CUPE Labour Negotiations Update

November 20, 2022

We are pleased to report that the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the provincial government have reached a tentative agreement, averting the strike action planned for Monday. 

Classes will resume as normal on Monday, November 21.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has given notice that if a negotiated agreement is not reached before Monday November 21st, CUPE will engage in a full withdrawal of services. We understand that this news is difficult and may be the source of stress among our staff, students, and families. Given the evolving nature of the situation between the provincial government and CUPE, we are sharing contingency plans for next week to ensure the continuity of learning for students. 

To ensure the health, welfare, and safety of our staff and students in the event of a full withdrawal of CUPE services, all Niagara Catholic schools will be closed for in-person learning starting Monday, November 21st and students will have access to remote synchronous learning during this time. 

The Synchronous learning schedule will be based on the schedule here. 

During synchronous learning, teachers will continue taking student attendance and parents are expected to continue reporting their child’s absence using Safe Arrival. 

This period of virtual learning is different than during the pandemic, as many of our IT staff who supported schools and families during that time are CUPE members. This means that technology and tech support for students and staff will not be as readily available as it had been in the past. 

Students with their own devices are expected to use them. Families who do not have access to technology – either devices or mobile hotspots – should request technology loans through their child’s teacher or principal. Pickup will be available during the school day Thursday, November 17 and Friday, November 18. We emphasize that we have limited access to devices and will not be able to fulfil every request. Distribution of equipment will be at the principal’s discretion. 

Parents or students who have difficulty accessing the NCVLE are asked to visit help.niagaracatholic.ca for assistance. 

Staff will be understanding of technology issues experienced by students, and we remind families that some staff may also have technology issues while teaching and we ask families to be understanding if their child’s teacher has an issue with technology while teaching. 

Other important details for families during the remote learning period: 

Students with Special Education Needs: Teachers will continue to support students according to their special education needs as detailed in their IEP. Families are encouraged to connect directly with their child’s classroom teacher if there are any questions or concerns. 

Mental Health Supports: Will continue to be available to students. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal for more information. 

• Student transportation and Community Use of School permits are cancelled. 

• Extracurricular programs taking place at schools are cancelled. 

• Extracurriculars taking place off-site will take place at the discretion of principals. Families will be advised of which programs will run. 

• Students who participate in programs such as co-op placements, LINK, and Connecting to College may continue to participate as scheduled. 

• The EarlyON Centres at Mary Ward, St. Anthony, St. George, and St. Michael Catholic Elementary Schools are closed. 

• Full-day childcares at Loretto Catholic, St. Gabriel Lalemant, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Fatima Grimsby are open. 

• Childcare centres at St. Nicholas and St. Martin Catholic Elementary Schools are closed. 

We thank you, again, for your resilience and understanding as we work through what may be a challenging few days ahead. 

November 7, 2022

As a result of the government’s decision to repeal its back to work legislation, CUPE has rescinded its withdrawal of services.

We are pleased to advise you that all Niagara Catholic schools will be open to students on Tuesday, November 8.

Families that received technology from their child’s school earlier today are expected to return it to the school tomorrow when their child returns to school.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to school and work tomorrow.

November 6, 2022

As a result of the ongoing dispute between CUPE and the provincial government, all Niagara Catholic schools will remain closed to students on Monday, November 7. 

We acknowledge that this will be a challenging period for both students, staff, and families, and thank you for your patience and understanding when dealing with your child’s school.

Monday will be a day of transition. Teacher-led asynchronous learning will be available to all students, and some teachers may be able to connect with students synchronously on Monday.

Synchronous learning will begin on Tuesday, based on the attached schedule. Attendance will not be taken.

Wednesday, teachers will begin taking student attendance and parents are expected to begin reporting their child’s absence using Safe Arrival. 

This period of virtual learning is different than during the pandemic, as many of our IT staff who supported schools and families during that time are CUPE members. This means that technology and tech support for students and staff will not be as readily available as it had been in the past.

Students with their own devices are expected to use them. Families who do not have access to technology – either devices or mobile hotspots – should request technology loans through their child’s teacher or principal. Pickup will be available during the school day Monday and Tuesday. We emphasize that we have limited access to devices and will not be able to fulfil every request. Distribution of equipment will be at the principal’s discretion.

