PEEL REGION, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 9, 2015) - Union leaders called on Peel school board's director of education to stop using charitable activities as bargaining chips in negotiations with education workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

By blaming the labour situation for the postponement of Peel's United Way campaign, Tony Pontes, Director of Education for the Peel District Public School Board, has angered union leaders who worked out contingency plans to continue their support in the event of job action.

"Not more than two weeks ago we committed our support to the United Way," said Dan Bouchard, president of CUPE local 2544. "In fact, they actually assisted us in a strike preparation package that we sent out to our members regarding financial planning in the event of a strike."

This week's last minute notice, sent out by Pontes to district schools, does not mention the extra efforts made by CUPE to continue its support of the campaign during its job action activities.

Similar to last week's cancellation of the breakfast programs in Peel schools and their subsequent reinstatement after learning that CUPE staff never dropped their support of the programs, Pontes' actions again point to impulsive decision making.

"Basically, we volunteer our funds and our time to the campaign. We all support the United Way," said Linda Racicot, president of CUPE local 1628. "No idea why Mr. Pontes is cancelling the start of this."

"Our members assist in raising funds for the campaign by joining in events that are held at their locations or at the main office," said Racicot. "We also donate through a payroll program which draws regular contributions or a one-time donation off our pay. Other activities include soliciting donations during 'dress down' days or supporting students by accepting and counting the many loonies and toonies they donate to the campaign."

Racicot stated clearly that her local, CUPE 1628, supports Peel United Way. "Our membership is 99.9 per cent women: a lot are single mothers who are the major breadwinners in their family, especially part-time and temporary employees, who may have the occasion to use the services funded through Peel United Way. We support the United Way. Bottom line."

Contact Information:

Mario Emond
CUPE Communications