The Saanich branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 441) has voted in favour of taking job action if necessary.
In support of their bargaining committee, CUPE 441 members working in K-12 in School District 63 (SD 63) took a strike vote which concluded on Aug. 27. A majority of the members who voted were in favour of taking job action if needed.
CUPE 441 is comprised of the almost 500 SD 63 support staff who work in a variety of fields; educational assistants, technical support staff, library techs, counsellors, custodial and maintenance staff, clerical workers, and more.
Dean Coates, president of CUPE 441 indicated that support staff in SD 63 have been paid less than those who do the same work in the Sooke and Greater Victoria school districts for decades. Coates explained that they are asking for their needs to be met and for their wages to match those of support staff in other districts on the South Island.
“The employer [SD 63] recently began paying managers and administrators comparable wages because they see the value in attracting and keeping qualified people,” said Coates. “We want them to also recognize and value the contribution of support staff in Saanich schools.”
CUPE 441 has met with the employer at the bargaining table six times in the past. Coates said the strike vote was to show the employer that the members are serious about the wage issues.