Ashley Martin, here with her son, is one of the organizers of Family Rallying to Support CUPE 441. (Ashley Martin/Submitted)

Saanich Peninsula families to rally in support of striking CUPE members in Brentwood Bay, Sidney

Organizers expect 300 attendees at Friday’s rally

An organizer expects about 300 parents will show their support for striking support workers in School District No. 63 (SD63) tomorrow.

“These are all parents, who are in support of wage equality,” said Ashley Martin, one of the organizers of Family Rallying to Support CUPE 441.

The rally takes place at two locations on the Saanich Peninsula: Brentwood Elementary School, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and at Sidney Elementary School from 12:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Martin said the rally has two goals. “First, we want to support CUPE in getting a fair wage, so that we do not continue to lose [educational assistants] and other support staff to other districts, which is a humongous issue.” Martin said the second goal of the rally is to put pressure on district officials to offer striking workers a fair deal now, so that children can return to school.”

RELATED: ‘No option’ to fix pay parity at local bargaining table: SD63 superintendent

READ MORE: Pay disparity at heart of Saanich schools strike has 45-year-old roots

Tomorrow’s rally comes after three days of bargaining earlier this week broke down with both sides in the dispute appearing to grow further apart.

Dave Eberwein, SD63’s superintendent, said fixing the pay parity issue at the local bargaining table is not an available option in accusing the leadership of CUPE 441 of offering their members what he called “false hope.”

Eberwein said two pools of money are in play: the two per cent wage increases each year for three years plus benefits under the Provincial Framework Agreement, and money from the provincial Job Evaluation Committee, which is currently assessing pay and other disparities between similar jobs across the province.

Eberwein said the district has shuffled things around within its salary and benefits budget to increase wages more than two per cent each year for SD63 support workers, and that is all they have the power to do.

Dean Coates, CUPE Local 441 president, said CUPE members do not think they should have to fund their own wage increases in calling on the provincial government to help achieve pay parity, which he pegged between $1 and $3 million. That’s “peanuts,” he said.

Martin said the current dynamics have only increased support for tomorrow’s rally and heightened its imperative.

“Unless CUPE [411] gets the same wage, we will continue to have the same problem, and we will continue to lose [staff],” she said. “We feel that they should not budge. Budging is not going to solve the problem.”

Martin said parents part of her group feel very frustrated by the strike. “The struggle is real,” she said. “We feel for the families, we feel for the teachers, who wanted to be teaching, and who are also losing out,” she said. “We look at it as short-term pain for long-term gain. Unless CUPE [411] gets wage parity, this problem is going to continue.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore Rotary Club raises $20,000 with Golf Ball Drop fundraiser

Nearly 4,000 golf balls poured onto Olympic View golf course Saturday

Construction slows weekend traffic at Millstream overpass

West Shore RCMP recommend Leigh Road exit instead

TRAFFIC: Saanich emergency crews responding to Pat Bay Highway collision

Incident took place at Haliburton Road intersection

Saanich race car driver shifts gears as pandemic cuts U.S. season short

Bill Okell, 65, sets sights on Canadian racing circuit for 2020

Chorus expands online options to in-person rehearsal in Langford, Oak Bay

Free, non-auditioned SingYourJoy recruits those aged 16 to 29

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read