L’ORIGNAL, Ont. – School board workers with the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’est ontarien, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4155), have voted 99 per cent in favour of a strike if a deal cannot be reached with their employer.
“The school board broke off talks and called on the ministry of labour conciliator without even telling the union,” said Lise Lafleur, president of CUPE 4155. “It shows to what point their lack of respect for the workers has poisoned negotiations. They refuse to make an equitable offer to frontline staff, but they gave the director of education an increase of close to 50 per cent – it’s unbelievable.”
The workers’ last contract expired August 31, 2006. CUPE 4155 represents 219 full-time employees, 97 part-time et roughly 33 temporary and casual employees who work in 50 elementary and secondary schools, and school board buildings, as secretaries, clerks, custodial staff, monitors, printers, IT and library technicians.
The main points of contention are wages, fair treatment of monitors, benefits, staffing formula for custodians, layoff provisions, travel costs, and the job evaluation plan. “Our members are frustrated by the board’s lack of respect for custodial and maintenance staff, excessive workloads that lead to more workplace accidents, a lack of recognition for work, and high levels of stress,” said Joanne Harvey, CUPE national representative. “The administration needs to show some respect and return to the bargaining table with a fair offer to prevent a strike and protect school services.”
A strike would affect schools in the following communities: East and Southeast of Ottawa all the way to the Quebec border, including the towns and municipalities of Rockland, Limoges, Embrun, Hammond, Wendover, Plantagenet, Casselman, St Eugène, L’Orignal, St Pascal de Babylon, Hawkesbury, Vankleek Hill, Alexandria, Curran, Moose Creek, Cornwall, Long Sault, Maxville, and North Lancaster.
“Thanks to our members’ professionalism and hard work, the schools are clean and remain safe environments for students, even as the board is cutting the workforce,” said Lafleur. “We are asking parents to contact school board trustees to demand they return to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer that respects the work and dedication of school board workers, in order to prevent a strike.”
For further information, please contact:
Lise Lafleur, CUPE 4155 president, cell: 613-806-2401, work: 613-538-2401
Joanne Harvey, CUPE National Representative: 613-933-5515
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999