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School District bullying employees into job action

Oct 26, 2009 01:16 PM
 

School District bullying employees into job action
CUPE wants a deal, Livingstone Range wants concessions

PINCHER CREEK -- A southern Alberta school division that locked out its employees during the last round of negotiations is again seeking concessions from its staff.

Livingstone Range School Division, which operates schools in Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek and the Crowsnest Pass area of Alberta, is aggressively seeking rollbacks which would strip bus drivers of minimum work hours, gut the sick leave plan, and even remove holiday pay for Remembrance Day.

Bonnie Castellarin, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2133 says the district has shown little interest in bargaining, preferring to escalate things to a dispute as quickly as possible.

“The district applied for mediation after only two days of bargaining, and pulled out of mediation after two days of that,” said Castellarin.  “They locked out employees last time, and I expect they are considering it again.”

Castellarin said CUPE has pulled all of its proposals off the table except wages and is seeking a 3% increase for its members.

“When you consider the fact that our members are largely part time, and among the lowest paid employees in our community, I think our offer is more than reasonable,” said Castellarin.  “To pick on people responsible for getting our kids to school safely in all kinds of weather and road conditions seems grossly unfair.”

Castellarin said the union will be meeting Monday night to plan a response to possible lock out action by the school district.

“We serve the parents and students of the district, we don’t want to see disruptions in the schools, but the school district is acting like a bully.  And, we know better than anyone the only way to handle bullies is to stand up to them.”