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Schools open after CUPE secures tentative deal, calls off strike

CUPE said though they had tried over the weekend to secure staffing level guarantees, the tentative deal is the same offer the government presented to the union last week.
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CUPE members and supporters join a demonstration in the east-end of Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. Ontario is seeking to have a walkout by education workers declared illegal by the Ontario Labour Relations Board and actions by union leaders declared unlawful.

Schools across Ontario were open on Monday, Nov. 21 after a weekend of talks between the government and education workers secured a tentative contract and averted a strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) announced on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 20 that it had a tentative deal and its 55,000 education worker members would be on the job Monday, instead of going on strike.

CUPE said though they had tried over the weekend to secure staffing level guarantees, the tentative deal is the same offer the government presented to the union last week.

However, Laura Walton, president of CUPE's Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said it was time to take the deal to the membership for a vote.

Ratification votes are set to begin on Thursday, Nov. 24 and are expected to go through next weekend.

The four-year deal comes with a $1-per-hour raise each year, or about 3.59 per cent annually.

Chandra Pasma, the member of provincial parliament (MPP) for Ottawa-West Nepean, told The Sam Laprade Show on Nov. 21 while she is relieved that kids across the province are in school, she is also frustrated with how the provincial government handled the situation. 

"They delayed so long and created so much uncertainty instead of coming to the table and negotiating a deal that ensured our kids stayed in school with the support they need," she said. 

Tom D'Amico, the director of education for the Ottawa Catholic School Board, told The Sam Laprade Show on Nov. 21 that he's pleased for families and students who have CUPE members back in schools, but the process isn't quite done yet. 

"It's a complicated process," said D'Amico on the next steps after both sides reached a tentative agreement. "We don't have a ratified agreement yet, but we are getting closer and the process for negotiations will continue as needed."

Listen to the full interview with MPP Chandra Pasma below:

Listen to the full interview with Tom D'Amico below:

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 21, 2022.

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