On Monday, October 15 members of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), who work as support staff at Living Waters Catholic Schools in Edson, Whitecourt and Slave Lake, voted in favour of a mediator’s recommendations for settlement, ending an 18-day long strike.
The negotiation session addressed the needs and issues raised by both parties.
“We are pleased an agreement has finally been reached,” says AUPE vice president Rod Ferland.
Ferland adds the negotiations began more than two and a half years ago and have been long and difficult.
Ferland says the recommendations, which form the foundation of the support staff agreement, address many of the issues staff have kept at the forefront of their fight since day one. He mentions even when the board refused to budge, workers stood by their top priorities, which included securing more regular work schedules so staff could be available to students, and ensure coworkers were not under-staffed or overworked.
The agreement guarantees regular-full time employees at least the same number of workdays as instructional days for students in the year, ensuring kids and staff are well resourced.
Ferland says support staff should be able to plan their weeks with more ease and come to school knowing they have a more secure source of income.
“We recognize the last weeks have not been easy for anyone in the Living Waters community, including the employees on strike,” says superintendent Jo-Ann Lanctot. “We now look forward to the process of healing and reconciliation that must take place in the wake of such events, and to welcome our valued employees back to their places of work.”
Lanctot says the board and senior administration of Living Waters wants to sincerely thank the communities for their support, patience, understanding and prayers as they navigated the process.