LETHBRIDGE, AB – After 88% of the support staff at Livingstone Range school division voted in favour of a strike, their union is looking for a little respect.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) returns to the bargaining table on Wednesday after holding a strike vote. CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz says he hopes the strike vote will serve as a wake up call for school trustees.
“School trustees have to understand that the kind of proposals they are putting forward will lead to an ugly fight,” said Lanovaz. “These communities are not going to be happy with the trustees if the dispute escalates.”
Lanovaz said trustees are looking to replace existing employees with contractors and casual employees, a move he calls ‘a disaster for education in Livingstone Range.’
“Contractors and casual employees mean higher turnover, less expertise and less commitment to our students,” said Lanovaz. “And what we are hearing from parents is that they share our concerns.”
Lanovaz said CUPE is encouraging parents to contact school trustees and tell them to change their tune at the bargaining table. However, he expects trustees to try and evade responsibility.
“School trustees will pretend they have no power to settle this dispute,” said Lanovaz. “That is not true. That is an attempt to dodge the responsibilities they have been elected to perform.”
“Trustees appoint their negotiating team, and have the power to direct them to get a deal,” said Lanovaz. “The elected representatives need to hear from CUPE members, parents and the community that their actions are shameful.”
President CUPE Alberta