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(Vancouver) Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees will take action around the province on Tuesday, January 29 to protest the breaking of community social services contracts. Meanwhile, one of the key players in the 1999 round of community social services bargaining is stepping forward to challenge the B.C. Liberal governments claims that agreements should be broken in this sector because they were sweetheart or backroom deals.

The contract and side accords made with community social services workers were democratically negotiated under the public eye, says Ken Pauli, who was a leading employer representative at the 1999 bargaining table.

I want to set the record straight. As an employer, I was proud to have achieved wage parity, bona fide benefits and a pension plan for workers with the current community social services contract that we signed in 1999, Pauli says.

Our studies as employers showed there had been a serious and long-standing discrepancy in salary levels between social service agencies, and that low salary levels just werent attracting the professionals we needed. We also found that there were great inequities in the levels of service being provided between urban and rural areas. With the Munroe accord we were finally able to provide the employment stability and professional wage rates required to assure quality services for our clients.

Pauli is a former chair of the board of the Community Social Services Employers Association (CSSEA), and served for 32 years as executive director of the Childrens Foundation until his retirement last March.

We appreciate the honesty and integrity of Mr. Pauli who is showing the courage of his convictions by making these statements, says CUPE BC President Barry ONeill. As he knows in business a deal is a deal. We hope this government will take heed.

The 3000 community social services members represented by CUPE showed four years ago that they had the support of their communities for a fair contract. Today they are prepared to take to the streets again to defend their hard-won contract gains, ONeill says.

Canadian Union of Public Employee members who work in community social services are planning numerous rallies around the province starting Tuesday, January 29. ONeill will be a featured speaker at a major joint union rally at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Metrotown in Burnaby.

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Contact:
Teresa Marshall, communications representative
(604) 313-6103
Ron Verzuh, communications representative
(604) 785-1422
Ken Pauli, former executive director Childrens Foundation
(604) 275-5850

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