Labour Updates 2022-23: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
For ongoing updates, please visit www.ugdsb.ca/labour
The UGDSB is committed to providing information to our families in a transparent manner. Please see below for answers to the latest frequently asked questions.
What level of bargaining is currently taking place?
- Bargaining takes place at both the provincial and local levels. Education unions are currently bargaining at the provincial level.
Please clarify which unions represent which employee groups in the Upper Grand District School Board.
- In the UGDSB, CUPE represents custodial and maintenance staff and ESL Instructors in our Adult ESL Continuing Education program.
- In the UGDSB, ETFO represents elementary teachers and elementary occasional teachers.
- In the UGDSB, OSSTF represents secondary teachers and secondary occasional teachers, as well as education workers in UGDSB elementary and secondary schools and board offices, including Office Clerical Technical Staff, Educational Support Staff such as Educational Assistants (EAs) and Early Childhood Educators (ECEs), and Professional Student Services Staff such as Child and Youth Counsellors, Social Workers and Psychologists.
Do all UGDSB schools have CUPE custodial staff?
- No. Approximately 25% of UGDSB schools/sites are maintained through custodial staff that are non-unionized, contracted through a third-party vendor.
Are all UGDSB schools impacted by the CUPE withdrawal of services?
- Yes, all UGDSB schools and sites are impacted. CUPE also represents maintenance staff in the UGDSB, who provide maintenance services to ALL UGDSB schools (e.g. electrical, plumbing, HVAC). If the labour situation extends into many days, the board must minimize the potential for maintenance issues as we have extremely limited supervisory staff who are qualified to cover maintenance in all of our schools.
- Staffing levels at schools are strained both due to general absences not related to labour and not enough non-unionized staff available to support the custodial duties at schools. Many non-unionized administration staff are working and supporting our CUPE custodial sites to try and keep them open. The supports required to keep those sites open are strained.
- Maintenance of key infrastructure such as heating systems, water, electrical, and repairs are the responsibility of trained and certified trades staff. There are only a few supervisor staff for the entire UGDSB that can perform these functions in the absence of CUPE maintenance staff.
Why is it necessary to move to remote learning?
- These decisions are made with very thoughtful consideration about the school system as a whole, student and staff safety, and the continuity of learning and services.
- We committed from the beginning to assessing the ability to keep schools open on a regular basis and communicate any changes in a timely manner. We have found that keeping schools open for an extended period without our valued CUPE staff is not sustainable.
- We have an obligation to maintain safe and healthy learning and working environments and our ability to do that for more than a few days is strained.
- Non-unionized staff from non-CUPE sites are working to support our CUPE custodial sites to try and keep them open. This work is in addition to their regular responsibilities and is not sustainable for many days. CUPE represents approximately 224 permanent custodial and maintenance staff. The UGDSB only has a pool of approximately 90 non-unionized staff who could support basic cleaning services at schools, but this is in addition to their job responsibilities and is not sustainable as a long-term solution.
- Maintenance staff are essential for keeping our 76 schools safe and operational. On Friday Nov. 4 alone, 14 maintenance repair requests were reported ranging from lighting to plumbing and electrical repairs necessary to maintain safe and sanitary conditions in our schools. The vast geography of our district makes it very difficult to respond to these requests with very limited qualified management staff.
When will students return to in-person learning?
- We recognize that in person connections with friends, teachers and others are crucial to student well-being. Therefore, we are hopeful that a resolution to this situation occurs as soon as possible so that students can continue in-person learning. The UGDSB is currently exploring all possible options to facilitate in-person learning, for example 2-3 days remote and 2-3 days in person per week.
When there is a withdrawal of services by CUPE staff, does enhanced cleaning continue in schools?
- Yes, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of our schools will continue when schools are in-person, as best as possible. Non-unionized staff have been trained by the Health and Safety Department in order to perform those duties.