At a special meeting held yesterday for Quest parents, unanimous support was expressed for the employees of Quest. Parent after parent signed a petition demanding that Quest administration “stop playing games” and negotiate a fair contract.
The meeting was called by the Union to springboard a parent initiative to take control of their school. Parents have now galvanized to engage in their own effort to clean up Quest.
The possibility of a strike was described to the parents. The Union indicated that all entrances to the school would be picketed if there was a strike. The Union also indicated there would be representatives from other Unions at the picket lines and that any camps arranged by Quest administration would also be picketed. All of this will be videotaped and the media will be there. Quest parents were unshaken in their resolve to support the employees of Quest. Quest parents and their students will not compromise their relationships with teachers, instructional assistants, and others by going to the school during a strike. They told us that it would not happen!
Many Quest parents are going to contact the Government of Alberta. They share the Union’s view that quest administration has a duty to resolve this situation, and not to put Quest employees in the horribly awkward position of having to shut the school down just to achieve basic workplace fairness and dignity and respect. Some are already making alternative arrangements for the fall.
Union negotiations continue on Thursday and Friday of this week.
If a settlement is not reached there will likely be strike votes on August 12th, 17th, and 20th at different locations in the city. A positive strike vote, if Quest management’s behaviour remains unchanged, will result in a strike on or around August 25th.
Some Quest staff were present at the meeting, and they spoke to the parents. The parents readily identified with the arguments made. Long term staff didn’t just wake up one morning and unionize just for fun. There had to be something wrong with the way the school was being managed. Some parents expressed the view that their experiences with school management is very similar to the circumstances that the staff have faced. Parents know that the establishment of a Union and a fair Union Contract are a critical step to change the culture and the atmosphere of the school.
If there is a strike vote, and we believe there will be, Quest staff will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to say that the school will not run without them. Parents will also have unique and rare opportunity to support those individuals who are there in the classrooms to change the lives of students with special needs.
Please note that this letter and future updates will be posted on the Union’s website under Calgary Quest’s own designated icon at www.gounion.ca.
Posted on: July 27,2015