Please see the message below from OPSEU President JP Hornick and Vice President Laurie Nancekivell
I want to reiterate OPSEU/SEFPO’s support for any Sector 3 Boards of Education workers who choose to walk off the job on Friday to stand in solidarity with their CUPE colleagues and to stand up for the future of your own bargaining rights.
What the Ford Government is doing to take away the rights of education workers is appalling. We know that many education workers live close to or even below the poverty line, and it is time for this government to treat you with dignity and respect.
Here are some quick answers to questions you and your members may have about Friday’s protest.
What is the plan?
On Friday, November 4, if you are not attending work, join the nearest CUPE picket rally. Click here to find the nearest CUPE rally to you by postal code.
What do I tell my employer about my time off?
Recognizing that everyone has different absence reporting systems, we recommend that everyone send an email to their principal at the end of the work day today (Thursday) stating the following: “As a member of OPSEU/SEFPO, I will not be attending work tomorrow as protest against the government’s legislation and in solidarity with CUPE education workers.”
How long will this last?
This is a one-day protest in solidarity with CUPE.
Will I face any fines?
OPSEU/SEFPO education workers are not captured by Bill 28, the legislation the Ford Government has introduced to suspend collective bargaining and Charter rights for CUPE education workers. Bill 28 imposes steep fines for CUPE members who participate in strike activity. However, individual School Boards or the Government could choose to apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to seek an order or penalties for OPSEU/SEFPO and other unions, leaders, or individuals who participate in a strike. OPSEU/SEFPO will ensure that members will not be responsible for any financial penalties, costs or fines.
Can I face any discipline or the possibility of termination?
The short answer is yes. Depending on your own situation, you may experience discipline or the loss of a day’s pay. OPSEU/SEFPO will vigorously defend and support your rights if this happens: through legal and political action.
Who can I call for help if I have an issue?
OPSEU/SEFPO has set up on emergency response line. If you have any issues, call: 647-480-3020. You can also contact your local president.
Do I have to participate in the protest?
No. There is strength in numbers, but it is your choice, depending on your situation. There are many ways to show solidarity, including wearing purple or an OPSEU/SEFPO t-shirt/hoodie.
Whatever you choose to do Friday, your union will support you. We have your back and we are stronger together.
JP Hornick, President
Laurie Nancekivell, First Vice-President/Treasurer
Our Local Executive Officers will be joining picket lines. We welcome all the support. I will send out our expected times and locations when we have confirmed them.