On Sunday afternoon, I typically finish crafting my weekly communication updating everyone on “The Week Ahead.” The reality for this Sunday, October 6th 2019 is that I am not certain at this point what the week ahead will look like. Earlier this week, a message was sent to all of our families alerting you to the potential of a strike. At the time I am writing this sentence, negotiations between CUPE and the province are still currently going on. The board is treating the developments in this situation much like we would alerting families about inclement weather. In the hopes that a deal can be reached in the middle of the night, the board will not close schools until it is absolutely necessary to do so. The deadline to provide adequate notice to our transportation partners is 6AM. If we learn any developments sooner, I will share with you as soon as I am able to. I will also check the board website tomorrow morning and send out another Newswire updating our families where we stand at that point.
During today’s mass, the second reading of Saint Paul to Timothy included this reminder:
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control.”
At Saint Peter our school family, including our parent partners, can be encouraged that God has blessed all of us with many gifts. We will make our way through these uncertain times as we journey together, led and comforted by God’s Spirit. Our grade 7s prepared for confirmation at the information meeting and the retreat this week. They were reminded about both who they are, and whose they are. We would be wise to recall the same truths during these challenging times, no matter where we are on our personal faith journey. However the week begins, we are one Catholic learning community united in our faith and #CalledToBelong.
Praying that we are all together tomorrow again as a school family,
The message that was sent out earlier in the week by the WCDSB…
Dear Parent or Guardian,
On Wednesday September 25th, 2019, we received word that CUPE would be initiating a “work to rule” campaign in all of our schools and work places on Monday September 30th, 2019. We are writing today to provide an update on the CUPE strike action which is currently taking place in our schools.
At WCDSB, CUPE represents the following working groups: Administrative Assistants, Early Childhood Educators, Educational Assistants, Personal Support Works, Child and Youth Workers, Lunch Hour Supervisors, Library Technicians, Communicative Disorder Assistants, Payroll and Accounting Associates and Computer Technicians. In each case CUPE had informed us of “struck work”, which are duties that might otherwise be performed by these individuals, which is no longer occurring.
In all cases, our school safety and a Christ-centred learning environment remains of paramount importance to us, and our administrators are working diligently to ensure that we are compensating as best we can for the duties not being performed. Having said that, it is important for all to acknowledge that it is not “business as usual” across the board, and in some cases compromises have been required, until we are through the job action.
This morning we received notice that a full CUPE strike may commence on Monday October 7th, if an agreement is not reached this weekend. If the strike proceeds, this will mean CUPE members will not report to work. As CUPE represents 1100 of our school based staff, we would not be able to safely operate our schools. Therefore, IF the strike proceeds, we will be proceeding to closing our schools commencing Monday October 7th, 2019.
The declaration of and continuation of the strike is a result of central (provincial-level) negotiations and decisions that will be made at that level. At WCDSB we do not currently control the decisions regarding the strike or its remedy. Since there is a possibility that schools may be closed for an indefinite period of time, we recommend that you immediately begin making alternate plans for the care of your children, in the event that the strike proceeds.
We hope you find this update helpful. Please note that updates are regularly being posted to our website www.wcdsb.ca and there is a Frequently Asked Questions section there as well, which may prove helpful. In the meanwhile, we offer our prayers that CUPE and the government are able to reach a fast, fair and respectful collective agreement.
Loretta Notten — Director of Education