APUS statement on OSBCU campaign

As the students’ union representing part-time undergraduate students at the University of Toronto, APUS represents a large number of student parents, who know well how important it is that school students are well-supported and that schools are healthy and safe environments.

On Monday, education workers, including education assistants, school library workers, early childhood educators, and school custodians, are set to strike on Monday, as they look to secure a fair contract from the provincial government.

Just weeks ago, the provincial government tried to take away their right to a fair bargaining process, by passing a law to impose a contract upon them and outlawing action by their union, but pushback from the whole Canadian labour movement and beyond forced the government to reinstate the rights of these workers. These tactics remind us of this same government’s attempt to undermine the collective organizing of students, a law that we were also able to defeat as the student movement challenged the law in court. We believe that the provincial government must learn from both of these disputes that collective organizing, whether by workers or students, is a fundamental right that is essential to a strong democracy.

The 55,000 education workers whose contract is at stake are disproportionately women and from racialized backgrounds, and have had their real-terms pay cut for a number of years, with over half of their members reporting that they have to work a second job to get by.

These workers are now pushing the government to guarantee that there are enough education workers in schools to ensure that the services that Ontario’s children need are improved and protected. We know that insufficient support staff in schools will disproportionately affect children with disabilities and children from underprivileged backgrounds, and that these proper supports are essential to the education children need.

Go to GoodDealNow.ca to send a message that #39KIsNotEnough and it’s time for a good deal for education workers now.