The lowest paid education workers in Ontario have given strike notice

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The Ontario government introduced legislation on Monday to impose a contract on CUPE’s education workers, including librarians, custodians, and early childhood educators. The legislation will prevent the education workers in the province from going on strike.

Protest Against The Legislation

CUPE members are taking a stand against the legislation. A union representing approximately 55,000 Ontario education workers said Monday that its members would vow off the job on Friday, November 4, 2022.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) gave a five days strike notice on Sunday. CUPE’s decision to go ahead puts pressure on the Ontario government to change its terms.

Laura Walton, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employee’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said whether workers continue to protest after Friday “will be left up to what happens.”

“I am so proud because our members have said, ‘Enough is enough,”’ Walton said.

CUPE has said it will explore every avenue to fight the bill. Still, the government said it intends to use the notwithstanding clause to keep the eventual law in force despite any constitutional challenges. The clause allows the legislature to override portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said, ““We want to make sure that there’s no issues, litigation or otherwise, that could essentially get these kids back out of class because of strikes locally or provincially”.

“This proposal, this legislation, provides absolute stability for kids to the extent we can control it and ensures they remain in a classroom, that nothing, nothing at all now or in the future could prevent a child’s right to be in a classroom learning”, he added.

The government had been offering raises of two percent yearly for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25 percent for all others.

Lecce said the new, four-year deal would give 2.5 percent annual raises to workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 percent raises for all others.

Protest is Ongoing on social media

After introducing the legislation, the Canadian people are protesting against it. With the hashtag “Onted,” people are raising their voices on Twitter and supporting the CUPE’s members.

@maritstiles wrote on Twitter: ” Ford & his cabinet showed up to hear their minister expound for an hour, then all take off the moment the NDP Education Critic starts speaking, sharing direct # stories from education assistants, custodians etc. so deeply disrespectful”.

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