ECA Review Reporter
Front-line support workers in the Prairie Land School Division have joined Educational Assistants (EAs) in being represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Approximately 40 custodians, maintenance workers, mechanics and other non-teaching staff voted 94 per cent in favour of organizing under CUPE.
“They now have strength in numbers,” said Lou Arab, spokesperson for CUPE. “They have professional expertise bargaining their wages and working conditions.”
The next step for the support workers is negotiating their first contract with the school division. Their decision to organize comes on the heels of the division’s Educational Assistants ratifying their own collective agreement in September. The EAs voted to join CUPE earlier this year.
According to Arab, the four year contract recently approved by the EAs included a nine per cent pay increase, and is retroactive for one year. The support workers will be a separate bargaining unit under the same local and as such will negotiate their own contract.
The largest trade union in Canada, CUPE represents over 9000 support staff in schools in Alberta. CUPE also represents support workers in the Clearview School Division.