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Oshawa, Ont. – The Durham Catholic District School Board’s plan to cut 23 school board support workers will have a severe impact on students attending 52 schools in the Catholic school board, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“In addition to closing five schools, which will see the loss of up to 29 support staff – the board has just informed us they are planning to cut 23 more frontline workers,” said Don Bryans, president of CUPE 218. “In addition to previous lay-offs, we are losing roughly 10 per cent of current school board staff. The board and trustees must explain how they plan to deliver the same quality education with a 10 per cent reduction in support staff.”

CUPE 218 represents 600 custodians, clerical and educational assistants (EAs) at the Durham Catholic District School Board.  The Catholic board finalized the closing of five schools on May 26 and less than three weeks later told the union of their plans to lay off more staff to balance the board’s budget. The Catholic board plans to approve their school budget, including the recently announced cuts, at their June 23 board meeting.

“The Catholic board likely knew they were planning to lay off more workers when they were finalizing their plans to close five schools,” said Bryans. “The board even asked us for our assistance and cooperation during the school closings, and now they want to lay off even more staff. Either the board is not being upfront or they’re trying to balance their books on the backs of workers, and as a result students will suffer. This is unacceptable and shows a complete lack of leadership at the Catholic board.”

Catholic school board workers will fight the board’s proposed cuts. The union is planning a community rally at the school board meeting on June 23. CUPE 218 will work with parents and community members to urge Catholic board trustees to show true leadership by investing in Catholic schools instead of cutting even more frontline school board workers.


For further information, please contact:

Don Bryans, CUPE 218 President, 905-439-2135
Linda Newman, CUPE National Representative, 905-433-4760
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999