WINNIPEG Paraprofessional employees in the Louis Riel School Division (formerly the St. Vital School Division), represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted 96% in favour of strike action yesterday.
At issue are significant concessions proposed by the Division. The employer wants to reduce employee vacation benefits, statutory holiday benefits and the Divisions responsibility to pay for Professional Development days.
The union has proposed wage parity with the paraprofessionals in the former St Boniface School Division. These employees were recently amalgamated into the Louis Riel School Division as part of the provincial government amalgamations of school divisions.
Were looking forward to the government stepping in to help reduce wage differences that were created by amalgamation, as they have done already in Sunrise Division, says Ann Robins, CUPE Representative. The wage gap between employee groups is in the range of 5 to 14% for the majority of employees.
These paraprofessionals are amongst the lowest paid employees in the Division and it is appalling that the Division is trying to cut some of the most fundamental contract provisions they have, particularly when government financial assistance is likely, she added.
Conciliation talks are scheduled for Friday in an effort to avert a strike.
CUPE Local 3473 represents 200 paraprofessional employees in the Division who provide assistance to special needs children.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.
For information, contact:
Carol Fraser, President CUPE Local 3473 - Phone 253 8375
Ann Robins, CUPE Representative - Phone 942 0343