The 46 members of CUPE Local 2128, Biggar Public School Division, have been on strike since February 4. It’s the first strike by CUPE education workers in Saskatchewan in over 25 years. The strikers, nearly all women, work as teaching assistants, secretaries and caretakers.
Despite the fact they’ve lost almost 25 per cent of their annual salary, the members are determined to fight off the employer’s attempt to gut their seniority rights and job security. This week, they’re building community support for their demand that the board resign.
CUPE Saskatchewan has called on the provincial government to introduce anti-scab legislation to put an end to the type of tactics used by the Biggar board.
“Instead of bargaining in good faith, the school division board has resorted to hiring scabs to clean schools and work as teaching assistants in an attempt to break the strike,” says division president Tom Graham. “If we had anti-scab legislation in this province, this strike would have been over a long time ago.”
Sharon Stefanick, who runs the strike headquarters in Biggar, wrote these “pearls of wisdom.”
Things my mother taught me….
Most mothers carry a purse. Mine carries a flag.
Physical fitness: Many mothers are trapped in the kitchen. Mine walks four hours a day.
There are five main food groups in the Canada Food Guide – donuts, oranges, pizza, popcorn and cake.
When mom leaves me a note, she writes it on Bristol board with felt markers; and the font is so big, you can read it a block away
We used to have Sunday roast beef dinners. Now it’s hot dogs on Friday, over an open fire, on the street.
The other day I tried to complain about the rotten day I’d had. Mom said “take it to your shop steward”.
Mom says you don’t have to do your hair, as long as you wear a toque
Some mothers relax on the couch after supper. Not mine. She grabs a flashlight, lawnchair, and sits out by the road watching for scabs.
Mom runs a tight ship. Now we have to sign in and sign out.
Most people have an address book by their phone. Ours is posted on a two-foot sign on the wall.
Some women have awesome jewellery. Mine only wears CUPE pins.
We used to have a small family but Gramma must have been busy ‘cause now mom says she has about 40 sisters and 3 brothers.
In school, we were taught to sign letters “sincerely yours.” Mom signs “in solidarity”.
I always check with my mother before crossing the street. Now she asks “are you Union?”
We always used to use our good silverware. Now it’s plastic all the way!
Send your messages of solidarity to firstname.lastname@example.org or financial donations to the Saskatoon CUPE office, 250 Cardinal Crescent, Saskatoon S7L 6H8.