Education support workers in the Regina Public School Division have voted 95 per cent in favour of job action. The local has been bargaining for over two years, and little progress has been made.
“The Regina Public School Board continues to push concessions that will hurt our members,” said Jackie Christianson, president of CUPE 3766. “They are attacking our health and dental benefits, our severance/retirement gratuity, and trying to limit our ability to present grievances to the Board of Trustees.”
The Regina Public School Division is pushing a two-year wage freeze and paltry wage increases in years three to five.
“Our members are already the lowest paid in the school division, and many of us don’t even make a living wage. We have not received a raise in over four years, but school board trustees gave themselves a 22.7 per cent pay increase effective January 1, 2019, not to mention the massive wage increase earned by top school board administrators,” said Christianson. “I have a question for the school board: Why do they think we are worth less than they are?”
The union also has outstanding proposals that the school division is refusing to address, including improvements to occupational health and safety language.
Bargaining has been challenging across the K-12 school system due to drastic cuts from the provincial government. In that last several years, the Regina Public School Board has cut specialized student programs, student access to school libraries, and has charged parents for their children to eat lunch at school.
“We have seen firsthand the devastating impact the provincial budget cuts and short-sighted decisions made by the school board have had on students,” said Christianson. “Our members are dealing with complex student needs, facing increasing violence in the workplace, and having to provide more support with fewer resources.”
“Our schools work because we do. It is time that the Regina Public School Board recognizes this at the bargaining table,” said Christianson. “Our members are united, and we deserve a fair deal.”