Mediation ends as employer continues to demand rollbacks
(12 Sept. 2007) - The 67 early childhood educators (ECE) who work at SFU Childcare Society, members of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), will be setting up picket lines beginning Monday, September 17.
Approximately 250 families in the Simon Fraser University community, including faculty members and students, will be affected by the withdrawal of child care services.
"Our union members have tried every option possible to give this employer the chance to bring real money to the table that will bring our members' wages and benefits to the same level as other ECEs in the community social services sector," explains BCGEU president George Heyman.
"Instead the employer has continued to demand that these workers give up rights and benefits they already have in place."
The BCGEU child care professionals temporarily suspended rotating job action for the first week of September as families headed back to work and school. The union also requested mediation in a final attempt to avoid full strike action. After the employer refused to withdraw concessions this week, the union asked the mediator to book out.
Heyman notes that the union made an innovative proposal in mediation for a one year extended version of the current collective agreement. The employer rejected the offer that would have allowed it more time to raise the money it needs to improve wages and benefits.
"Our union and members are actively lobbying for increased public funding for child care. The employer itself must try much harder to get the funding from government and the university that is needed to sustain these important jobs. This requires vision and financial planning.
"Increasing parent fees is not the answer," Heyman emphasizes. NUPGE