Kootenay Lake School superintendent Jeff Jones issued this letter earlier this afternoon:
To our SD8 (Kootenay Lake) Community
Overshadowing the excitement of starting a new school year, is the possibility of strike action by our colleagues who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Our CUPE staff members are highly valued individuals who provide important services that support our learners every day. Bus drivers, clerical workers, facilities and maintenance employees, technology support personnel and educational assistants are among our employees included in this group.
At the time of writing this letter, we do know that our CUPE employees are in a legal position to strike. You may recall that there was minimal job action taken by our employees in June — that had little impact on services provided; it is my understanding that the intent of the action was to provide information to our community.
We are very hopeful that conversations at the bargaining table during the week of September 3rd will be productive and will help to avert this serious job action.
Because of the timing of the bargaining, we are confident that school will start as usual, for the week of September 3rd. The outcome of the bargaining will determine next actions.
In the event that our colleagues choose to take strike action, and remove all services, we will be unable to receive students in our schools. Therefore, I recommend that while we hope for the best, we need to be planning for the worst-case scenario.
At this time I am advising parents that they should be considering childcare arrangements in the event of a full withdrawal of services by our CUPE colleagues. Our employees are required to give us 72 hours’ notice before they take strike action. This will be sufficient time for our parents and caregivers to put their childcare plans into action if required.
Please keep an eye on our website (sd8.bc.ca) in order to see updates and current information about this matter.
Jeff Jones, Superintendent of schools/CEO