April 2, 2000, VancouverThe NDP government took aim at CUPE today when it legislated 15,000 members back to work after a one-week strike. The strike came on the heels of 18 months of the government repeatedly refusing to deal with a bargaining process that has left CUPE members without one true negotiating partner during the last several years.
It was particularly disheartening for CUPE members watching the proceedings to hear Finance Minister (and former Minister of Education) Paul Ramsey describe the negotiating problems of CUPE locals and those of school boards in the same breath.
Government has known since last Spring that negotiating problems were insurmountable for CUPEa situation not shared by the school boards who never publicly complained about the processin fact, they benefited through its lack of clarity.
CUPE national representative and bargaining co-ordinator for the K-12 Sectoral Bargaining Committee (SBC), Gary Johnson, advised committee members to ensure that all locals are back at work tomorrow as a result of this legislation. “The NDP has shown its disdain for CUPE members, our work and the contribution we make to the education system,” said Johnson, “and this did not start with the legislation. The legislation is just the most recent volley from the NDP to CUPE school workers.”
“For the moment,” said Johnson, ” all members can do is return to your jobs. We will be taking a careful look at both the legislation and the terms of reference for the second Industrial Inquiry Commission tomorrow and well report back to the SBC and the locals.”
Regret and anger at the NDP governments decision to legislate CUPE members back to work were expressed by Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour and David Chudnovsky, President of the BC Teachers Federation.
CUPE officials will not be making media comments until Tuesday morning after a review of the legislation and IIC terms of reference.
Louise Leclair, Communications Representative
(604) 291-1940 or (604) 454-4711 (c)
Regular information updates regarding CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining can be found at: www.cupe.bc.ca/sbc