Members of CUPE 5252, education support workers from Prairie Valley School Division, have given their bargaining team a strong mandate to take strike action if needed.
The Local voted 80 per cent in favour of taking strike action if necessary to reach a fair collective agreement. The main issue is wage parity with non-unionized workers. Their contract expired on August 31, 2011.
“Nobody wants to go on strike,” says CUPE 5252 President laurel Rugland. “But our members are fed up with being treated as second class citizens. They should be paid the same for doing the exact same work.”
Wages paid to CUPE education support workers are significantly lower than the wages Prairie Valley School Division pays to their other education support workers.
Ballots were cast in 21 communities over the last two days with 96 per cent of education support workers.
Education support workers are bus drivers, caretakers, educational assistants, family liaison workers, nutritional assistants, library assistants, central library technicians, administrative assistants, social workers and community school coordinators.
CUPE 5252 represents education support workers in the communities of Fort Qu’Appelle, Indian Head, Qu’Appelle, Kelliher, Lipton, McLean, Southey, Odessa, Francis, Cupar, Lemberg, Balcarres, Grenfell, Montmartre, Neudorf, Sedley, Vibank, Wolseley, Broadview, Kennedy, Langbank, Kipling, Whitewood, and Milestone.