The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members voted in favour of a new contract after months of rocky negotiations.
It was reported by the Ontario School Board Council of Unions (OSBCU), which connects CUPE education workers, that a record number of members voted.
41,559 members voted in total; 73% voted to accept the tentative agreement while 27% voted against.
“For the first time in a decade, education workers have achieved a collective agreement that did not impose terms through legislation,” the update reads.
This news comes after 170 days of tense negotiations with the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives.
A tentative agreement proposed by Education Minster Stephen Lecce on November 20 provides members with a $1 hourly raise per year over four years.
Earlier this school year, CUPE workers walked off the job then threatened to shut the province down in response to the Ontario government’s introduction of Bill 28 that condemned further strike action as illegal. The legislation would have imposed hefty fines on union members who continued to strike.
Education workers would have seen a two-tiered yearly wage increase under Bill 28, which CUPE vehemently opposed.
In order to keep children in their classrooms, the Ford government withdrew the heavy-handed legislation and went back to the drawing table.
The government remained steadfast in their mandate to keep children in school throughout negotiations.
However, the same government kept children shuttered out of school during strict COVID-related measures throughout 2020 and 2021 – the harshest in North America – of which Ford seemed proud of at the time.