Support workers in Edmonton Catholic schools will hit the picket lines this morning.
About 1,000 teaching assistants, special needs assistants, secretaries librarians and other support workers will set up a picket line at the board’s office, starting at 8 a.m.
Schools will remain open and the board is aiming to keep everything as normal as possible, but there will be disruptions.
“This will not be just a normal day in school tomorrow, because these are very valuable employees who play critical roles,” said board spokesperson Lori Nagy.
Working hours along with wages are the primary issues in the negotiation according to the union.
“They are giving us more and more to do with less time to do it,” said Daniel Burrell, with the Edmonton Catholic Support Staff Association. “If you get a three-per-cent wage increase, but your time is cut by 12 per cent you are taking home less money.”
The board’s last offer pledged to discuss those issues and provide a 4.54 wage increase in the first year and a pledge to look at possible increases in the second year.
The board tweaked its deal after it was first rejected last week, but the union declined it to a vote saying the changes were not significant.
The Alberta Labour Relations Board ordered a new vote, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday. If the new offer is ratified workers will return to the job Thursday.
Burrell said, at least for the first few days of the strike, they plan to picket at non-school sites like the board office.
By the numbers
- About 25 special needs students may have to stay home, if alternative arrangements can’t be made.
- In the first vote, on the board’s offer 479 out of 916 union members voted.
- In the first vote, 277 workers rejected the board’s deal and 202 supported it.