Community Continues to Rally Behind Striking Hanover Educational Assistants
Steinbach, MB—In the time since Hanover School Division educational assistants began their strike action, words of encouragement on social media and on the ground have been constant in a show of community support that has heartened the striking workers as they enter their fourth week of picketing.
Many parents have opted to join the picketers on the streets of Steinbach and Niverville to lend their voices to the cause, sometimes with their children—current and former students—in tow.
Miranda Hardy, a parent of three students in Hanover School Division and the chairperson of the Woodlawn School Parent Advisory Council, has been vocal in recent media appearances about the positive impact that EAs have had on her family and the community at large.
“My kids require full days, every day, with their EAs,” says Hardy. “EAs do a lot. They put up with a lot. I know my kids aren’t easy to handle with their needs and behaviours. I feel good when I hand them off, as I know they’re in good hands after I leave.”
Local businesses have also been showing their support in unique and thoughtful ways. The Public Brewhouse and Gallery has served as a makeshift headquarters for strike operations, and establishments such as the Niverville MCC Thrift Store and The Indian Spice Club have offered those on the picket line much-needed pick-me-ups in the form of snacks and refreshments. Other businesses, including Old Church Bakery and Cell ReStore, have kindly offered the use of their washroom facilities.
Even strangers have been getting in on the altruistic action, often supplying the EAs and their supporters with coffee and doughnuts as the temperatures began to drop.
“I’ve been blown away and touched by how much community support we’ve had,” says Charlene Kratavicius, a Local 306 member who has been employed as an EA at Steinbach’s Southwood School for five years. “The messages of support, those who have stopped to talk to us, all the treats dropped off. It’s been amazing.
“I was in Walmart last week, and the cashier saw my Support Your EAs pin. She told me that her child wouldn’t have made it through school without EAs. That type of encouragement has been great to hear.”
For more strike coverage and information on how the public can support these educational assistants, visit CLAC’s EA strike page.