Ratification vote set for CUPE education workers

Member of CUPE and supporters rally outside MPP Andrew Dowie's officer in Windsor, November 4, 2022. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

After reaching a tentative deal with the province on Sunday, the union representing Ontario’s education workers has announced the time frame for a ratification vote.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 55,000 custodians, early childhood educators and educational assistants, confirmed it will hold an online ratification vote starting Thursday. Workers can vote until Monday, December 5, which will decide whether or not the union ratifies the agreement.

The tentative agreement includes a proposed wage increase of $1 per hour for each year of a four-year collective agreement. For the lowest-paid workers in the sector, the flat rate of $1 per hour, per year amounts to more than 4.2 per cent each year or 16.8 per cent compounded over four years, so those with a $39,000 salary would reach $43,899 by the final year of the agreement.

“No deal contains all we seek, but we are confident the bargaining committee secured all that could be secured,” read a statement from CUPE National President and Secretary-Treasurer Mark Hancock and Candace Rennick. “The bargaining of a flat rate increase itself is an achievement, one that helps lift the wages of the lowest paid workers in a way that bargaining straight percentage increases does not.”

CUPE’s Ontario School Boards Council of Union (OSBCU) said it will not comment on the tentative agreement until the ratification results are in. The results are expected to be released on December 6.