Education support workers take strike vote.
YORKTON, SK—Education workers in Saskatchewan’s Good Spirit School Division say that the school board must do a lot better if it hopes to achieve a settlement and avert a strike by its 260 support staff.
“School support workers who do so much for children should be treated fairly,” says CUPE 4784 president Lori Sutherland. “Education support workers in this school division are near the bottom of the pay scale. We want to see a reasonable wage offer so we don’t have to work multiple jobs in order to make ends meet.”
At a meeting last week in Yorkton, administrative assistants, education assistants, caretakers and other support staff voted 81 per cent in support of taking job action to secure a fair collective agreement.
The CUPE education workers say that the employer’s current offer will do little to lift employee’s wages from the lowest in the province.
“We hoped that the vote would send a strong message to the employer that they need to do their homework, and come to the bargaining table prepared to negotiate wage and benefit improvements to bridge the gap with other school divisions,” says CUPE 4784 president Lori Sutherland. “Unfortunately, the employer is not even able to find dates to bargain.”
The CUPE 4784 school support workers are seeking increased funding for benefits, statutory pay for 10-month employees, and wage parity with other divisions.
The workers are employed in 28 schools in 17 communities in east-central Saskatchewan, including Yorkton, Melville and Esterhazy. They have been working without a contract for nearly a year.
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