March 8, 2000, Nanaimo/Ladysmith A large turnout of members of CUPE local 606 in Nanaimo yesterday gave their bargaining committee an 85% mandate to strike should that action become necessary during the current round of bargaining.
Marlene Crozier, President of CUPE Local 606 Nanaimo/Ladysmith Schools, said she credits a membership sick and tired of being undervalued by the school board. There is also a tremendously supportive stakeholders group including parents, teachers and their associations, and committees who understand better than anyone the role played by support staff in ensuring quality service to students.
“Clearly, the public school stakeholder groups in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Cowichan Valley influenced the strong support the bargaining committee received from the membership here and in Cowichan,” said Crozier. “Despite the boards rhetoric, it is clear that they no longer have either the moral authority or the financial authority to resolve labour conflicts in this district.”
CUPE local 606 Nanaimo/Ladysmith and Cowichan Valley are two of 47 School Districts who belong to the CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining Committee. They now join 26 other locals in deciding to take strike action on March 27 should there be no resolution to their contract negotiations. Job security, benefits, long-term disability and pensions are the key issues this group is fighting for. “These issues,” says Crozier, “affect all our work and the services we are able to provide to our communities.”
Gary Johnson, CUPE national representative and SBC co-ordinator says, “We are reaching the point where all locals who are in a position to bargain have attempted to do so with no success and have therefore taken strike votes. It is time for the school districts to join forces with CUPE and government to find ways of resolving the areas they are unable to offer resolutions to.”
Marlene Crozier, President, CUPE Local 606,
Gary Johnson, CUPE national representative
Regular information updates regarding CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining can be found at www.cupe.bc.ca/sbc