TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Aug. 17, 2012) - The Liberal government's proposed legislation released yesterday that would strip school boards and their employees of basic rights are 'bullying tactics' that have no place anywhere in our education system, warned the President of the Ontario Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE Ontario), the union representing over 55,000 education support workers in the province.
"Nobody wins when a bully starts a fight. The only thing anyone can do is stand on the principle that what the bully is doing is wrong. The bullying tactics leveled against education support workers are contrary to everything that everyone in Ontario's education sector has been trying to achieve for years," says Fred Hahn.
"We need to work together to find a solution that respects the value of the work education workers do and that is suitable for students, families and our members," adds Hahn.
His remarks follow Education Minister Laurel Broten's 'preview' of legislation that, if passed, would force contracts on school board employees and school boards if they do not reach collective agreements before Sept. 1.
Candace Rennick, CUPE Ontario's Secretary-Treasurer, says education support workers "have always been committed to building and preserving quality education for Ontario's students. CUPE Ontario is equally committed to reaching out to the public and to our members to collectively build the best possible education system for Ontario's students."
"Bargaining collectively, negotiating collective agreements - these are basic rights says Terri Preston, Chair of the Ontario School Boards Coordinating Committee (OSBCC), the voice of School Board employees in CUPE Ontario. "In most cases we are only in the very beginning stages of bargaining with school boards across the Province. The fact that government wants to strip away that right by introducing legislation is appalling. We believe in a process that supports free collective bargaining, and where agreements are reached between employers and unions - not imposed by a third party" she added.
Education support workers are the backbone of the school. Every day our members ensure schools are safe, clean and have the resources they need to nurture young minds.
"Our members are dedicated to seeing students return to clean, safe and well-resourced classrooms in September. They have and continue to work very hard to ensure schools are ready in a few weeks," said Hahn.