Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades ratify new agreement

WINNIPEG – School custodians, trades, and mechanics represented by CUPE
Local 110 and the Winnipeg School Division have ratified a new collective agreement.

“Custodians, tradespeople, and mechanics have been critical throughout the pandemic in helping keep our schools safe and running,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE 110.

“Our members were prepared to strike to achieve a new agreement, and we are relieved that the School Board made the right decision.”

Wage increases are in line with recently negotiated teacher’s agreements and are retroactive: 1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, 0.5% in 2021, and a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

The agreement between CUPE 110 and the Winnipeg School Division is yet another CUPE school sector agreement that is above the province’s unfair wage mandate.

“The provincial Conservatives really tried to hold school support staff back,” said Peschel.

“It shouldn’t take a potential strike for leaders to acknowledge the hard work of front-line staff, but we are glad the Winnipeg School Division finally pulled through.”

CUPE 110 represents approximately 400 school support staff at the Winnipeg School Division, including custodians, trades, bus mechanics, and more.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library technicians, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

Winnipeg School Division custodians, trades, urge Board of Trustees to settle contract ahead of potential strike

School custodians, trades, painters, and maintenance workers are calling on the Winnipeg School Division (WSD) Board of Trustees to settle contract negotiations at their regular board meeting on Monday, October 4, 2021, or face potential job action. 

 

“The Winnipeg School Division has failed to negotiate a new contract for the frontline staff who have been responsible for keeping our schools clean and running, especially throughout the pandemic,” says Rick Peschel, President of CUPE Local 110.  “We hoped the Board of Trustees would have settled this contract before the school year started, but they have shown very little leadership despite frontline staff continuing to work incredibly hard throughout the pandemic.”  

 

The Winnipeg School Division forced school bus drivers to strike in 2020 during the school year, as well as pushing teachers to the edge this summer, now they are pushing custodians over too, explains CUPE 110.

CUPE 110 is asking for the same four-year deal that teachers in the division received: 1.6%, 1.4%, 0.5%, and cost of living adjustment. 

Many other school divisions in Manitoba have already settled this agreement with support staff represented by CUPE.

“The WSD lost the school bus driver arbitration, they took the teachers arbitration settlement, and somehow they think the results here are going to be different for hard-working support staff?” said Peschel.  “We have been very patient with this Board to date, and we ask that the Board settle our contract on Monday so we can focus on keeping our schools clean, safe, and running.” 

 

CUPE Local 110 has a strike mandate from its membership and is in the process of preparing for job action. 

School division support staff accept new agreements, avoid strike before start of the school year

School support staff at the River East Transcona School Division and Prairie Rose School Division have tentatively accepted a new collective agreement, while clerical, IT, and library techs at Seven Oaks School Division ratified a new agreement last night.

These school divisions have avoided a strike that could have begun as early as this week, says CUPE.

“Hours before support staff were to begin a legal strike, the River East Transcona School Board agreed to settle a fair contract with its workers,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.  “We thank all staff and the Board of Trustees at River East Transcona School Division, Prairie Rose, and Seven Oaks School Division for working hard to achieve a fair deal, especially with the provincial government’s continued efforts to hold school support staff back.”

Brandon School Division (CUPE 737) has also recently achieved a new collective agreement following a strong strike mandate from staff.

While the provincial government has said it will not pursue Bill 64, The Education Modernization Act, they have yet to fill the funding gap created by underfunding in the education sector and the phase-out of the education property tax or repeal their wage freeze mandate.

The new agreements between CUPE and River East Transcona School Division, Seven Oaks School Division, Prairie Rose School Division and Brandon School Division ensure school support staff receive raises that are consistent with those recently negotiated by other CUPE Locals and other unions in Manitoba, including the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, and are retroactive:  1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, and 0.5% in 2021 and cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

“CUPE school support staff have been leaders in pushing for fair wage settlements, despite the provincial government’s attempts to undervalue their worth,” said McLeod.  “We hope other school divisions follow suit and recognize what parents and the community already know: school support staff are the pillars of our education system and deserve fairness.”

Other school divisions represented by CUPE that have reached agreements outside the province’s attempted mandate includes St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Sunrise School Division, Interlake School Division, Evergreen School Division, and Turtle River School Division.  CUPE thanks the Boards of Trustees of all these school divisions for their leadership in advance of the new school year.

Seven Oaks School Division custodians and bus drivers will hold a ratification meeting next week.

Negotiations are ongoing in other school divisions, including Pine Creek, Portage la Prairie, and Park West School Division where CUPE-represented support staff currently have strike mandates.

Custodians, trades, and maintenance staff at the Winnipeg School Division are also currently in a strike position and could set up picket lines in the coming weeks if the Board continues to prevent a fair settlement in line with other divisions.

 

Education reform, attacks on labour to be scrapped by Manitoba’s interim Premier following months of community pressure

Today the interim Premier of Manitoba, Kelvin Goertzen announced that Bill 64, which sought to eliminate public school boards is likely being withdrawn. 

“CUPE has been fighting Bill 64 since it was first announced and we are relieved that it is likely being withdrawn,” said Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “This result is due to community pressure, including workers and families speaking out against Bill 64”.  

