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TORONTO, Ont. – After a four month struggle against an unprecedented lockout of unionized staff by the Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson (CESAR), Local 1281 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1281) successfully brought the employer to the bargaining table and secured a collective agreement.

Tuesday, January 28th, faced with the prospect of an Unfair Labour Practices hearing, CESAR returned to negotiating seriously with CUPE 1281. CESAR locked out its two unionized workers on September 30th.

The two parties met last week at the Labour Board where CUPE 1281’s application against CESAR was pending. By that evening both sides had settled in good faith and negotiated the necessary steps to return staff to work. The two CUPE 1281 members in the bargaining unit ratified the new collective agreement on Friday, January 31st.

The agreement reached last week is not substantially different from what was on the bargaining table on the date the lockout began.

Saira Chhibber, President of CUPE 1281 said, “CUPE 1281 is pleased that CESAR joined the union at the table to negotiate a fair settlement to its four month lockout.  Having CESAR’s full-time unionized staff back in their jobs is a relief for the workers who are eager to return to working on behalf of students.” 

She added that a lockout initiated by a student union was unprecedented. “We must remember that lockouts have harmful repercussions for students and the broader movement for social justice in Canada, in which student unions and labour unions are proud partners.”

With the lockout concluded, Chhibber said Local 1281 is looking forward to serving the needs of continuing education students and advancing an agenda of fairness and quality post-secondary education for all.

“What both the labour movement and the student movement in Ontario need as we move forward is to build on the ties that connect us, not undermine them.  This negotiated Collective Agreement is an important step in that direction,” she said.

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For more information, please contact:

Saira Chhibber, President CUPE 1281, [email protected] C: 416-906-6140

Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641