Media advisory - CUPE Ontario school support staff annual meeting will be instructional for McGuinty Liberals

    NIAGARA FALLS, ON, April 16 /CNW Telbec/ - "Ontario's self-styled
'education premier' and education minister should pay close attention to this
week's annual meeting of school support staff. Prone to forgetting that school
support staff are important to quality education, the debate on education
issues from the perspective of school support workers will be very
instructional for the McGuinty Liberals," says Sid Ryan, the Ontario president
of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
    The leadership of CUPE's school board sector will be debating political
mobilizing and bargaining strategies at the annual CUPE Ontario School Board
Coordinating Committee (OSBCC) conference in Niagara Falls beginning Tuesday,
April 17. The Liberal minister of education, Kathleen Wynne, is scheduled to
address conference delegates on Friday, April 20, 2007 at 4:30 p.m.
    Ryan is responding to recent comments by Premier Dalton McGuinty lauding
his government's record on education and, in particular, maintaining labour
peace in the sector.
    "McGuinty is patting himself on the back for avoiding teachers' strikes.
What he conveniently ignores is that a flawed education funding formula, that
doesn't provide enough dollars to maintain adequate custodial, secretarial and
educational assistant (EA) staffing levels, is fueling all the strikes in the
sector. The result of inadequate funding is not just layoffs, but more and
more work, such as supervision being downloaded onto the backs of CUPE
    Twenty-one hundred members of CUPE 218, who work for the Durham public
board, just ended a two-week strike, and yesterday, 700 members of CUPE 1483
(Dufferin-Peel catholic board) voted 95% to take strike action. In May 2006,
more than 1,100 EAs with the Thames Valley school board were on strike three
weeks to gain additional classroom time with special needs students.
    "When it comes to adequate funding for school operations, special
education, cleaning and administration, and recognizing the contribution
support staff make in our schools, the McGuinty Liberals seem to have much in
common with the predecessor Tories; it is not a priority for them," says Ryan.

                     CUPE OSBCC conference information:

                          April 17 - April 21, 2007
                        Sheraton Fallsview (Ballroom)
                           Niagara Falls, Ontario

                           Guest speakers include:

    Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Education Friday, April 20, 2007    4:30 p.m.
    Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President      Thursday, April 19, 2007  1:30 p.m.

    CUPE represents nearly 50,000 school board support staff across the

For further information:

For further information: Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, (416)

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - Ontario Regional Office

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