UPDATE: CUPE leaders endorse new deal for school support workers
Roughly 55,000 custodians, office secretaries, teacher assistants and other Ontario school support staff are one step closer to having a new collective agreement with the Ontario government.
On Saturday, about 400 representatives from a total of 114 CUPE Ontario locals voted in favour of endorsing a tentative, 2-year agreement reached earlier this week.
Ballot results were announced by CUPE at a news conference at a hotel near Pearson Airport.
Union leaders are recommending that their members ratify the contract in votes to be held around the province between now and January 14th.
Terri Preston, chair of the CUPE Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee, says the framework of the deal was developed through negotiations by individual school boards in the days leading up to the Holiday break.
Preston says the contract addresses issues surrounding job security, sick leave, and protection of pension contributions.
CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn voiced his frustration that the ‘Putting Students First Act,’ legislation that eventually forced a new contract on Ontario teachers, cast a shadow on CUPE bargaining talks.
Hahn says the threat of having a contract imposed on his members if a December 31st wasn’t met was ‘unfair.’
He called the bill ‘an attack on democratic bargaining rights’ and cautioned that politicians of all stripes should think twice about going back to the well in the event of a provincial election.
“All political parties need to understand that we will hold them to account in respecting these basic democratic rights,” he says.
If ratified, the agreement would go into effect as of September 1st, 2012. That means it would expire on the same date in 2014.