WINNIPEG – Support staff in the Sunrise School Division voted on Saturday to go on strike.
“We’ve been without a contract for three years – we’ve been cooperative and patient – and we’re not getting anywhere with bargaining – so the members voted overwhelmingly to strike,” said Anne Marie Roy, President of Local 1618.
“The Employer has had years to work out issues related to the school division merger that took place but they want us to solve their problem.”
The members of CUPE Local 1618 who are Education Assistants, Custodians, Maintenance Staff and Bus Drivers for the Division have been without a contract since January of 2004. The issues that the Union says has provoked the strike vote include:
- Inadequate wage increases – the Employer’s last offer is based on a complicated formula that would mean an Educational Assistant would get $0.80 an hour less in 2008 than what the Union feels is a fair and equitable wage.
- Reductions in monetary benefits – the Employer also wants reductions in other benefits (provision of uniforms for bus drivers, retirement bonuses, sick time and LTD benefits) that the Union feels are completely unjustified.
- Unfair and unequal treatment – the Union feels the Employer is treating support staff differently than teachers and administrative staff who all negotiated wage increases and benefits greater than what is offered to the support staff.
The Local is now in a legal position to strike, but a meeting with the Union, the Employer and a Conciliator is planned for next week to avert a strike. A strike in the Division in 2002 lasted 10 days.
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The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. CUPE represents workers in over 20 school divisions across Manitoba.
For information, contact:
Steve Edwards, CUPE National Representative
Office: (204) 942-0343 / Cell: (204) 771-2534
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications
Cell: (204) 333-5065