TORONTO, August 26, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CUPE’s Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU) will hold a media briefing to debunk education minister Stephen Lecce’s bad math and provide a fair and reasonable costing of their Proposals for Student Success and Good Jobs.
Laura Walton, educational assistant and president of CUPE’s Ontario
School Boards Council of Unions (OSBCU)
Dan Crow, researcher, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Education workers debunking Ontario education minister’s bad math
Friday, August 26 - 1:30 p.m.
Register in advance for this media availability via Zoom.
Instead of focusing on getting a fair deal done for workers, students, and Ontario families, education minister Stephen Lecce has been using his bully pulpit to fearmonger. The minister has grossly overstated the costs of education workers’ proposals by 92%.
The proposals for Student Success and Good Jobs that education workers have put forward are reasonable, necessary, and affordable.
Education workers’ Proposals for Student Success and Good Jobs, if accepted, would:
Guarantee increased services for students;
Protect service levels against cuts;
Help solve school boards’ problems retaining and recruiting workers; and
Increase government funding for children’s education after 10 years of real cuts.
Education workers are fighting for enough library workers to make sure school libraries are open and reading opportunities are available to kids all the time.
Education workers are fighting for every four- and five-year-old to get the play-based learning support that’s so necessary, support that would come from having an early childhood educator in every kindergarten classroom.
Education workers are fighting for adequate staffing of secretaries in school offices and enough lunchroom supervisors to keep students safe.
Education workers are fighting for more custodians, maintenance workers, and tradespeople to keep schools clean and begin to tackle the $16.3 billion repair backlog.
From 2012 to the end of 2021, wage increases for Ontario education workers totaled just 8.8%. Over the same period, using data from Government of Ontario budget documents, total inflation was 19.5%. This means education workers have already taken a 10.7% wage cut.
During the same period from 2012 to 2021, broader Public Sector workers had wage increases of 12.2%, Federally regulated unionized workplaces saw pay increases of 18.6%, Municipal sector workers got pay increases of 19.1%, and private sector employees wages grew 20.3%.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) calculated that Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government cut education funding by $800 per student (adjusted for inflation) over its first term. With two million students in Ontario’s schools, that’s a $1.6 billion cut in funding this year alone – money that should have been used to improve supports for students, increase staffing levels to guarantee services, and raise the wages of education workers.
In September and October 2021 CUPE-OSBCU education workers completed a survey on how being paid low wages affects their lives. 51.4% of respondents said they had to work at least one additional job to make ends meet. 91% said they have faced at least one form of financial hardship because of their low wages. 60% are laid off every summer with the majority needing unemployment insurance to survive (even in the best case, EI only replaces 55% of eligible earnings). 41% have been late making a bill payment because their wages are insufficient to meet their needs. 24% confirmed struggling to pay for gas or public transit (before the recent spike in gas prices). 27% of respondents reported having to cut back on food (also before the explosion of inflation in 2022).
Workers’ wage proposal is an increase of $3.25 per hour for a group that’s paid on average only $39,000 per year. The Ford government’s offer was just 33¢ to 53¢ an hour – the equivalent of the cost of less than one tank of gas per month.
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