For Immediate Release – May 8, 2015
Weyburn – On May 7, the South East Cornerstone School Division requested the SEIU-West bargaining team to come back to the bargaining table after the members had soundly rejected their previous offer. This request came through the Conciliator. The SEIU-West Bargaining team indicated that they are willing to meet and resume negotiations, so are scheduled to resume bargaining talks with the employer representatives beginning at 1:00 pm today.
“We are hopeful that the School Division now has a heightened level of awareness about what is fair and reasonable in the eyes of our membership.” said Maureen Jackiw, Administrative Assistant and SEIU-West Bargaining Committee Chair of Southeast Cornerstone.
The employer had previously offered support staff a 2% wage increase (for each of two years), no other improvements and take-aways in other areas of the agreement. On Monday, they changed the offer to a 3% wage increase for the first year and a 1% wage increase for the second year. They maintained the take-aways in other areas of the agreement and continued to insist on no other improvements. Approximately 89% of the members cast a ballot on Wednesday and a majority rejected the latest offer.
“We know that other groups within the Division signed off on agreements that achieved the 4% wage increase (over the two year period) with added improvements to benefits. Why offer others a fair and reasonable deal and then propose considerably less to us? It makes us feel devalued by this board,” added Jackiw.
“We hope the Board will now recognize the real impact that our members make in the lives of the students; I have witnessed the regular shows of support from both parents and their kids down at the picket line.” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West. “Our members want to get back to work – we believe that the best place to get a collective agreement is at the bargaining table and we are hopeful to achieve that.”
“Our members want to be in those classrooms, driving the buses and cleaning the schools, that is their calling,” added Cape. “Investing in our children’s education needs to be a priority. Without our members, the students are not getting the support and resources that they deserve.”
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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