CAUT condemns Ontario government’s back-to-work legislation of CUPE’s underpaid education workers
(Ottawa – October 31, 2022) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns the legislation introduced today by the Ontario government that will force a contract on CUPE’s 55,000 education workers and prevent a legal strike that was to start Friday.
“The Ontario government’s legislation is an illegal, unconstitutional interference in the right to free collective bargaining and the right to strike,” said CAUT Executive Director David Robinson. “CAUT joins with our colleagues in CUPE and in the broader labour movement in condemning this attack on basic rights and stands ready to support a challenge to the legislation.”
The CUPE workers that include support staff, education assistants, early childhood educators and caretakers provide essential support in schools but earn on average $39,000 per year — among the lowest paid workers in the sector. The union is seeking increases for the workers which amount to 40 to 67 cents an hour.
The government’s final offer to the union increased wages only slightly to 2.5-per-cent each year for workers earning less than $43,000, and a 1.5-per-cent annual hike for those earning more. The union had also asked for much-needed student support such as having an early childhood educator in all kindergarten classrooms. The Ontario government has given no guarantees these demands would be met. CUPE says it will be looking at every avenue to fight the back-to-work legislation.