Parents or students who have difficulty accessing the NCVLE are asked to visit help.niagaracatholic.ca for assistance.

Staff will be understanding of technology issues experienced by students, and we remind families that some staff may also have technology issues while teaching and we ask families to be understanding if their child’s teacher has an issue with technology while teaching.

Other important details for families during the remote learning period:

  • Student transportation and Community Use of School permits are cancelled.
  • Extracurricular programs taking place at schools are cancelled.
  • Extracurriculars taking place off-site will take place at the discretion of principals. Families will be advised of which programs will run.
  • Students who participate in programs such as co-op placements, LINK, and Classroom to College may continue to participate as scheduled.
  • The EarlyON Centres at Mary Ward, St. Anthony, St. George, and St. Michael Catholic Elementary Schools are closed.
  • Full-day childcares at Loretto Catholic, St. Gabriel Lalemant, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Fatima Grimsby are open.
  • Childcare centres at St. Nicholas and St. Martin Catholic Elementary Schools are closed.

We thank you, again, for your resilience as we work through what may be a challenging few days ahead, and for your understanding.

A schedule of the school day is available here.

 

November 3, 2022

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, November 3, an agreement between the provincial government and CUPE has not been reached, and CUPE intends to withdraw its services from schools on Friday, November 4, as planned.

As a result, all Niagara Catholic elementary, secondary, and continuing education schools will be closed to students on Friday, November 4.

Due to the school closures, please note the following:

  • Asynchronous learning will be available to students who choose to participate.
  • Student transportation, Community Use of School permits and extracurricular activities will be cancelled for the day.
  • The EarlyON Centres at St. Anthony and St. George Catholic Elementary Schools will be closed.
  • Full-day childcares at Loretto Catholic, St. Gabriel Lalemant, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Fatima Grimsby will be open. Childcare centres at St. Nicholas and St. Martin Catholic Elementary Schools will be closed.

At this time, there does not appear to be a plan to reopen negotiations. However it is possible that the two sides could decide to continue to try to reach an agreement later tonight or overnight.

We will monitor this situation, and, if an agreement is reached before 6 a.m., we will provide an update on our Board website and social media platforms by 6 a.m.

We will provide parents with updated information as soon as possible and no later than Sunday to help you prepare for next week.

 

November 1, 2022

Good afternoon to all Niagara Catholic families,

We are providing you with an update to the information we provided families on October 31 regarding the breakdown in negotiations between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the provincial government, and CUPE’s protest planned for this Friday, November 4.

We recognize that families started this school year hopeful it would be free from interruptions. However, after thoughtful consideration, Niagara Catholic has made the difficult decision to close schools to students on Friday, November 4 if the protest takes place as scheduled.

CUPE represents many workers at Niagara Catholic, including school secretaries, caretakers, custodians and other Facilities Services staff, education assistants, child and youth workers, early childhood educators, and library technicians. The union also represents IT Services staff and staff at the Catholic Education Centre.

They are valued members of our Niagara Catholic family who provide important supports to our students and staff and are crucial to the operation of safe, healthy schools and worksites for everyone.

Without CUPE staff in place in schools, we cannot provide a safe and healthy environment for students or staff. This decision was not made lightly and aligns with nearby school boards with a significant number of staff represented by CUPE.

Grade-level asynchronous resources will be available to students on the home page of the NCVLE on Friday. Students are expected to use any technology available at home to participate in asynchronous learning.

Any field trips, events, or after-school activities, as well as Community Use of Schools permits will be cancelled for the day. Before and after-school childcares will also be closed. Parents are not required to report their child’s absence as schools are closed to students for the day.

Niagara Catholic is committed to ensuring parents have timely, accurate information, and will provide regular labour negotiations updates on our Board website, as well as on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Families will also receive updates through School Messenger.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and if you have any questions, please reach out to your child’s principal.

 

October 31, 2022

The Niagara Catholic District School Board is committed to providing families with timely, accurate information regarding the current labour dispute between the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the provincial government. 

 After negotiations broke down on Sunday, the union notified the province it may strike on Friday, November 4. Today, the government enacted back-to-work legislation making a strike illegal. CUPE has indicated its members will walk off the job in protest of the government. 

We are sending this message to families to advise you that we are currently working through the developments that have taken place today and will provide you with more information as soon as it becomes available.

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