A second union within the Regina Public School Division has voted in favour of strike action.
CUPE Local 650, who represents 175 maintenance and trades people, voted 93 percent for a strike mandate on July 17th.
President Glenn Douglas says this comes after three years of bargaining with the most recent offer seeing a two-year wage freeze and threatening job security. “For some reason if a school is to close, they don’t have to re-employ those people and those people lose those jobs. That’s not a good thing. In the past the jobs would be saved and the balance would be done with retirement.”
Douglas says the workers under the union keep the schools clean and safe for students. “At this point the maintenance and trades are literally taking the schools apart, washing every surface and piece of furniture, refinishing all the floors, putting everything back together so when the new school year starts in the fall you have what would look like a brand new school when you walk into it.”
He adds that they also ensure everything is working properly, the temperatures stay regulated in the buildings and they are safe and operational for all inside.
Douglas says he is hoping the strike action will bring the division back to the bargaining table for legitimate discussions. “As apposed to what I would consider to be a very half-hearted bargaining from their part where they’ve made the equivalent of three half-days of time for us over three years and considered that bargaining.”
He says the union just wants to be valued the way the school division values itself.