CUPE - Canadian Union of Public Employees

07/05/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/05/2019 13:27

Education support staff at the Prairie South School Division vote to strike for retirement benefits and wages

Members of CUPELocal 5512 in Moose Jaw have voted 95.7 per cent in favour of moving forward with job action, up to and including a full withdrawal of services.

'The employer is coming after a long-standing retirement benefit, pushing a wage freeze in the first two years of the agreement, and trying to divide us by offering deals that hurt some of us more than others,' said Dave Stevenson, CUPEnational representative. 'The message we heard from our membership was loud and clear. We are standing united against these concessions and miniscule wage offers. We deserve and demand more respect than the employer has been showing us.'

The Prairie South School Division is trying to eliminate the members' Long Service Recognition Benefit and replace it with inferior retirement gratuity language.

'We've negotiated this important benefit into our contract, and taking it away would negatively impact about 142 of our members immediately. Everyone else who retires from now on after at least 14 years of service will be affected by this cut too,' said Stevenson. 'The school division is also pushing a wage offer well below increases to the cost of living.

'We won't let them divide us; we won't let them insult us; and we won't let them attack our retirement,' said Stevenson. 'This strike vote shows that we are ready to fight for a fair collective agreement.'

Though the local has taken a strike vote, there are no current plans for job action. The bargaining committee has agreed to take the employer's last offer back to the membership to vote on in September. The bargaining committee will be recommending that members vote to reject the offer.

CUPELocal 5512 represents approximately 422 members who work for the Prairie South School Division #210. Our support workers include bus drivers, facility operators, head facility operators, maintenance workers, education assistants I and II, administrative assistants, library assistants, library technicians, and tradespersons.