The UNION, which represents K-12 aid staff in 25 school departments, is calling on the government to commit to long-term funding so that the improvements made in September are sustainable in the coming years. “Any downsizing will hurt our schools and hurt our children`s education, especially now that so many students are facing difficult times to learn from home,” said Araya. “Students, parents and teachers need to know that they have access to the help they need to help students succeed.” “Manitobans know how important school support workers are to our K-12 education system,” says Abe Araya, president of CUPE Manitoba and himself a school facilitator. “We help keep our schools safe and clean, get our children to school safely, run our schools and help our children learn, grow and succeed.” The division will pay $5.2 million by July. The union, which represents most K-12 education workers in Manitoba schools, is calling on the Manitoba government and school departments to keep all K-12 workers on the payroll during COVID-19. The 3 per cent increase in salaries over two years between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2020, is modest compared to the last round of teacher negotiations in Manitoba, which for the most part increased salaries by two to three per cent per year. CUPE also pledged that school bus drivers would continue to support families. The provincial government announced the suspension of all publicly funded schools in Manitoba for three weeks, starting March 23 and through April 6. This is being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba. School trusts say they are in a difficult situation when their next collective agreement with teachers reflects the two-year contract in the Louis Riel School Division.
Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen wrote to CUPE and thanked the school official and our union for encouraging Manitobans to recognize and appreciate the work of school support staff in Manitoba.