Kingston parents pleased as CUPE strike avoided

WATCH: It was business as usual at Kingston schools on Monday morning after CUPE reached a tentative agreement with the province Sunday night.

Several parents across Kingston breathed a sigh of relief after the provincial government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) reached a tentative agreement just hours before the midnight strike deadline on Sunday.

Last week, parents expressed their concerns about the strike, which would have closed most schools across the region, wondering were their children would go during the day.

READ MORE: Kingston parents frustrated at short notice of possible CUPE strike

With the strike averted, schools were open on Monday for students and staff across the province.

Global News spoke with parents dropping their children off at Central Public School, who said they were pleased to hear a tentative deal had been reached with the province.

“[I’m] super happy that everything is back to usual, that the kids are here, that all the staff are here and that they’re feeling like they came to an agreement that is satisfying for everyone,” said Natalie George.
Parents scramble amid possible school closures
Parents scramble amid possible school closures

Debbie Dumerton, said she was also glad the decision was made over the weekend.

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“I was happy that we heard last night and that they didn’t leave it until six o’clock this morning so then we could firm up our plans.

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“I knew on Friday there was nothing we could do and we just had to wait and see,” Dumerton said.

Dan Jackson, president of the local CUPE branch, says he too is happy with the tentative agreement.

Most details are being kept under wraps until after a ratification vote, but Jackson did say they achieved a modest wage increase and maintained their sick leave.

READ MORE: Kingston, Belleville, Brockville schools remain open as CUPE strike averted

Jackson confirmed that a fund for extra student support was restored, on top of securing $20 million of extra funding province-wide for increased staffing.

“It means there’s going to be more bodies in the building,” Jackson told Global News.

“There’s going to be more support – whether that means custodial, maintenance, educational assistants, early childhood educators.”

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Jackson said positions they had lost due to previous funding cuts will be regained.

“We’ll take a look at some of the other positions we can create in negotiations with our board to ensure that our school’s and our system’s needs are met.”

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CUPE members are expected to vote on the proposed deal by the end of the month.