February 23, 2000, Burnaby Four CUPE school locals on the south end of Vancouver Island and the local representing the Gulf Island school support staff are poised to ask their members for a mandate to strike should that action be deemed necessary. The locals, all members of CUPEs K-12 sectoral bargaining committee, have reached impasses in bargaining primarily because their employees have no authority to bargain issues of primary concern to local memberships.
CUPE members on the Gulf Islands (CUPE 788), in Saanich schools (CUPE 441) and Sooke schools (CUPE 459) will vote on whether or not to give their bargaining committees a strike vote on Saturday, February 26. Victoria Schools CUPE 382) outside workers will take their vote on Sunday, February 27 and Victoria Schools (CUPE 947) inside workers will take their vote on Monday, February 28, 2000.
Presidents of all five locals have indicated that members on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands are fed up with being used as pawns by employers. In some cases pay equity is a major issue; in all cases getting rid of the divisiveness of “red circling” is an issue; benefits are of significant concern to local members particularly part-time workers who are often not entitled to even collect benefits. On all fronts job security and the resultant affect on services to students, their parents and teachers are a significant issue.
Gary Johnson, CUPE national representative and bargaining co-ordinator for the CUPE K-12 SBC said, “CUPE members in schools throughout the province are fed up with being the scapegoat of every administrative cut or whim. Students, parents and teachers are well aware of the affect of administrators decisions to cut hours from teaching assistants and noon-hour supervisors. And they are becoming more aware of the disastrous affects these cuts have on safety, cleanliness and other aspects of school infrastructure.”
Local 788, Gulf Island Schools President
Local 441, Saanich Schools, President
Local 459, Sooke Schools, President
Local 382, Victoria Schools (Outside), President
(250) 480-6082 (pager)
Victoria Schools (inside), Local 947, President
Beryl Big Canoe
(250) 995-9191 (pager)
Gary Johnson, CUPE National Representative
Regular information updates regarding CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining can be found at wwww.cupe.bc.ca/sbc