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Vermillion After three attempts at the bargaining table to secure fairness and equal treatment for school support employees with the Buffalo Trails Public School Division, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1601 will apply to the Alberta Labour Relations Board for mediation.

This negotiation process is going nowhere fast. The school board is simply refusing to bargain, says CUPE 1601 president Margaret Templeton. We are looking for fair treatment and respect for the employees of this school board and if we cannot get it at the negotiating table we will get it with the help of a mediator, she said.

CUPE 1601 represents 300 teaching assistants, library technicians and custodians at Buffalo Trail Public Schools. At issue are contract provisions for a job evaluation process, inclement weather days, bereavement leave and working conditions.

The posture at the bargaining table makes it clear that this Board does not value its support employees. The Board is refusing a joint job evaluation process to address the changing work assignments and workload issues of the employees, said Templeton. This is not acceptable. It is time for fairness and respect, she said.

The schools cannot run effectively without these employees. Our members have been doing extra duty and putting in extra hours in order to maintain a high quality education system. There has not been an assessment of jobs and workload since 1996, said Templeton.

At the same time, teachers and administrative staff get full pay for missing a work day due to inclement weather yet this board wont even consider giving the rest of its employees one paid day per year for bad weather, she said.

All of this points to a lack of respect for the people who are the backbone of our schools, concluded Templeton.


CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 26,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and www.cupealberta.ab.ca.

For more information:
Pam Beattie, CUPE Communications
(780) 484-7644 or (780) 288-1230 (cellular)