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May 4, 2000, Burnaby The Canadian Union of Public Employees welcomes the commitment of parent volunteers to the school system, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill said today, and wants Education Minister Penny Priddy to establish a province-wide policy confirming their role.

In a keynote address to the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, ONeill spelled out a three-point province-wide policy CUPE believes should be adopted by parents, teachers, trustees and the provincial government to confirm the importance of parent volunteers.

CUPE understands and supports the right of parents to participate in their childrens education,” ONeill said. “We welcome the contribution your members and other parents make to our kids success. But we do object and we think you should too – when some school boards take advantage of parents commitment to make cuts in service or funding.”

To resolve the issue, ONeill said, Priddy should lead by establishing a province-wide process based on three principles:

  • A commitment to ensure parents can volunteer to support our school system;

  • A commitment that volunteers will not be used to eliminate paid, trained staff or to violate collective agreements; and

  • A government commitment that parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to volunteer, can be assured their kids receive quality education through funding support for necessary staff according to minimum province-wide standards.

ONeill warned the delegates that the imposition of a contract through Bill 7 would prolong the collective bargaining crisis in the school system, not end it.

“Our members will not be satisfied until they have ratified a freely-negotiated collective agreement that provides employment security, protection against contracting - out, a minimum four-hour shift and fair wages and benefits,” ONeill said.

Information:Louise Leclair, CUPE Communications Representative
(604) 291-1940

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