Biggar: As the strike by education workers in the Biggar Public School Division enters its second month today, the CUPE school members are organizing a “parade of classic textbooks” on Wednesday to convey their feelings to the Division Board.
The Division Board, led by Saskatchewan School Trustees’ negotiator Bill Wells, has been on a power surge during this round of negotiations, attempting to strip employees of their seniority rights, job security and other contract provisions. The Division also is hiring more scabs each week, in an effort to break the strike.
Conciliation talks broke off on February 24, after conciliator Doug Forseth concluded the two sides were too far apart to reach an agreement. No new talks are scheduled.
The 46 teaching and library assistants, secretaries and caretakers, members of CUPE Local 2128, began strike action on February 4, in response to the Board’s final offer. The school employees work in the communities of Biggar, Cando, Sonningdale, Handel, Landis and three Hutterite colonies.
During their month on the picket line, CUPE members have been working on a new series of “classic textbooks” which they plan to parade in Biggar on Wednesday, March 6, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. The book parade consists of six giant-sized books (worn by the education workers) featuring such titles as The Winter of Our Discontent, A Tale of Two School Boards, and Great Expectations.
Union spokesperson Penny McCallum says the “very limited edition textbooks” are required reading for the Division Board members. “It’s possible our selection of classic literature will lead the Board to adopt a more enlightened position at the bargaining table,” she says, adding the strike will continue until a fair settlement is achieved.
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For more information about the “Parade of Classic Textbooks” call Penny McCallum or Bea Devenny at the CUPE Strike Headquarters in Biggar at (306) 948-3860.