School support workers in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake) are 98 per cent in favor of taking job action.
The results of the strike vote were announced today after five days of voting. CUPE Local 748 called it a strong mandate to call a strike.
President Michelle Bennett says taking job action will ensure workers get the support they need.
“CUPE 748 members are proud of the work they do. Over 4,700 students, and their families, depend on the services we provide every day in our schools and communities,” Bennett said in a news release. “The school district is threatening these services by demanding concessions at the bargaining table. Members deserve better.”
Bennett says all they are asking for is to be treated with respect and a fair collective agreement.
“The best thing for students, their families, and the communities we serve is for us to reach a fair and equitable agreement,” she says. “School support workers deserve to be treated with respect, members should not be asked to arbitrarily sacrifice job security and accept poor working conditions. The work we do is important, we deserve to work with dignity.”
School district 8 superintendent, Trish Smillie, says although workers have voted in favor of taking job action it doesn’t necessarily mean they will strike.
“If CUPE members do want to strike within those 90 days, they would need to issue us with 72-hour strike notice,” says Smillie. “The parties have made progress at the bargaining table. While we have not yet reached an agreement, we are hopeful that an agreement will be reached.”
The district also said a mediator has been appointed by the Labour Relations Board and district management are optimistic an agreement can be reached.
Neither side has disclosed what the key issues are.
According to the district, the deadline to finalize mediation is Feb. 22 and the deadline to finalize ratification of any mediated agreement is March 15.