Labour Action: Update

Sunday, October 6, 2019 — CUPE Deal

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are happy to convey that the province and CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) have collectively bargained a new labour agreement over the weekend. Our CUPE employee group, which includes educational assistants, custodians, maintenance workers, clerical staff and others, will be returning to work on Monday, October 7, 2019.

We are equally pleased to inform everyone that all Durham District School Board elementary and secondary schools will be open on Monday, October 7, 2019, and regular classes will proceed.

Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this process. We look forward to seeing our students and all staff on Monday morning.

 

 

UPDATES: 

Friday, October 4, 2019 — DDSB Letter to Parents/Guardians regarding CUPE Strike Action — School Closures
 

Dear Parents and Guardians

Following up on our recent messaging regarding the potential for school closures, after extensive consideration, we are informing parents and guardians that, should a provincial agreement not be reached over the weekend and CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees) staff begin their announced full strike, Durham District School Board (DDSB) elementary and secondary schools will be closed to students on Monday, October 7, 2019 and thereafter until further notice.

We share your concern and disappointment with this development, and wanted to share our plans as soon as possible to allow parents, guardians and students to make any necessary arrangements.

To summarize, in the event of a CUPE Strike, effective Monday, October 7, 2019:

  • All elementary and secondary schools will be closed
  • Select DDSB child care centres will remain open until further notice. Please contact your child care provider for details. For a list of DDSB child care provider contacts, visit https://www.ddsb.ca/en/family-and-community-support/early-years-programs-child-care.aspx
  • All DDSB/DSTS transportation services will be cancelled
  • Continuing Education including night school, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) will be closed
  • Continuing Education Adult Day School will remain open until further notice

It is highly unusual for the DDSB to close schools to our students. This has been, and continues to be, an exceptional and rapidly changing situation, but student and staff safety is always our first priority. The decision to close schools has not been taken lightly, and is being made because we do not believe we can provide the necessary safe and secure learning environments for all students should a full CUPE strike occur.

Safety-related concerns and considerations include:

  • supervision of students
  • administering health and medical supports and care for students
  • safe operation of water and sanitation systems, including legislated water flushing
  • conditions of school buildings and classrooms
  • overall safety and security

Negotiations are reportedly continuing this weekend. We are optimistic that a provincial agreement can be reached to prevent further disruption to our students and families.

We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information. We will provide confirmation to parents about school status for Monday as soon as we have verified details on the outcome of this weekend’s negotiations. This will likely be on Sunday evening, distributed through School Messenger.

Additionally, the most recent information and updates will continue to be found on our website: https://www.ddsb.ca/en/labour-action-update.aspx or by following us on Twitter @DurhamDSB.

We appreciate your understanding as we all work together throughout this ongoing process. Once again, we assure you that all decisions that we have undertaken have been made with your child’s safety as our number one priority.

Sincerely, 

Michael Barrett
Chair of the Board of Trustees 

Lisa Millar
Director of Education

 

Thursday, October 3, 2019 — DDSB Letter to Parents/Guardians regarding escalating job action and alternate child care arrangements

Dear Parents and Guardians

CUPE announced that it intends to escalate job action from work-to-rule to a full strike, effective Monday, October 7, 2019, should a negotiated settlement not be reached prior to that date.  In our Board, CUPE represents educational assistants, custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries and others.

Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to make alternate child care arrangements in order to be prepared for possible closure of schools, beginning Monday, October 7, 2019.

We appreciate your understanding as we all work together throughout this ongoing and evolving process.

We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information. As always, the most recent information or updates can be found on our website: https://www.ddsb.ca/en/labour-action-update.aspx or follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB. In some circumstances, we may be sharing further information electronically through the School Messenger system.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 — Alternate Child Care Arrangements

Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to make alternate child care arrangements in order to be prepared for possible closure of schools, beginning Monday, October 7, 2019.

In our Board, CUPE represents educational assistants, custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries and others.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 — Update
CUPE announced today that it intends to escalate job action from work-to-rule to a strike, effective Monday, October 7, should a deal not be reached. DDSB is confirming details and contingency plans are being considered. Information will be shared with families once available.
Wednesday, October 2, 2019 — Letter to Elementary School Parents/Guardians Regarding Visiting Schools During Labour Action

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The purpose of this communication is to provide you with some information regarding parent/guardian visits to our elementary schools during this time of labour action.

As you are likely aware, CUPE support staff in our schools are currently in the midst of job action in the form of “Work-To-Rule,” which means a partial withdrawal of some regular duties at the school level. Presently, select tasks are not being performed by support staff such as custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries, and educational assistants, and others. However, a full withdrawal of services has been announced by CUPE which would go into effect Monday, October 7, 2019 unless a full negotiated settlement is reached prior to that date.

