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UPDATE: Local area schools to remain open on Friday except for three boards

UPDATE: 11:30 AM MORNING: Some schools will remain open this Friday if a planned strike goes ahead. THURSDAY MORNING: All schools except for the English Catholic School and one English Public school board will close.

Danny Viotto, the Director of Education with the Huron-Superior school board says the board has decided to close schools this Friday, which will affect Sacred Heart in Espanola, St. Mary in Massey and other local area schools in the Sudbury and Algoma districts.

Rainbow District School Board announced this morning that they will be cancelling all classes in their schools due to the job action, but their virtual school will remain open.

The French Catholic board and Algome Public board will remain open.

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CUPE workers are planning a strike this Friday to protest the lack of movement by the Ford government in meeting their demands at the bargaining table including a pay increase demand of over 11 percent.

Viotto says due to the number of employees that could be involved in Friday’s action and the integral role they fill in the schools, the board feels this is the most responsible course of action right now.

He says the decision was not made lightly and students are asked to bring their items home in case the strike continues into next week.

He adds the decision aligns with other school boards that have significant number of staff represented by CUPE including the North-Eastern board.

Provincially, the Ontario government has rejected a counter-offer from the union, and says they won’t consider any proposals unless the union calls off its strike threat.

The union says the walkout will begin tomorrow, unless there’s a settlement, and will continue indefinitely.

CUPE leader Laura Walton tells the Vista Radio national news desk that they proposed considerable concessions in their counter-offer.

And nationally, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau told Premier Doug Ford during a phone call yesterday that the use of the nothwithstanding clause to eliminate challenges under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was wrong and inappropriate… should only be used under exceptional circumstances.

Ford replied that a walkout would have an unacceptable effect on Ontario students, after two years of disruptions.

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