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Ford says Ontario presenting CUPE with 'improved' offer

Premier says bargaining between province and CUPE resuming today
CUPE-OSBCU president Laura Walton hugs a supporter following a press conference in Toronto on Monday Nov. 7, 2022. Ontario schools are reopen again for in-person learning today after many were shut since Friday due to a walkout by education workers. The Canadian Union of Public Employees says its 55,000 education workers will be back on the job today after Premier Doug Ford agreed to rescind a law that imposed contracts on them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — Bargaining is resuming today between the Ontario government and a union representing 55,000 education workers – who are back on the job today after a walkout – and the premier says he is presenting an "improved" offer.

Doug Ford says he's glad both sides are at negotiations again today, a day after he promised to repeal legislation that imposed contracts on the Canadian Union of Public Employees workers and the union agreed to end its walkout.

Ford says he can't get into details, but the government is presenting a better offer, particularly for lower-income workers.

However, he also cautions that any agreement with the education workers will have an impact on the four major teachers' contracts also in bargaining and increases for CUPE could lead to "tens of billions of dollars" for increases to the teachers, and he needs to watch Ontario's bottom line.

Ford says the government had previously offered a higher amount than what was in its original proposed contract, and he was "floored" that CUPE didn't take it.

The government had originally offered raises of two per cent a year for workers making less than $40,000 and 1.25 per cent for all others, and the four-year deal imposed by the soon-to-be-repealed law gave 2.5 per cent annual raises to workers making less than $43,000 and 1.5 per cent raises for all others.

CUPE had originally been seeking annual salary increases of 11.7 per cent and has said it tabled a counter offer that cut its wage proposal in half.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2022.

The Canadian Press