Also likely being withdrawn is Bill 16 (The Labour Relations Amendment Act) which would have led to long, drawn-out strikes and lockouts. 

“Bill 16 has already put pressure on negotiations across Manitoba, with thousands of workers at the bargaining table worrying about whether or not they would have access to arbitration if they go on strike,” said McLeod. “Our members can continue to focus on negotiating a fair deal without the cloud of Bill 16 over their heads”. 

 Additionally, Bill 35 (The Public Utilities Ratepayer Protection and Regulatory Reform Act) which would have undermined the Public Utilities Board, Bill 40 (The Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation Amendment and Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act), which would have privatized public liquor, and Bill 57 (The Protection of critical Infrastructure Act) which would have targeted protests are all likely being withdrawn. 

“Thousands of CUPE members are still at the bargaining table, with 18,000 health care support staff in strike position. We fully expect interim Premier Goertzen to prioritize getting a fair deal for health care workers as soon as possible”. 

 The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than 700,000 members. In Manitoba, CUPE is the province’s largest union, representing approximately 36,000 members working in health care facilities, personal care homes, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries, and family emergency services. 

CUPE Local 110 warns province to stop interfering in education bargaining

WINNIPEG – President of the Union that represents custodial and trades staff at the largest school division in Winnipeg (Winnipeg School Division (WSD)), says the provincial government is inhibiting an important contract settlement that will prevent uncertainty and chaos for students and parents less than two weeks before schools reopen.

Members of CUPE Local 110 have been negotiating a new contract since their last contract expired in June of 2019, with wages being the only remaining issue to be settled. During bargaining, union negotiators dropped many of their original demands in order to avoid a strike and ensure that schools open on time.

“All we are asking for is a fair deal in line with what the teachers were awarded not only in the Winnipeg School Division but throughout the Province of Manitoba,” says Rick Peschel, President of Local 110.  “The Union has been very reasonable throughout negotiations, and only wants a fair deal for school support staff.”

“We are asking for the government to stop interfering with our collective bargaining,” says Peschel.  “Our members just want to go to work, but after being in the third year without a contract, they are feeling frustrated as it is evident that the school division is being pressured not to sign. Any strike action at this late date would cause chaos for parents and students.”

Last May, the WSD signed a four-year agreement with teachers that includes pay increases dating back to the 2018-19 school year, with a retroactive hike of 1.6 percent in that year, 1.4 percent in 2019-20, and 0.5 percent for 2020-21. The agreement also includes a cost-of-living increase for the 2021-22 school year.

“All we are asking is for the provincial government to allow collective bargaining to continue without interference. We just want fairness for the workers we represent” says Peschel.

The bargaining unit for CUPE Local 110 represents approximately 400 custodial, maintenance, mechanics, tradespeople, painters, and technicians at the WSD, Manitoba’s largest School Division. Members of Local 110 are in a legal strike position after a recent strike vote that saw overwhelming support for strike action. The local is also moving forward with a public campaign to bring attention to the negative impacts on WSD custodial and trades staff due to the provincial government’s continued attempts to mandate wages for Manitoba school divisions.

School Division support staff in Manitoba call for fair contract ahead of new school year

School support staff in five school divisions in Manitoba have now voted in favour of strike action, calling for contract negotiations to be resolved ahead of the new school year. 

“School support staff have been working incredibly hard to keep our schools and children safe during the pandemic, yet the Pallister government continues to try to prevent school divisions from settling staff contracts fairly,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director. “School support staff are feeling ignored and disrespected by the government, and are voting to strike for fairness.” 

School support staff who now have strike mandates include the Brandon School Division; custodians and trades at the Winnipeg School Division; custodians, library techs, bus drivers, IT, and clerical at the Seven Oaks School Division; and support staff at Turtle Mountain and Park West School Divisions in the Westman area. 

School support staff have been without a new contract since 2018, as a result of Pallister’s unconstitutional interference in collective bargaining. Support staff are asking for wage increases in line with recently settled teachers’ contracts.  

No dates for a strike have yet been set. 

There is another way.

“Some school divisions have offered fair wages and settled negotiations without the cloud of Pallister’s wage mandate holding them down,” said McLeod. These include the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, Interlake School Division, Turtle River School Division, and Evergreen School Division.  “School divisions should be unafraid to exercise their locally elected voices by supporting the staff who have helped carry our schools through the year.” 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library techs, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba. 

Brandon School Division Support Staff Vote for Strike Mandate

BRANDON, Manitoba – School support staff in the Brandon School Division have voted 99% in favour of strike action.

“School support staff have been critical throughout the pandemic in helping our kids succeed,” says Jamie Rose, President of CUPE 737 representing support staff in the Brandon School Division. “This has been an incredibly challenging year for staff, yet the Division is still hanging on to the Pallister government’s unconstitutional wage mandate”.

School support staff have been without a new contract since 2018, as a result of Pallister’s unconstitutional interference in collective bargaining. Support staff are asking for wage increases in line with recently settled teachers’ contracts.

