Seniority, job security main issues as bargaining breaks down
LETHBRIDGE – Over 100 employees at Livingstone Range School Division will hold a strike vote May 25-26 to decide whether or not to go on strike.
The teaching assistants, bus drivers, administrative, custodial, and maintenance staff belong to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). The union members work in nine schools and one Hutterite Colony School across the school district, which includes the communities of Pincher Creek, Fort McLeod and Crowsnest Pass.
CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz said the union is recommending a strike vote because the school division is trying to eliminate job security and seniority provisions from the contract.
“The school division wants the right to contract out our jobs whenever they please,” said Lanovaz. “That means lower wages, more turnover, and a poorer quality of education.”
“Schools need to be well run, clean and well maintained to promote a positive work environment,” said Lanovaz. “If wages don’t keep up, turnover increases, and the quality of work goes down.”
CUPE Local 2133 President Laurella Trotter said the school wants to lay off staff and then choose which persons to hire back without going by seniority. “In a school setting, where there is a layoff every year, this is very serious – 20 year employees could be let go for no good reason.”