We are the school district support staff workers in School District No. 46. We are the clerical workers who are the front-line staff who make schools warm and welcoming. We are the technical support, the occupational therapists, special counsellors, physical therapists and speech and language pathologists.
We are the special education teaching assistants, childcare workers, crossing guards, supervision assistants, StrongStart workers, industry training chefs and lab assistants who support students every day.
We are the maintenance staff and custodians who keep the schools safe, clean and ready for school each day.
I read with considerable concern the story, "McRae apologizes and asks to talk" in the Jan. 25 edition of Coast Reporter.
It left me wondering: where is our apology, Minister McRae? The "cooperative gains" mandate that the minister refers to sounds innocuous and friendly, but coming on the heels of the last government mandate - the "zero mandate" - it begins to point to something decidedly less innocuous and less friendly. Imposing this mandate on school boards and workers is not in the spirit of fair collective bargaining.
No other public sector group has had to bargain with these restrictions. School boards have had costs downloaded to the point where students in classrooms are being affected daily.
Minister McRae, it is time to stop with your mandates, fund public education fairly. Treat boards of education and frontline workers with respect and commit to a fair collective bargaining process.
Carolyn Smith, president
CUPE local 801
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