UCDSB schools will close if CUPE strikes Monday

The Upper Canada District School Board of Trustees has an emergency meeting on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The board's education director says a decision on whether to keep schools open if CUPE goes on strike will be made no later than Friday morning. (YouTube via Newswatch Group)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated at 12:07 a.m. Friday to show UCDSB has made its decision to close schools in the event of a CUPE support staff strike on Monday.

BROCKVILLE – The Upper Canada District School Board said early Thursday night it was “leaning toward” closing schools if CUPE support staff have a full strike on Monday.

But a final decision would be coming “no later than tomorrow (Friday) morning,” Education Director Stephen Sliwa said during a emergency board meeting Thursday night.

By 10:30 p.m., the board announced it “will not be able to operate our facilities or provide proper supervision and care to our students” and will “need to close all of our schools to students.”

The move follows a similar one earlier Thursday where the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario said it would too close schools if there’s a Monday work stoppage by support staff.

Superintendent says CUPE staff not performing core duties under work-to-rule

In an update to the board, schools superintendent Deanna Perry says school administrators have been doing the work, usually performed by CUPE employees, as well as their own duties but “the ability for them to maintain this pace is becoming more difficult.”

CUPE has been conducting a work-to-rule campaign since Monday. Perry says while the union has stated it won’t put student safety at risk, it’s become evident that members are “not performing some of their core duties” under work-to-rule which is directly impacting the safety of schools.

“It is not business as usual at our schools,” Perry said.

Even though the job action has been four days, Perry says issues of cleanliness, stress levels and discipline problems are already coming to light at some schools.