BURNABY - CUPE members offer a warm welcome and solidarity to new members from School District 60 in Fort St. John.
On March 29, 2007 the B.C. Labour Relations Board issued a certification notice, formally allowing the 350 school district employees to be represented by CUPE. They will become CUPE Local 4653.
Following discussions with the Carpenters Union, that previously represented these employees, CUPE met with Fort St. John school district employees to talk about membership in CUPE.
Wally Miedema, acting president of the new CUPE 4653, is pleased with the move. “I think it makes a lot of sense for us to join CUPE at this time. CUPE took a leadership role in the last round of negotiations, supporting not only their own members, but us as well. As CUPE members, we now have full access to the experience, expertise and resources that will only benefit our members,” says Miedema.
CUPE BC president and national general vice-president Barry O’Neill travelled to Fort St. John to meet with the workers and says that the move will strengthen the union. “In British Columbia, the largest group of members in CUPE is in the K-12 support staff area. We devote a lot of resources to supporting these members and to advocating in support of high quality public education,” says O’Neill.
“We have worked with representatives from Fort St. John on common issues in the past and I know that having this group of workers join CUPE will strengthen the K-12 sector overall,” says Joe Badali, K-12 Coordinator for CUPE in B.C.
Fort St. John employees join with the 23,000 K-12 CUPE support workers in British Columbia, and a community of more than 100,000 such CUPE members across the country.