As most students in Edmonton Public Schools begin exams and the end of the school graduation ceremonies throughout the K-12 Division, the union representing custodial workers in the district, CUPE Local 474, has launched a newspaper advertising campaign protesting job cuts.
The ads show two graduates and says “I am Graduating Thanks to my custodian,” says Doug Luellman, President of the local. “The ads emphasize the well researched fact that clean schools have an impact on student achievement. They ask the readers to contact the school board trustees and tell them to stop cuts to custodial staff.”
The ads will be running in local daily and weekly newspapers this week.
Luellman said the union was forced to take action since the Board ordered a 10% cut to staff across all district schools. “Schools have had a steady decline in custodial staff for over a decade now; this just adds insult to injury.”
Luellman says that the district has not publicly lobbied the government for funding. “Clearly their back room coffee klatch sessions with the Minister of Education have failed.” Luellman wants the public to pressure the Trustees to reinstate custodial staff.
“This is not like other staff groups in the district; they have all seen increased hiring over the past decade, including a massive increase in administration positions,” says Luellman. “Custodial is the only staff group that has been cut, cut again and cut once more.”
“This ad campaign is to draw the public’s attention to the crisis our schools will face in the fall when these cuts come into effect,” says Luellman. “Now is not too late to let our publicly elected School Trustees know that the public supports their school custodian.”
CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPE’s 26,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca
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