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CALGARY - CUPE Alberta has a new President.

D’Arcy Lanovaz, 38, a facilities administrator with the City of Calgary, takes over from Bruce McLeod who stepped down late last year. CUPE Alberta has 26,000 members in Alberta, primarily in the municipal, education and health care fields.

Lanovaz says his priorities will include raising the profile of the union, and speaking up on education, municipal and health care issues.

“It’s my hope that CUPE Alberta can act as a strong, united voice for working Albertans,” said Lanovaz. “Because more than ever, that voice is needed.”

Lanovaz pointed to education, a field in which he says workers are underpaid and suffering from what he called ‘yo-yo funding from the provincial government.’

“When the province decided to not fund the teacher’s settlement, they squeezed school boards across the province,” said Lanovaz. “That meant cuts in custodial service, cuts in maintenance, and fewer resources for special needs children.”

“A lot the teachers have been re-hired, but support staff are still squeezed. If custodians are not cleaning school yards of glass, needles and used condoms, then guess who is - our kids.”

Lanovaz was chosen to serve on an interim basis until CUPE Alberta’s convention, scheduled for March 31st - April 2nd in Red Deer.