|The SD52 Board of Education Office in Prince Rupert|
The union which represents a range of support staff workers at School District 52 has expressed its disappointment at the status of contract negotiations, which saw talks break off earlier this week.Education Assistants, Secretaries, Custodians, Bus Drivers, IT staff, Library Assistants, School Meals Program workers, Maintenance and Trades staff at Prince Rupert School District 52 , outlined its shock at the turn of events in what they describe as several months of progress on a range of issues.
The two sides had previously held bargaining sessions in October and this month, the most recent negotiations ending on December 14th, with the School District subsequently applying to the British Columbia Labour Relations Board to seek out the services of mediator.
In their statement of Wednesday, the Union observed:
"We had already resolved most monetary and other issues over several months of negotiations and expected to be able to reach a new collective agreement, but suddenly the Employer's Bargaining Committee walked out over a work scheduling issue.
This is unreasonable and irrational ...
We simply cannot understand SD 52's confrontational approach to what is an important issue to our members that can be resolved at the bargaining table.
IUOE members at School District 52 want a new contract in place in a fair and timely manner and the aggressive actions of the School District has thrown negotiations out the window."
What Adrian David, Business Manager of IEUOE Local 882 called an unexpected development over a non-monetary issue, has made for a change in the labour temperature that has given cause for the union membership to consider taking job action in January.
The Business Manager also observed of the timing of the end of negotiations"It is particularly unfortunate that SD 52 has caused concern and anxiety for our members just before the Christmas holiday break - there is no reason we can't reach an agreement quickly and I urge SD 52 School Trustees to direct their Bargaining Committee to get back to the table immediately.