Employer refusing to negotiate until August 17 and withholding vacation pay
Fort Macleod - The Livingstone Range School Board is refusing to come to the negotiating table until August 17, in a labour dispute that threatens to disrupt the school year in Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, and Pincher Creek.
The board locked out the 100 employees two weeks ago, forcing the union representing secretarial, custodial, library, and teaching assistant staff to serve strike notice.
“CUPE has been asking the school board to get back to the bargaining table since June,” says Laurella (Lou) Trotter, President of Local 2133.
“By refusing to negotiate until August 17, the board is coming perilously close to disrupting the school year for hundreds of children,” continues Trotter.
“If the board’s hardline tactics continue, it will have an impact on students and their parents,” says Trotter.
“The members of CUPE Local 2133 perform invaluable support services. Students’ education will suffer if this dispute is not resolved quickly,” says Trotter.
The Livingstone Range School Board is also withholding vacation pay from the members of Local 2133.
It is now illegal for CUPE members to enter Livingstone Range School Division property. The union is telling its members to avoid LRSD property, as CUPE is not responsible for fines levied against members who choose to disregard the notice.
Furthermore, the Livingstone Range School Board has chosen to reduce cleaning time for custodians in Fort Macleod, which will inevitably result in a lower level of maintenance and cleanliness.
Livingstone Range School Board has hired an Edmonton-based management consultant, at considerable cost to taxpayers, instead of handling negotiations themselves. The hard-line tactics have resulted in the board demanding greater contracting out of services and greater use of casual employees. School boards that have handled negotiations themselves, such as Lethbridge, have experienced a much smoother bargaining process.
CUPE has launched a summer ad campaign to fight contracting out and casualization, as contract and casual employees do not deliver the same level of high quality school support services for children in southern Alberta schools.
Laurella (Lou) Trotter, President
CUPE Local 2133
CUPE Communications Representative