June 17, 2019

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CUPE backs suspended WSD trustee, says treatment of Babinsky 'ridiculous'

Winnipeg School Division Trustee Mike Babinsky.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Winnipeg School Division Trustee Mike Babinsky.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/9/2015 (1364 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The head of one of Winnipeg School Division’s largest employee groups says suspended trustee Mike Babinsky “got the shaft.”

“We do support Mike, morally,” said Terry Egan, the longtime president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 110, representing 400 custodians, cleaners, painters and utility and mechanical workers.

“It’s ridiculous. He shouldn’t have had any discipline whatsoever,” Egan said in an interview. “We openly support Mike, and the way he does business.”

Egan said Local 110 has plenty of problems with the division’s transportation department, and has filed grievances over the way the department treats the union’s members.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/9/2015 (1364 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The head of one of Winnipeg School Division’s largest employee groups says suspended trustee Mike Babinsky "got the shaft."

"We do support Mike, morally," said Terry Egan, the longtime president of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 110, representing 400 custodians, cleaners, painters and utility and mechanical workers.

"It’s ridiculous. He shouldn’t have had any discipline whatsoever," Egan said in an interview. "We openly support Mike, and the way he does business."

Egan said Local 110 has plenty of problems with the division’s transportation department, and has filed grievances over the way the department treats the union’s members.

Trustees have barred Babinsky from board and committee meetings from Oct. 5 through Nov. 2 after an independent investigator concluded Babinsky had regularly humiliated and intimidated an unidentified senior staff member in an ongoing harassment campaign.

While no one has identified the senior staff member, there has been regular public reference to Babinsky’s having involved himself in the transportation department — making allegations that children were left at school bus stops in freezing weather, and that children are spending far too long sitting on school buses.

Babinsky at one time tried unsuccessfully to get police and justice officials to investigate the division’s transportation department.

"Mike got the shaft," Egan said. "I don’t feel it’s fair that he’s been silenced.

"Mike tried to handle a situation — a child was sitting in the cold for an hour. I know Mike well enough to say that he cares about his constituents."

Egan said he may attend a school board meeting soon to let trustees know his union’s feelings about their having disciplined Babinsky.

Egan said he did not run it by the membership before going public to support Babinsky, but said Local 110’s executive is aware and is on-side with his declaration, and added the local had approved Babinsky during last fall’s election, fully aware of how he has conducted himself as a trustee.

"We’re hoping he appeals," Egan said.

Babinsky has not responded to interview requests.

He has until Thursday to ask Education Minister James Allum to appoint an adjudicator, should Babinsky choose to appeal the discipline.

Babinsky has also not said whether he will comply with the board’s directives that he formally apologize to the employee, that he undergo anger management or respectful workplace training, and that he enter into mediation should the employee wish him to do so.

Babinsky and WSD board chairman Mark Wasyliw could not be reached Monday.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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