CUPE leaders unite to push through Ontario education workers sell-off as grassroots call for ‘no’ and strike resumption – WSWS | Team Cansler

All education workers and their supporters who would like to join and help build the Ontario Education Workers Rank-and-File Committee (OEWRFC) can contact the committee at, join this OEWRFC Facebook Groupor fill out the form at the end of this article.

After the Canadian Union of Public Workers’ Union (CUPE) agreed on a dodgy sell-out deal for 55,000 Ontario education workers on Sunday, the fact became ever clearer that workers face a battle on two fronts. Janitors, educational assistants, educators and administrative workers, who earn the average poverty wage of $39,000 a year, face the ruthless attack on their wages and working conditions by the far-right Ford administration, and the complicity of the entire union bureaucracy in pushing through another round massive concessions.

OSBCU President Laura Walton (center) [Photo: OSBCU]

The abysmal settlement, tabled by Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) negotiating unit chair Laura Walton, includes a pathetic annual hourly “increase” in wages of $1 per year, an annual increase of 3 .59 percent for four years. With official inflation at 7 percent and far higher price increases for essentials, that slap in the face is tantamount to a huge pay cut. It’s less than a third of the original demand of 11.7 percent collected by OSBCU.

As if imposing another real wage cut after a decade of falling wages wasn’t bad enough, union officials agreed with Tory PM Doug Ford to set up a joint “task force” to tackle “absenteeism”. They also agreed that the Ford government would stop investing money in hiring additional staff. In short, the CUPE bureaucrats support robbing workers of their purchasing power, monitoring sick leave and imposing even more detention on already overwhelmed and underpaid workers. They are doing this because the deal secures, and even deepens, the bureaucracy’s privileged position in the “industrial relations” system, and because they feared the upsurge in working-class struggle sparked by the education workers’ strike earlier this month.

If it is true that the OSBCU leadership stabbed the workers in the back by agreeing to this sell-off and recommending its ratification, then it must be added that Tuesday’s statement by the national CUPE leadership was tantamount to the knife in the back to tear wound. With undisguised cynicism, Mark Hancock, national president of CUPE (2018 salary: $170,000) and national secretary and treasurer, Candice Rennick (2018 salary: $164,000), announced that the leadership of Canada’s largest union “is committed to reaching Ontario’s education workers.” congratulated on a preliminary agreement” covering “all that could be secured.”

The two bureaucrats, who earn more than four times what the average education worker earns in a year, continued: “The OSBCU negotiating committee was able to reach a landmark wage agreement after more than a decade of legal wage restraint. The agreed wage increase of $1 per hour each year of a four-year collective agreement results in wage increases averaging 3.59% in your collective bargaining unit, or about 15.2% over four years. For the lowest-paid workers in the education sector, the flat rate of $1 per hour per year amounts to more: 4.2% per year, or 16.8% over four years.

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