Hanover Educational Assistants Hitting the Picket Line
Steinbach, MB— Educational assistants (EAs) employed by Hanover School Division (HSD) and represented by CLAC are walking off the job and hitting the picket line as of November 1. CLAC and HSD have been in negotiations since March 2023, and after CLAC delivered strike notice on October 24, two additional bargaining sessions were scheduled on October 30 and 31. A conciliator has been assisting the parties; however, an agreement has not been reached.
Geoff Dueck Thiessen, CLAC Winnipeg regional director and representative, says the strike is regrettable but appears to be necessary.
“For a long time, Hanover School Division has had the lowest administrative costs per student in the province,” he explains. “This has translated into precarious wages for their EAs, who are paid several dollars per hour less than those in directly neighbouring school divisions.”
Hilda Hildebrand, an EA on the CLAC HSD bargaining committee, agrees.
“HSD strives to be student-centred; it’s in their mission statement,” says Hildebrand. “But we EAs are a crucial, hands-on part of making ‘student-centred’ possible. If we aren’t taken care of, how are we supposed to show up to work every day with all the patience and calm needed to face the many intense challenges of our jobs?”
Dueck Thiessen says the EAs are walking off the job en masse beginning today, with pickets planned for several locations in Steinbach.
“CLAC prefers to represent our members in a partnership with employers, and we rarely strike,” he notes. “In this case, it’s the right thing to do. We hope to resolve this as quickly as possible and get these folks back to work with a wage they can live on and that respects their efforts.”