Catholic board deal goes to proposal vote
900 support workers plan to walk off the job Monday
Posted: Sep 7, 2012 7:11 AM MT
Last Updated: Sep 7, 2012 9:21 PM MT
Edmonton Catholic Schools will put its latest offer to a proposal vote next week in hopes of ending a strike by 900 support workers set to start on Monday morning.
The union served strike notice on Thursday after rejecting the board's latest offer — the third since June.
Board officials are concerned that only 50 per cent of workers voted on the agreements so they asked the Alberta Labour Relations Board for a proposal vote, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The strike will end if 50 per cent plus one person votes in favour of the latest deal.
The district plans to keep schools open during the strike, which is still going ahead on Monday. The superintendent met with principals on Thursday to discuss contingency plans and parents will receive letters on Friday.
Special needs students may have to stay home
Educational assistants are among the workers set to walk off the job.
District spokeswoman Lori Nagy says special needs students may have to stay home because their support workers are the only ones who can look after them.
"The assistants that look after those children know exactly what those needs are," she said. "So we would be concerned that we would not be able to offer that same level of care."
Nagy says principals will be contacting parents of special needs students.
Deborah Barrett from the Autism Society of Edmonton says parents will likely have to scramble to find help.
"You don't find someone to watch your child easily when they have autism," she said. "It's certainly not the neighbour's kid."
Workload caused by increasing enrolments is one of the main issues in the dispute.
The union says educational assistants are seeing their hours reduced and the workload of secretaries has increased too much.
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