MISSISSAUGA, ON, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - In a clear and strong message to
both the Ontario government and their school board employer that "enough is
enough," clerical, secretarial and technical staff with the Dufferin-Peel
Catholic District School Board (DPCDSB) last night voted 99.9 per cent in
support of strike action.
The strength of the vote marks a "milestone for us," says Tina DiVona,
president of Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2026,
representing about 600 school support workers at the board.
"After nearly ten years of understaffing and increasingly high workloads
- resulting from flawed and inadequate education funding and, until recently,
a school board willing to make cuts - administrative support workers have hit
the wall. We are saying 'enough is enough,' says DiVona.
Negotiations between CUPE 2026 and the school board began in November
2006. During that time, a provincially-appointed supervisor has been in place
to make cuts and balance a $16 million deficit.
"Having the province's own deficit cutter under our roof has backfired on
the government. What it's done is allowed us to better focus on how to defend
our workplace rights, our jobs, and the quality of public education. This
strike vote is a direct result of workers seeing their livelihood under
attack," says DiVona.
A key issue for CUPE 2026 in these negotiations is achieving a better
staff-to-student ratio. Based on comparisons with other school boards, there
are fewer secretaries and other administrative staff at the Dufferin-Peel
catholic board per pupil. In addition, school secretaries and library
technicians are called on to supervise students because the provincial
Liberals did not provide adequate funding to school boards to meet new
framework agreements on preparation time with teachers.
"What this means is there aren't enough support staff to keep up with the
administrative work in a region that's showing student growth. Things like
staying on top of attendance management are key to keeping students in school
and helping them succeed, and we can't do that well enough with the staffing
levels we currently have," says DiVona.
Initially, the provincial supervisor had proposed cutting 19 clerical
staff and close to a half-million dollars from the clerical support budget.
Negotiations resume on June 22.
For further information:
For further information: Tina DiVona, President, CUPE 2026, (647)
297-2873; Vickie Houston, CUPE National Representative, (905) 536-0711; Stella
Yeadon, CUPE Communications, (416) 578-8774