to succeed.

Bill 115 seeks to impose an agreement that was reached between the government and a teacher’s union. Unfortunately, treating everyone equally often creates an inequitable result. It is clear the impact of the cuts reached in the agreement will have greater consequences on support staff, who are among the lowest paid workers in the education system.

CUPE members have worked hard to help build a world-class education system. Bill 115 is an unprecedented attack on workers’ rights and is creating an unnecessary crisis in our schools, hurting students, families and communities.

What’s next? Everyone should stand up and work together to advocate for those who support student success and defend the basic rights of all workers — our communities depend on it.

Joel Richer CUPE Local 4154 Cornwall