3,700 support staff at seven N.S. school boards holding strike vote

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - School support staff in most of Nova Scotia are in the midst of a strike vote and could be on the picket lines early in the new year.
The 3,700 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees are employed in seven boards outside Halifax.
The votes will be tallied Nov. 27.
CUPE representative Kathy MacLeod said Tuesday the union wants the same salary increase of 2.9 per cent that was given to public school and community college teachers in their most recent contracts.
The support staff's last contract expired on March 31, 2007.
Members include bus drivers, janitors, teacher's aides and other support staff.
The staff are looking for a 2.9 per cent increase for each year of a three-year contract, which would only take them to this coming March.
The government is offering 2.9 per cent for 2007-08 and 2008-09, but only one per cent for each of the last two years of a four-year contract.
Community college teachers held out for, and received, a 2.9 per cent wage hike retroactive to Sept. 1, 2008, and one per cent for 2009-10 and 2010-11.
MacLeod said the union is ready to meet again with the province if it says it wants to get back to the table.
"We're not advocating for a strike here," she said. "We're prepared to go back at any time the government wants . . . to try to reach a tentative deal."
Education Department spokesman Peter McLaughlin said the department would like to see the two sides reach a negotiated settlement.
"The last thing anybody wants is to see a disruption to students and parents and staff," he said.

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Education Department

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

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