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Teachers and staff at Blaisdale Montessori enter second week of strike action

CUPE 5257 members at Blaisdale Montessori School are calling for fair wages and a fair contract as they enter the second week of strike action.

Teachers and support staff at Blaisdale Monstessori School, with seven campuses across Ontario, including one in Oshawa, Bowmanville, Ajax, and Pickering, have been on strike since Monday, Nov. 16.

“Teachers and support staff at Blaisdale Montessori School are disappointed that the employer would not bring forward a fair contract after months of negotiations and several strike deadline extensions, says Sara Lorne, president of CUPE 5257, noting more than 55 per cent of workers at Blaisdale Montessori School earn minimum wage and the employer “refuses to offer any wage improvements for the first two years of the agreement.”

The workers, who have been without a contract since Aug. 31, 2019, voted overwhelmingly in favour of job action following a series of unsuccessful contract negotiation meetings with the employer, according to the union.

“Our goal is to minimize service disruption and keep kids in class so that parents can focus on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lorne continues. “If Blaisdale Montessori School truly valued providing excellent education, they wouldn’t be treating teachers and support staff so unfairly.”

In the current round of negotiations, the union is looking to make gains for the large cohort of staff who currently earn minimum wage and keep annual wage improvements in line with the cost of living.

“Staff at Blaisdale Montessori School rose up for parents and kids during this pandemic, taking on cleaning and additional tasks to support them during this challenging time, and now are standing up for them through this job action,” says Lorne. “Parents and kids at Blaisdale deserve to have quality teachers and support staff who are treated fairly, not living pay cheque to pay cheque.”

CUPE 5257 represents more than 100 members who work at Blaisdale Montessori schools who provide education and support to more than 700 students.