Nov 02, 2022

By Jane Brown

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We’ve learned union negotiators for Ontario’s 55,000 education workers have presented a counter-offer to the governing Ford PCs at Queen’s Park and that they will be back at the bargaining table Wednesday morning.

No word on what’s included but we found out Tuesday that Union President Laura Walton had said they would revise down their request for 11.7 percent annual increases over a three year deal.

The government has said it would return to the bargaining table if the mediator asks, and wanted to hear if CUPE’s new offer was “reasonable.”

Negotiations broke off Sunday after the Tories counter-offered with a 2.5 percent annual increase for education workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 percent for all others, and union leaders announced a strike for this Friday.

At Queen’s Park Tuesday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce proposed legislation to impose a contract on the workers and ban a strike.

The PCs hope to see the bill passed this week and also plan to use the Charter’s Notwithstanding Clause, with Premier Doug Ford saying he will do everything he can to make sure kids stay in class.

Should the day of protest go forward on Friday, most schools will close across the GTA, with some boards implementing online learning for the day.

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