A Statement from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’
Association Regarding CUPE Collective Bargaining
TORONTO, September 29, 2019—We are disappointed that the mediation with CUPE has ended without a tentative agreement. Until now, the Council of Trustees’ Associations has not made public any information with respect to collective bargaining, despite the significant media coverage sought out by CUPE. But it is important that parents understand why no collective agreement has yet been reached.
We bargained in good faith over very many days with the hope of reaching an agreement that served the needs of students, CUPE staff and taxpayers. During the negotiations we responded in a responsible way to many of the demands put forward by CUPE including on benefits, job security and a renewal of funding for additional staffing.
School boards are concerned about the impact that current levels of absenteeism in our schools have on our students and classrooms. The current sick/short term disability leave plan allows access to 131 days of leave – 11 of these are payable at 100% of salary and 120 are payable at 90% of salary. In many boards, resources are being diverted from students and programs to pay for sick/short term disability leave costs. Absenteeism rates are increasing and on average, CUPE members take in excess of 15 days of sick/short term disability leave each year. We are seeking changes to this plan that we hope will reduce absenteeism levels. To date, CUPE has refused to agree to any changes to the plan.
We regret that CUPE will be taking job action which includes a partial withdrawal of important services and supports for students. Our boards will be monitoring the situation with a particular emphasis on the impact that the withdrawal may have on student safety and well-being. We recognize the valuable work that CUPE members perform for our Catholic schools and we remain committed to achieving a collective agreement that meets the needs of all involved.
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association is the provincial voice for publicly funded Catholic education. Founded in 1930, OCSTA represents the interests of Catholic school boards that collectively educate approximately 570,000 students in Ontario, from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Sharon McMillan, Director of Communications /Tel: 416-460-7937/E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org