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Waterloo Catholic schools to close Monday if CUPE members go on strike

Lecce disappointed by acceleration of action on part of CUPE officials

The Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) has announced that its schools will close on Monday if there is a strike by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

The announcement was made in a letter issued to parents on Wednesday morning by WCDSB Director of Education Loretta Notten.

READ MORE: Ontario education workers announce full strike action to begin Monday

It noted that the union had sent a letter of its intention to potentially strike on Monday and that if no deal were to be reached, schools would close.

WATCH: CUPE representatives outline aims of previous work-to-rule action

CUPE representatives outline aims of previous work-to-rule action
CUPE representatives outline aims of previous work-to-rule action

“If the strike proceeds, this will mean CUPE members will not report to work,” Notten wrote.

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“As CUPE represents 1100 of our school based staff, we would not be able to safely operate our schools.”

CUPE represents education assistants, personal support workers, child and youth care workers, early childhood educators, lunch hour supervisors, administrative assistants, payroll and accounting associates, as well as computer and library technicians who work for the Catholic board in Waterloo.

Earlier Wednesday, CUPE announced it would begin full strike action Monday, a week after it began a work-to-rule campaign.

READ MORE: Ontario education minister says he’s ‘available 24-7’ as CUPE job action escalation looms

“We have no choice but to invoke the next step in the legal process we follow for school board bargaining,” said Laura Walton, president of the Ontario School Board Council of Unions.

“This morning, CUPE and OSBCU gave the legal five-day notice that our school board members will commence full strike action on Monday.”

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce responded to the announcement just after noon and re-emphasized his drive to get a deal done as soon as possible.

When asked whether or not the government would table back-to-school legislation, Lecce would not give a definite answer but said historically, it’s better to come to a deal voluntarily.

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The Waterloo Region District School Board is not affected by the strike as none of its employees are members of CUPE.

Both the Upper Grand and Wellington Catholic school boards in Guelph say at this time, their schools will remain open.

— With files from Global News’ Jessica Patton

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