Schools from Clarington to Pickering set to close next week – again – if no CUPE deal is reached

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Published November 16, 2022 at 5:15 pm

Schools in Durham Region are set to close once again if no tentative agreement is reached in the current impasse between CUPE-represented education workers and the provincial government.

CUPE served notice of legal strike action effective Monday, November 21, if no deal is reached before then. The Durham District Catholic School Board and the Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board, which represents public school students in Clarington, have both released statements that all schools would be closed for the duration of the strike, should it go that far.

“In the event of a full withdrawal of services by CUPE members our schools will be closed to all students for reasons of health and safety,” read a statement from the Durham Catholic board. “At this time, we recommend that parents and guardians have childcare arrangements in place for Monday, November 21 and for the duration of a strike.”

CUPE represents support staff including custodians, maintenance staff, school administrative assistants, clerical and technology staff, educational assistants, and LINC/English as a Second Language instructors, among other positions.

The board promised to provide parents and guardians with updates “as information becomes available.” In the event of school closures, notifications and more information will be sent directly via School Messenger email and updates will be posted at dcdsb.ca/collectivebargaining.

The Kawartha Pine Ride board described the labour situation as “challenging days” with outcomes “largely beyond our control.”

“Today, the Canadian Union of Public Employees have announced that their members will not be at work on Monday, November 21, 2022, as part of a province-wide full-withdrawal of service if they are unable to reach a new collective agreement with the provincial government. If this takes place, we will be unable to safely operate our schools for students, and all schools will be closed to students on Monday, November 21.”

This is an evolving situation, the statement continued, “that we will continue to follow closely in the coming days” and with negotiations continuing “we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached soon that would avert the potential strike.”

If schools are closed on Monday, child care centres will be permitted to remain open. Families should contact their child care operator directly for more information.

“We will provide confirmation to staff and families as soon as we are able about school status for Monday.”

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