Livingstone Range workers left with no option after employer lockout
LETHBRIDGE - Livingstone Range School Division workers reluctantly served strike notice today, following an employer lockout notice.
“The employer escalated this conflict, forcing our members into a strike position when we were prepared to continue negotiating for a fair settlement,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz.
“Make no mistake, we’d rather be spending our time at the negotiating table than reacting to strong-arm tactics,” continued Lanovaz.
“The trustees have chosen to up the ante in a very serious way. We had no choice but to serve strike notice,” said Lanovaz, adding that CUPE had to ensure that all options were left open following the lockout notice.
Lanovaz indicated that the local is not setting up picket lines. The vast majority of CUPE Local 2133’s workers are off on summer break. The strike technically takes effect Monday, July 24.
CUPE Local 2133 has been negotiating a contract for about 110 custodial, secretarial, and other school support workers since June 2005. The union is asking trustees to limit the growing use of contractors and casual employees in the school system.
Lanovaz added that CUPE is prepared to meet with the employer at any time.
“We’d rather start the school year with a fair settlement for essential school services than by playing chicken with children’s education,” said Lanovaz.
“Livingstone trustees could have easily diffused the situation by becoming more involved in the process from the beginning,” concluded Lanovaz. “Instead, they’re choosing to spend thousands of dollars on Edmonton-based management consultants to do the negotiating for them - ducking responsibility and putting school support services in jeopardy.”
President, CUPE Alberta
For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit www.alberta.cupe.ca