Picket lines to expand for Catholic School support staff
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:48AM MDT Last Updated Wednesday, September 19, 2012 6:47AM MDT
After more than 900 striking support staff with Edmonton Catholic Schools regrouped Tuesday, officials with the union said the picket line will expand on Wednesday.
Striking workers met at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre on Tuesday to discuss strategy – and the union confirmed striking workers will be asked to show up at Archbishop O’Leary High School on Wednesday afternoon.
“We don’t want to cause any disruption,” Rick Klemchuk, a union representative told CTV News. “But unfortunately the employer is not listening to us so we have to move things on.”
Until now, the picket line has remained at the downtown offices of the Edmonton Catholic School board.
“If they decide to picket at a school there is nothing we would do because it is their legal right,” Edmonton Catholic Schools spokesperson Lori Nagy said.
Nagy said the schools have been managing since the strike began, since about 60 staff from the district’s main offices have been working at the schools assisting principals – but she admitted the schools still need more hired professionals to help special needs students.
Many of those students have not attended class since support workers walked off the job.
The news comes after the union rejected the latest offer from the school board Monday night.
The strike includes library staff, secretaries and teacher’s aides – at issue is wages and cuts to hours.
Chairwoman of the school board Debbie Engel said both parties are in agreement on all issues, except compensation in the second year of the two-year contract.
The union wants a fixed amount in that year; while the board says it can't because it could end up cutting in the classroom.
With files from Susan Amerongen