Its been a long, hot summer in Saskatchewan. But with classes starting today, Wadena school trustees need to un-fry their brains, and end their strike with support workers.
Our work is essential to making sure that schools are a safe place for students, says Donna Zarowny, the president of CUPE 3078, which represents 80 support workers who hit the picket lines on Monday.
Without the caretaking staff, theres no one to disinfect water fountains and maintain boiler safety. Without teaching assistants, theres no helping hand for teachers in the classroom, and no one to care for special needs students. Without secretaries, principals will be too busy answering phones and registering students to monitor the playgrounds at recess.
The striking workers are respectfully asking teachers (members of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation) not to do any work that support staff would normally do. That includes everything from operating the library, to emptying the garbage cans in classrooms and washrooms, and doing the secretaries work in the office.
The first day of school is the most memorable day of the year, says Zarowny. The other support staff workers and I would love to be there. But the board isn’t listening to our concerns or treating us with respect, so we have no choice but to stay out on the picket line.
Zarowny says the board would earn some respect from workers if John Treso, the divisions director of education, stopped misleading the public. Treso told local media that the school board responded last week to the unions latest contract proposal. But Zarowny says thats not true. We just received their proposal on Tuesday, and hadnt had any contact with the board since our last proposal to them on June 30, she says.
CUPE 3078 workers want a better wage, and more full-time work. Theyre also fighting for dental and optical benefits, as well as full wages for holidays and inservice training.
Please e-mail the Wadena board office and tell trustees to end this strike now: firstname.lastname@example.org
Better yet, pick up the phone and call the trustees themselves. Let them know that kids deserve all the support they need as they return to class. If youre calling from outside Saskatchewan, the area code is 306.
Rose Olson (Chair) 338-3369
Kelly Berlinic (Vice-Chair) 383-2691
Ivy Bakken 323-4949
Terry Horan 327-4849
Lyle Sunderland 383-2665
Kathy Daviduk 338-2606
Jodi Johnson 327-4279
Jerry Klassen 325-4457
Melba Desjarlais 338-3838
Glenn Shore 324-2002