We are informing visitors to the school that they may experience longer-than-usual delays in being buzzed into the school, as there will not be a staff member monitoring the intercom at all times.

For this reason we encourage parents to limit any unnecessary visits to the school, and when possible, to call ahead to arrange appointments or visits.

We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work together to support our students and school communities during this time. We also understand the concerns of some parents/guardians, students and staff. We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information. As always, the most recent information or updates can be found on our website: https://www.ddsb.ca/en/labour-action-update.aspx or follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB. In some circumstances we may be sharing further information electronically through the School Messenger system.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 — DDSB Letter to Parents/Guardians regarding permits for Community Use of Schools between September 30th and October 13th, 2019
 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are providing the following update regarding the recent legal job action undertaken by our support staff, who are represented by CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).  As was widely reported in the media, this past weekend’s negotiations at the provincial level between the government, the Trustees’ Associations and CUPE ended without an agreement.

This resulted in CUPE Education Workers throughout our schools, including custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries, and educational assistants, among others, beginning the legal job action of Work-To-Rule effective yesterday, September 30, 2019.

As always, the health and safety of our staff and students remains our top priority as we continue to monitor the situation.

Among other actions, current Work-To-Rule activities include:

  • School secretarial staff will not be performing some duties, including answering door buzzers at school.  (Important: This may result in some delays in responding to school door buzzers. We suggest that parents and visitors allow extra time and be patient when visiting our schools.)
  • Custodial staff will continue cleaning classrooms and student washrooms, but will not be cleaning hallways, offices, staff washrooms, cafeterias or gymnasiums
  • Educational Assistants will not be performing some duties, including the preparation of class materials, but will continue to support the health, safety and well-being of our students

Due to these current Work-To-Rule activities, we have had to make some decisions regarding Community Use of Schools.  At this time, permits for Community Use of Schools between September 30th and October 13th, 2019 have been cancelled pending further notice.  However, all after hours student instructional programs will continue.  These cancelled permits will not impact the use of any of our schools for the Advanced Polling and Polling Stations for the upcoming federal election.

We must also plan for additional developments should they arise. In the event of further job action, we will continue to closely monitor conditions daily to ensure operations at our schools remain safe for students and staff.

We understand the concerns of some parents/guardians, students and staff at this time. We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information. As always, the most recent information or updates can be found on our website: https://www.ddsb.ca/en/labour-action-update.aspx or follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB. In some circumstances we may be sharing further information electronically through the School Messenger system.

We remain hopeful that a provincial agreement can be reached soon.

Durham District School Board

Sunday, September 29, 2019 — OPSBA News Release - Update Regarding Negotiations with CUPE
 OPSBA News Release - Update Regarding Negotiations with CUPE - pdf
Friday, September 27, 2019 — DDSB Letter to Parents/Guardians Regarding Upcoming CUPE Job Action

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Given recent developments surrounding the status of the provincial labour situation, we would like to  share an update, specifically with respect to our support staff, who are represented by CUPE (Canadian Union of Public Employees).

Currently, there are ongoing labour negotiations with education unions across Ontario. As part of this process, you may have seen recent media reports regarding strike action by our CUPE members.

As mentioned above, CUPE represents support staff in our elementary and secondary schools. Their membership includes custodians, maintenance workers, secretaries, and educational assistants, among others. All of these work groups would be affected by any job action.

We have been notified that CUPE will begin legal job action activities this Monday, September 30, 2019, with “Work-To-Rule” actions, which means partial withdrawal of services. This is their legal right under the School Boards’ Collective Bargaining Act and the Labour Relations Act. We respect their rights and the process.

We appreciate that parents/guardians may have concerns about any labour disruptions at school and how they may affect our students. We want to assure you that we believe normal school operations for students can and will continue, and that at this time, any visible evidence of the job action at the school level will be kept to a minimum.

Families with students with special education needs may have additional concerns related to provision of programing and supports in the context of a job action.  We want to reassure our community that we are attuned to the unique needs of these students and will continue to work with school teams and families in this regard.

We must also plan for additional developments should they arise. In the event of a full withdrawal of service by our support staff, we would closely monitor conditions daily to ensure operations at our schools remain safe for students and staff.

We understand the concerns of some parents/guardians, students and staff at this time. We will continue to follow this situation closely and are committed to providing you with accurate and timely information. As always, the most recent information or updates can be found on our website: ddsb.ca or follow us on Twitter @DurhamDSB. In some circumstances we may be sharing further information electronically through the School Messenger system.

We remain hopeful that a provincial agreement can be reached soon.


Durham District School Board

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For more information on Strengthening Positive Labour Relations, please visit the OPSBA website by clicking on their logo.