EDSON, SLAVE LAKE, WHITECOURT – This morning, members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), who work as support staff at Living Waters Catholic Schools in Edson, Slave Lake and Whitecourt, voted in favour of a mediator’s recommendations for settlement, ending a 18-days long strike.
This afternoon, the employer ratified the recommendations as well. Staff will head back to work in the six Living Waters schools affected, tomorrow morning.
“We’re pleased an agreement has finally been reached,” said AUPE vice-president Rod Feland. These negotiations, which began more than two and a half years ago, have been long and difficult.
“The more than 120 Living Waters staff AUPE proudly represents have always known the value of their work, because they know the worth of their students and the importance of quality education, which these members help provide every single day,” said Feland.
On Monday, Living Waters staff and the Board met for another day of bargaining, where the mediator, who’s been overseeing negotiations since last year, presented a series of recommendations on outstanding items.
The recommendations, which form the foundation of their agreement, address many of the issues staff have kept at the forefront of their fight since day one.
“Even when the Board refused to budge, these workers stood by their top priorities, including securing more regular work schedules so they could be available for students, and to ensure coworkers weren’t understaffed and overworked,” adds Feland. “Their solidarity and persistence has paid off.”
The agreement guarantees regular full-time employees at least the same number of workdays as instructional days for students in a year, ensuring kids and staff are well resourced.
The mediator’s recommendations also include guaranteed minimum daily hours of work for all classifications.
Support staff should now be able to plan their weeks with more ease and come to school knowing they have a more secure source of income.
“They might be spread over three towns, but the solidarity these workers have shown in bargaining and on the picket line is inspirational and a testament to true unionism and community,” said Feland.
For more information:
Tyler Bedford, AUPE senior communications officer: 780-298-7626