Some schools may close on Friday if school workers walk off the job

Pembroke – On Tuesday there were two very different responses from the two main school boards in the county to the pending a walk-out of staff on Friday of school support workers.

The Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) announced schools will be closed, while the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB) announced schools will remain open.

The public board noted students would be shifted to online learning if needed. For the public board the walk out could include school secretaries, office administrators, custodians and members of central departments.

Extra-curricular events will also be placed on hold on Friday.

The Catholic board noted “unless otherwise directed” it is the intention of the board to keep all schools open on Friday. It noted CUPE is the union which represents custodians at some schools and all tradespeople in the school board.

A letter from the board noted “in person learning will continue in all RCCDSB schools including regular transportation to and from school.”

However, any community use of schools from Friday to Sunday will be cancelled.

Parents were promised to be updated if there were any changes.

CUPE announced some 55,000 workers will walk off the job on Friday in the province as part of a day of protest. This was after the Ontario government tabled legislation on Monday which would “terminate any on-going strike” by the union. Workers are upset with the government offer of a four-year deal with an annual raise for workers of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent depending on starting salary. The government initially offered an annual increase of 1.25 percent.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader