Moose Jaw: Secretaries, teacher associates and library assistants working in the Holy Trinity School Division are finally receiving the same rate of pay as school caretakers, following the ratification of their new agreement last month.
The achievement of wage parity has been a long time coming, according to Donna Boyle, a former secretary at St. Michael’s School and long-time member of the union negotiating committee.
“We raised the issue at the bargaining table for years, but it was only this time – when we stated at the outset that wage parity was our number one issue – that a settlement was finally achieved,” Boyle says.
The wage parity adjustments mean pay increases of 50 cents to $2.66 an hour for about 30 of the 70 school support workers employed in the Holy Trinity School Division, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 5506.
The need for a more equitable pay system for all education workers in the province is the main reason the CUPE is pressing the government for provincial bargaining rights. The union currently represents more than 70 per cent of the 8,850 school support workers in the province. “We want to negotiate one pay system for all school support workers in the province – just like teachers,” says CUPE local vice-president Earl Booth, adding the current system of local bargaining has led to glaring inequities. “School support workers employed in female-dominated jobs should not have had to wait 17 years to achieve the wages they deserved from day one,” he adds..
Ironically, Donna Boyle who retired in June after 27 years of employment in the school division, won’t benefit from the wage parity adjustments which took effect in September. But, she says, “I am just glad that other CUPE members will finally reap the benefits of our struggles and frustrations.”
The three-year collective agreement with the Holy Trinity School Division provides all of the general wage increases in 2006: 3% in January and 4.95% in September. An additional 5.05% of payroll was allocated for the wage parity adjustments.
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