“Staff take these votes seriously, and the 99% support for a strike mandate tells us school support staff feel disrespected, undervalued, and deserve support”, said Rose.

This strike mandate also comes at the same time that the Pallister government announced $146 million in education property tax refunds, which have been widely criticized as taking much needed money out of the school system.

A strike committee has been established, no date for a strike has been set.

CUPE 737 represents approximately 600 school support staff in the Brandon School Division, including Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Custodians, Maintenance, Library Techs, Secretaries, and more.

Interlake School Division school custodians, trades, and mechanics ratify new agreement

STONEWALL, MANITOBA – School custodians, trades, and mechanics represented by CUPE Local 2972 and the Interlake School Division have ratified a new collective agreement.

“Custodians, tradespeople, and mechanics have been critical throughout the pandemic in helping keep our schools safe and running,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.

“The agreement between CUPE 2972 and Interlake School Division is the second school support staff contract that defies the Pallister wage freeze and includes raises in line with those agreed to by school divisions and the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. We want to thank the Interlake School Division for their leadership in reaching this agreement.”

Wage increases are in line with recently negotiated teacher’s agreements and are retroactive:  1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, 0.5% in 2021, and a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2022.

The agreement between CUPE 2972 and Interlake School Division helps set a pattern for school support staff in Manitoba, following CUPE 3164’s similar wage settlement at Evergreen School Division announced on June 8, 2021.

“The Pallister government has done everything they can to stop school support staff from negotiating fair contracts, so we are proud that CUPE support staff are leaders at the bargaining table”.

CUPE 2972 represents approximately 45 school support staff at the Interlake School Division, including custodians, trades, and bus mechanics.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represent approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library techs, intercultural liaisons, and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

Evergreen School Division School Support Staff ratify new agreement

GIMLI, MANITOBA – School support staff represented by CUPE Local 3164 and the Evergreen School Division have ratified a new collective agreement.

“School support staff have been on the front lines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, helping keep our kids and schools safe, and providing critical support in the classroom,” says Lee McLeod, CUPE Regional Director.

“The agreement between CUPE 3164 and Evergreen School Division ensures school support staff receive raises that are consistent with those recently negotiated by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society. We want to thank the Evergreen School Division for their leadership in reaching this agreement, despite the provincial government’s attempts to prevent wage increases for school support staff in Manitoba.”

Wage increases are in line with recently negotiated teacher’s agreements, and are retroactive:

1.6% in 2019, 1.4% in 2020, and 0.5% in 2021.

The agreement between CUPE 3164 and Evergreen School Division is the first freely negotiated (settled without arbitration) school support staff settlement in Manitoba to break the 0%, 0%, 0.75%, 1.0% wage mandate of the Pallister government. This wage mandate was originally part of The Public Services Sustainability Act–legislation that was ruled unconstitutional by the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench in 2020.

The Pallister government is also holding school divisions hostage with Bill 64, threatening their very existence and ability to negotiate directly with their own staff.

“The Pallister government has done everything they can to stop school support staff from negotiating a new contract, so we are proud that the CUPE support staff at Evergreen School Division and the School Division leadership reached a fair agreement”, says McLeod. “We expect other school divisions will follow Evergreen’s lead and agree to fair settlements with other CUPE locals.”

CUPE Local 3164 represents approximately 150 school support staff at the Evergreen School Division, including education assistants, bus drivers, school secretaries, maintenance and trades, library staff, and ECEs.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represent approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library techs, intercultural liaisons and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

School support staff speak out against Pallister’s K-12 Education Review, Bill 64

WINNIPEG – The union representing approximately 6,000 K-12 education workers in Manitoba is speaking out against the Pallister government’s education review and Education Modernization Act (Bill 64) announced today.

 

“The Pallister conservatives are driving their ideological agenda with an unprecedented attack on our local democracy, and this time it will affect our children”, said Lee McLeod, Canadian Union of Public Employees’ Regional Director. “School support staff are worried that such a major overhaul will result in cuts to education, will leave our most vulnerable students and parents with fewer resources, and even less ability to raise their concerns and needs.”

 

“If Pallister’s health care reforms taught us anything, it’s that they hurt our health care system and left it vulnerable when the pandemic struck,” said McLeod. “Now Pallister is using a pre-pandemic report to upend our education system, ignoring all the critical lessons we learned over the past twelve months.”

 

CUPE also notes that Bill 64’s elimination of school divisions will result in less public control and accountability of local schools. Parents, community members, and staff often approach local school boards and make presentations on how to improve schools in their areas. This legislation will eliminate important public oversight of our school system.

 

“Manitoba is unique in that our diverse communities have direct input into their school system through their locally elected school boards,” said McLeod. “This government wants to remove all of that local decision making and replace it with their own centralized, hand-picked appointees on Broadway. Toothless advisory boards will leave parents and families with no real voice in education”.

 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represent approximately 6,000 education workers, including education assistants, custodians, bus drivers, clerical, library techs, intercultural liaisons and more in 25 school boards across Manitoba.

Read the full report here: https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/educationreview/docs/public-discussion-paper.pdf

Read more about the government’s plans here: www.bettereducationmb.ca