Ontario reaches tentative deal with CUPE education workers

The province has reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), ending a work-to-rule campaign by education workers.

CUPE and the province said the union will end their work to rule pending ratification of the agreement.

Details of the deal will not be released until its 55,000 members have had a chance to review and vote on the deal, the union said.

Education workers, also known as support staff, include custodians, educational assistants, early childhood educators, tradespeople, library staff and office administrators.

“The agreement recognizes the important work that education support workers do every day in our schools,” Education Minister Liz Sandals said in a statement.

“They play an integral role in ensuring our schools provide welcoming, safe and clean environments that support student success.”

CUPE members have been without a contract since Aug. 31 of last year.

The Liberal government had threatened to dock the pay of support staff represented by CUPE and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), as well as the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), if they didn’t end their work-to-rule campaigns.

Premier Kathleen Wynne had said that if the unions didn’t end their administrative strikes by Nov. 1, she would give permission to school boards to trigger five days’ notice to dock their pay.

The government wouldn’t say if it had given consent for school boards to send a letter that triggers the notice for docked pay.

That deadline came and went without the government’s consent being given, and bargaining with the remaining two unions is ongoing.

“At this time, bargaining continues and we look forward to being able to provide an update later today,” a statement from the Ministry of Education said on Monday.

Last week, ETFO began Phase 3 of a job action, withdrawing from all voluntary extracurricular activities.

The job action also includes no parent-teacher meetings and no class trips, and teachers are also not supervising or coaching any activities on any date.

ETFO and support staff represented by the OSSTF have been without contracts for 14 months.

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