Simcoe County's public and separate school boards have cancelled all
external permits in their facilites until further notice because of
province-wide work-to-rule labour action by Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE) representing custodial and maintenance workers.
The partial withdrawal of service by CUPE started Mon., Sept. 30. This
morning CUPE announced the union has provided five days notice and will
escalate job action "to a full-fledged walkout."
"I'll be frank: we had hoped work-to-rule would force the parties to
get together and agree to a deal. But that hasn't happened, and now
we're hearing stories that cause us great concern," said Laura Walton,
president of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions, which
negotiates centrally on behalf of the union's school board employees,
in a statement posted on CUPE's website. "Without any justification
whatsoever, some school boards are closing programs and sending workers
home. Some boards are paying parents to do the work of CUPE members.
Some are asking older students to collect younger students from the
school bus. Across the province, boards are cutting services and
putting students at risk."
A Sept. 29 statement from Ontario's Catholic School Trustees'
Association, noted mediation failed to reach a tentative agreement
because "CUPE has refused to agree to any changes" that impact current
levels of absenteeism.
"The current sick/short term disability leave plan allows access
to 131 days of leave - 11 of these are payable at 100 per cent of
salary and 120 are payable at 90 per cent of salary. In many boards,
resources are being diverted from students and programs to pay for
sick/short term disability leave costs," according to the statement.
"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