"Respect Our Work" - Surrey education assistants spotlight additional hours needed in schools

    SURREY, BC, March 14 /CNW/ - Education Assistants (EAs) in Surrey held a
Respect Day on March 12 to draw attention to the unpaid work done in schools
throughout the district.
    As part of a campaign to improve services in the area of special
education, EAs were encouraged to work only their scheduled hours on March 12
to highlight the fact that the current allotment of hours does not allow time
for any of the extra activities their work requires.
    Dee Beattie, second vice-president of CUPE 728 is a key organizer of the
Respect Day campaign. "We are committed to doing the work that makes our
schools inclusive for special needs kids. But that commitment runs into the
reality of "bell-to-bell" scheduling and reduced hours. Education Assistants
are an integral part of the education team and we need a 35-hour week to
properly serve our kids," says Beattie.
    CUPE research shows that education assistants work an average of 14
unpaid days per year (1.8 hours each week). This includes activities such as
modifying programs or consulting with teachers, principals and other
professionals that are often done by EAs on breaks and during lunch hours.
    The level of support for EA hours varies throughout the school system.
But overall CUPE EA's are subsidizing special education with their unpaid
work. EAs in Surrey are part of CUPE Local 728, representing staff in Surrey
school district. Respect Day was supported by teachers and other workers in
Surrey schools.

    Video of Respect Day Launch:

For further information:

For further information: Roseanne Moran, Communications Representative,
(778) 835-7537, www.cupe.bc.ca

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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