For Immediate Release – April 20, 2015
Weyburn – On the heels of our well-attended rally for respect on the weekend, the education support staff of South East Cornerstone School Division reached out to their employer today and offered them yet another opportunity to come back to the bargaining table. To our dismay, the employer has declined; they will not negotiate.
“We have served strike notice this morning,” said Maureen Jackiw, Administrative Assistant and SEIU-West Unit Chair of Southeast Cornerstone. “We are encouraged by the support our communities have shown us and hope that this will continue through our struggle for a living wage.”
The employer has offered a mere 2% wage increase in an area of the province where the cost of living has skyrocketed.
“We know that the students and their parents appreciate and benefit from the diverse roles of those who work in education support,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “However, it does not appear that the Board acknowledges these significant day-to-day interactions and their worth in creating a positive learning environment. Why else would they insist upon an offer that is not in keeping with provincial cost of living?”
The recent conciliation process between the parties failed to achieve any agreement on a new collective agreement. The mandatory 14 day cooling off period expired on March 30, 2015. The Union will be in a legal position to begin strike action as of 10:47 am on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.
“Our students and their parents rely upon the resources provided by our members in support each day so our desire is that these services not be disrupted,” added Jackiw.
In the last five years, education assistants have been reduced by 350 staff across the province. This impacts the ability of all staff to educate and be role models for our future citizens.
“Our members are prepared to return to the bargaining table and consider any revised proposal that the Board has to offer,” added Cape. “We believe that as a province, we need to reinvest in our education system; the people of Saskatchewan need to understand that schools are about more than bricks and mortar, they are about the services provided by staff that make our communities stronger and set our children on a course for their future.”
SEIU-West represents approximately 250 members employed as Education Assistants, Library Technicians, Custodians, Maintenance/Journeypersons, Kitchen/Cafeteria staff, Administrative Assistants and School Bus Drivers employed by the South East Cornerstone School Division in Weyburn, Estevan and 14 other rural communities.
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For more information, contact:
Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 8733
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