Catholic School employees refuse to go to work after picket line goes up
CALGARY – The 300 members of CUPE 520 know the meaning of a picket line.
Several years ago, the caretakers and custodians at the Calgary Catholic School District went on strike for nine long weeks.
So when they were confronted by a TWU picket line on their way to a staff meeting, they knew the drill.
“Good trade unionists never cross a picket line,” said CUPE 520 President Tony Miotti. “And we are good trade unionists.”
On October 31st, all 4,400 employees of the Catholic School District were celebrating ‘Faith Day’ by gathering at the downtown Telus Centre for a day of speakers and meetings on the worth of all individuals and how faith is practiced in day to day life.
When the CUPE members learned that striking Telus workers were picketing the building – there was no way they were going in.
“We chose to reflect on the value of individuals by saying Telus employees are valuable too,” said Miotti. “It got us a little heat from our employer but it was worth it. To me, faith means more than showing up at church on Sunday. It means taking a stand when you need to.”
Moitti said he was very proud of the fact his members didn’t need advance notice or direction from CUPE to refuse to cross the line.
“I guess nine weeks on a picket line teaches you the meaning of solidarity. Without action – it’s just a word.”