The results of a ratification vote involving education workers across the province will be released on Monday.
Around 55,000 custodians, education assistants, early childhood educators, and administrative staff have been voting on the tentative deal reached with the province two weeks ago.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) have recommended that their members accept the four-year contract which will see them receive annual wage increases of 3.59 per cent.
“This tentative agreement is our first in 10 years to be freely bargained instead of forced on us with legislative interference,” said Laura Walton,president of CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU) in a statement released Saturday. “For the last week and a half, frontline education workers have been deciding if what’s in this tentative agreement is acceptable.”
Walton said the deal left much to be desired but was the best they could get for their workers.
“The biggest gap at the end was no new funding to guarantee that services will be provided in schools for students,” she said back on Nov. 20 when the two sides reached a deal that avoided a second provincial walkout.
The union was looking for $100 million in guarantees of higher staffing levels for educational assistants, librarians, custodians and secretaries, as well as an early childhood educator in every kindergarten classroom and not just classes that have more than 16 students.
CUPE staged a two-day walkout last month against the backdrop of significant fines after the Ford government passed legislation that imposed a new contract on education workers while banning their right to strike. The back-to-work legislation also included the notwithstanding clause in a bid to prevent any legal challenges.
The legislation was repealed and both sides returned to mediated bargaining.
If CUPE members vote to reject the offer, both sides could return to the bargaining table and the union could issue another five day strike notice.