Saskatchewan school workers join CUPE

Follows organizing efforts in Prairie Spirit School Division

More than 30 caretakers, educational assistants, bus drivers, and administrative staff in the Prairie Spirit School Division in Saskatchewan voted to unionize with the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) May 30.

In May, a new certification order issued by the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board brings 20 additional workers into CUPE Local 4254, which represents hundreds of education support workers in the Prairie Spirit School Division, said the union.

These new members followed a dozen administrative staff who voted to join the union in the fall of 2016, according to CUPE.

Standard concerns around job security, wages and benefits have been heightened for workers in K-12 education since last fall when the provincial government commissioned a report on education restructuring. Nowhere were these concerns greater than in the Prairie Spirit School Division, which laid off dozens of support workers last year, said the union.

The 2017-2018 provincial budget proposed $54 million in cuts to K-12 education, a 3.5 per cent wage rollback for public sector workers followed by a wage freeze, and changes to The Education Act in budget Bill 63, which dramatically reduces the decision making authority of local school boards, said CUPE.

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