Mark Hancock with CUPE Manitoba and CUPE Sask leadersToday striking members of CUPE 1630 were joined by several labour leaders including CUPE National President Mark Hancock, Canadian Labour Congress President Bea Bruske, and CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay, along with dozens of students in a tremendous show of support outside of the Rolling River School Division office in Minnedosa, Manitoba.

“During this pandemic you know how important it is to have safe and clean schools,” Hancock said, addressing the many students attending the rally, “that comes from the workers who provide custodial and cleaning services. And how is this employer treating these heroes? It’s treating them pretty badly.”

The school custodians and cleaners have been on strike since November 1 after the Rolling River School Division refused to offer a contract comparable to other school districts in Manitoba.

“Let’s make one thing clear, these workers are not asking for anything unreasonable. They just want to be treated the same as teachers and other education workers in the province. It is the employer who is being unreasonable,” Hancock said before handing the megaphone to CUPE Manitoba President Gina McKay, who led the crowd in an energetic chant of “one day longer, one day stronger.”

“Workers from across Canada are standing with school custodians and cleaners at Rolling River School Division,” McKay said. “And the support from the community makes us that much stronger.”

The rally caps a week of tremendous support for the school custodians and cleaners which saw students from the school division walk the picket line alongside the people who normally clean and take care of their school. Joining Hancock, Bruske and McKay on the picket line were Judy Henley, CUPE General Vice President and President of CUPE Saskatchewan, Kent Peterson, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Saskatchewan, and James Bedford, President of the Manitoba Teachers Society, along with members from several CUPE locals across Manitoba.