The Ontario government has introduced legislation that will prevent education workers in the province from going on strike. Despite this though, CUPE members are taking a stand and vow to be off the job to protest on Friday, November 4, 2022. The legislation from the Ontario government is sparking outrage amongst parents, teachers and politicians, who are concerned about living wages and workers’ rights.
Kids will be in class. Enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/HFF0OZi2sN
— Stephen Lecce (@Sflecce) October 31, 2022
It comes after The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing 55,000 education workers in the province, gave a five days strike notice on Sunday if a deal wasn’t reached with the government by Friday. CUPE's decision to go ahead puts pressure on the Ontario government to change their terms.
Any conservative who votes to deny CUPE workers the right to strike should try living on $39K/year
— Dan Rosenberg (@danrosenbergnet) October 31, 2022
I stand in solidarity with CUPE. Collective bargaining is a constitutional right.
If we don’t wildcat over this, labour will never have power again. https://t.co/G3SS82zJaP
— Anne-Marie Longpre (@mslongpre) October 31, 2022
By defying the Ford government, these CUPE members are defending everyone's basic rights — and I hope that does not go unacknowledged. https://t.co/B2cH38PJNz
— Luke Savage (@LukewSavage) October 31, 2022
While Doug Ford hoards billions, he tells the lowest paid education workers the cupboard is bare.
Now he’s willing to trample their rights with legislation rather than raise the wages of the people who support students and schools every day.
Ontario deserves better. #onpoli
— SpooookyStiles👻 (@maritstiles) October 31, 2022
The pumpkin he’s gutting and carving is labour rights.
Ignore his goofy smile and folksy bullshit.
His government is crushing labour rights and that’s bad for education and workers across Ontario—and bad for you. https://t.co/LSzVqrb1iE
— David Moscrop (spooky newscycle edition 🎃🗞) (@David_Moscrop) October 31, 2022
Here’s what you need to know about education workers:
1/2 have a second job to make ends meet
1/3 rely on food banks to survive
2/3 are women working on low wages
39K/yr is average salary
They make up the backbone of our schools. Ford gov’t thinks they don’t deserve better.
— 👻 Bootila Karpoche (@BhutilaKarpoche) October 31, 2022
@Sflecce good luck finding 55,000 education workers when we all leave to find jobs where we are paid our worth! There isn’t even enough support workers to cover 1 of us for a day. CUPE members are fed up and have nothing to lose!#CUPE #39kIsNotEnough #FireLecce #onted
— KellsDani (@dani_kells) October 31, 2022
Can Ü imagine CuPE workers who make less than 40-grand a year could have gotten their 3 dollar an hour raise with the 200-dollars @Sflecce and @fordnation used to bribe parents with? Instead they are lowballing them into poverty with lame slogans like "Kids will be in Class"
— Jax Lind (@jaxielin) October 31, 2022
As you hear about CUPE strike action, never forget that @Sflecce took $465 million out of the education budget to pay parents, when $235 million would have avoided a strike. #39KIsNotEnough #onted #IStandWithCUPE
— Michaela Kargus (@ClancyMichaela) October 31, 2022
You know how you keep kids in class? Meet CUPE's demands, pay our staff a living wage, and they will GLADLY stay in our schools to educate our kids. Ball's in your court, Stephen. #SupportOntarioSchools #SupportOntarioEducators https://t.co/qrbDTsuarl
— Stephanie Fritz (@MsFritzzle) October 31, 2022
They, @Sflecce and @fordnation , never negotiated in good faith since they always knew they would legislate ( violate the Charter ) CUPE to force their acceptance of this "deal". All while continuing to vilify educators and bribing parents with money that should be going to edu.
— overburn (@overburn) October 31, 2022
As we deal with the anxiety of our healthcare & public education system collapsing, remember it’s not that Ontario can’t afford to pay its teachers, education workers, nurses & doctors equitably. Ford is sitting on a massive $8B surplus, projected to grow to $44B #onpoli
— Jean Yoon (윤 진 희 or 尹真姬) (@jean_yoon) October 30, 2022
Two men making a combined $375k/yr, are attempting to crush 55,000 education workers of Ontario, who are 71-75% women, making an average of $39k/yr.
Let that sink in.
Lecce & Ford are not on the side of our schools, or our kids & families. They’re cutting school funding, too!
— Ontario Parent Action Network (@parentaction4ed) October 31, 2022
CUPE members have “taken one for the team” for years. As the lowest-paid education workers doing some of the most important jobs in schools, they should not have to continue to work 2-3 jobs to pay rent.
Nobody wants the chaos of a strike.
Please bargain fairly, @Sflecce. https://t.co/GWnJPGoX5G
— Kimiko Shibata 🇨🇦 🦄 (@ESL_fairy) October 30, 2022
CUPE and the other education unions are 100% in the right. Their members are extremely brave for standing up to a rights-denying Conservative government and they are fully deserving of our support. https://t.co/LfCs552MHB
— Jamie Shilton (@j_shilton) October 31, 2022
People truly can’t grasp how fundamental support staff are for education workers. The perception really seems to be that teachers can just take over the roles (as if they aren’t juggling enough).
I’m glad CUPE is taking it to Ford and Lecce. Enough is enough.
— Kwnhausen (@KwnStorm) October 31, 2022
Robert Drummond, professor emeritus at York University’s Department of Politics, says the Ford government is intent on maintaining a tight budget system that doesn’t involve public sector wage increases on a high level, despite currently showing a budget surplus.
“They’re trying to ensure that whatever settlements they make are pretty small amounts of increase and the union is pretty apart on that,” he tells Yahoo Canada News.
They also know most students would be disturbed if schools were closed after the two years of the pandemic, so they’re reckoning that they have a stronger hand with the union than the union has with them.Robert Drummond, Professor Emeritus at York University’s Department of Politics
He suspects a lot of people will find the move enforcing back-to-school legislation to be unfair, but there are also many who recognize that the opportunity to keep schools open is important and that the wage increase the union is hoping for is unrealistic from a government that’s already imposing strict austerity measures on public wages. The legislation will likely pass as they hold the majority of the legislature.
This wouldn’t be the first time such a move was used to divert issues caused by striking workers.
In 2018, the newly elected Progressive Conservatives used back-to-work legislation to end a strike at York University, which involved teaching and research assistants.
In 2008, the Liberal government passed legislation forcing striking transit workers back to work.