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Edmonton The Edmonton Public School Custodial Workers, members of CUPE Local 474, distributed 10,000 white ribbons to all staff in Edmontons Public Schools last week.

The ribbons represent support for ending violence against women. CUPE 474, representing over 600 custodial workers in Edmonton public schools has been distributing the ribbons as well as information on Violence Against Women as part of a nation-wide campaign.

We were asking all school board staff to wear the white ribbons this week in recognition of the need to end violence against women, says Doug Luellman, President of CUPE Local 474. What makes this unique is that we have distributed them to all staff in the district and we have linked up with the National White Ribbon Campaign which runs from November 25 to December 6 the National Day of Remembrance.

The school board has cooperated in the distribution of the ribbons, as well as information. Six years ago the board recognized our efforts and for the fifth year we are pleased to have them help up distribute the white ribbons and information to all staff, says Luellman.

The Local has been distributing white ribbons to its own members over the past nine years after a custodial worker was attacked while working alone. We promised her that we would do all we could to make sure that it would never happen to anyone else, and the white ribbon campaign is part of our effort, says Luellman.

The issue facing many women is working alone and workplace violence. The Alberta Government has finally released health and safety legislation dealing with both Working alone and Violence in the Workplace. These issues directly impact on women workers in the public sector like our members, nurses, and other support staff, who are often expected to deal with the public on the frontlines, where working alone and violence in the workplace are very real threats to their safety, said Luellman.

This year we need to double our efforts to reduce violence against women in the home, the community and the workplace.


CUPE is Canadas largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 26,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and cupealberta.ab.ca.