School board workers back on the job

Darrell Cole
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CUPE, CCRSB going to mediation

Union members back on the job Tuesday, bus service resumes Wednesday

Picking CUPE workers were back on the job Tuesday afternoon after the union and the CCRSB agreed to go to mediation.

AMHERST – A one-day strike by unionized bus drivers, custodians and tradespeople within the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has been put on hold while both sides go into mediation.

“Over is probably not the right word to use, but this is a good step,” CUPE National Representative Betty Jean Sutherland said Tuesday. “We have agreed to take our lines down and go back to work while we await the outcome of mediation.”

Over the lunch hour Tuesday, CUPE Local 3890 and the school board agreed to sit down with provincially-appointed mediator Bruce Outhouse before the end of March.

Sutherland said the union is confident of Outhouse’s abilities and optimistic that a solution will be found that will keep the 450 unionized employees on their jobs.

Those employees walked off their jobs early Monday after a close vote Sunday in favour of taking strike action. The main issue in the walkout was contracting out and how it affected job security for union members.

The strike left many of the board’s 20,000 students to find their own transportation to classes and pulled about 100 buses off the roads. It also resulted in the temporary cancellation of all extra-curricular activities and schools were not going to be available for non-school groups during the work stoppage.

Cleaning was going to be limited to nights and weekends and be completed by management and non-union staff.

Board spokeswoman Debbie Buott-Matheson said the two sides began talking mediation on Monday, but could not work things out in time to allow the striking workers to go back to their jobs on Tuesday. More talks were held early Tuesday with the union agreeing to send its members back to work at 1 p.m.

Buott-Matheson said all buses will be operating on their normal schedules on Wednesday morning.

“We’re happy that things are going to return to normal, we’re happy that students’ extra-curricular activities are going to resume and we’re happy that parents will no longer have to worry about they were going to get their children to and from school each day,” Buott-Matheson said.

It’s believed the mediation will take place sometime in March.

A large group of union members picketed in front of the board’s Truro offices early Monday while several schools were picketed early Tuesday before the workers went back to their jobs.

Organizations: Central Regional School Board

Geographic location: Chignecto

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Recent comments

  • Mediaboy
    January 28, 2014 - 15:35

    The union agreed to go to mediation when it became apparent that the strikers didn't have public support behind them. Perhaps the loss of a day-and-a-half's pay will teach them a valuable lesson.

    • striker girl
      January 29, 2014 - 10:11

      Well Media boy if you were up on your facts we would have known that we wanted to go into arbitration on Friday and the board refused so we made a stand on Monday and Tuesday as a united front. With being on the strike line we had support from the public with honking and coffee to help keep us warm. That's all the support we needed.. If you hadn't noticed the board was doing some scrambling to get this resolved as early as Monday morning so with that we made an impact... Thanks