Rainbow and English Catholic schools closed today

Rainbow schools are closed today due to a strike by CUPE workers, which got underway this morning. Despite hefty fines, the workers are striking for better wages, up to 7 percent, and say they will stay out as long as possible. Picket lines are planned for Espanola, Massey and M’Chigeeng. Photo by Rosalind Russell

By Rosalind Russell – Rainbow schools are closed today due to strike action by CUPE education workers.

In a statement released yesterday morning, the board states that given that they are without the services of more than 425 staff members, they can no longer ensure the health and safety of students. 

For this reason, classes for in-person learners at all Rainbow Schools in Sudbury, Espanola, Massey and Manitoulin Island are cancelled today.

However, virtual learning classes will continue.

The Huron Superior Catholic School Board and its counterparts are not sending their students to school either.

Both Algoma Public and the French Catholic schools including Ecole la Renaissance in Espanola remain open and busing remains in place.

And although striking workers have promised not to picket schools, picket lines are expected in Espanola, Massey and M’Chigeeng today.

Some 55-thousand educational support workers are on the picket lines today, following the breakdown of talks with the provincial government.

The walkout, by members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, comes despite legislation passed yesterday evening that imposes a contract on the workers, and makes a strike illegal.

The bill has fines of up to four-thousand dollars a day for individuals, and as much as half a million dollars daily for the union.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government will use every tool at its disposal to ensure Ontario students remain in the classroom.

The union says it’ll pay the fines of its members who may be convicted and is warning parents the walkout will continue until further notice.

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