EDMONTON – Members of three locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees(CUPE) have ratified contracts with Edmonton Public School District.
CUPE 3550 (Support staff) CUPE 474 (Custodial Workers) and CUPE 784(Maintenance and Trades)
CUPE 3550 President Trudy Grebenstein said her members accepted an 11.5%wage increase reluctantly; indicating that her members were not sure wage increases would cover the cost of living.
“The cost of housing has gone up dramatically in Edmonton, with some of our members facing rent increases of $500 a month or more,” said Grebenstein.
“In the past, 11.5% would have been a good deal – but it’s getting harder to make ends meet while working for the school district.”
Doug Luellman, President of CUPE 474, said job security and working conditions were the key issues that his members wanted addressed. “We have faced a decade of cuts to custodial staff in the district and last spring further cuts were the last straw.”
He says he is pleased that the new contract will help correct the custodial staffing shortfall. The School Board and the union agreed to a staffing formula for schools to follow. Luellman was also pleased part time custodial workers will now be guaranteed twenty hours of work a week and the inclusion of benefits for casual workers.
Bruce Cutting, President of the maintenance workers group, said the school district had to come up with increased wages because of the shortage of skilled tradespersons in Alberta. Wage increases for this local varied by job classification, but most employees in the trades group receives increases of about 17% over three years.
“The skilled worker shortage increased our leverage at the bargaining table,” said Cutting. “We were able to get decent wages for our members, and some increased protections against contracting out. Hopefully, it will help the district retain trades workers.”
For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit www.alberta.cupe.ca