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WINNIPEG - Twenty professional and support staff at Age & Opportunity Centres Inc. are set to strike at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, September 18 unless their employer resumes conciliation talks and negotiates seriously.

“We have never been a particularly radical group”, said agency counsellor Maria Wasylkewycz, a member of CUPE Local 2348’s Negotiating Committee. “But we really are left with no other alternative. Negotiators for our employer refused to consider our last proposal. They got up and left the bargaining table.”

Wages and job security are the major outstanding issues. But Wasylkewycz says the Age & Opportunity employer is also demanding several other contract concessions from the workers.

“Our wages are between 28% and 51% behind those doing similar jobs at other agencies,” she says. “In addition, our employer is attempting to take away items from the Collective Agreement that make it possible for us to do our work - things that have been there for a long time.”

Employees of Age & Opportunity Centres Inc. were the first social services workers in Manitoba to join CUPE and have been unionized since 1978. They provide counselling services, retirement planning, legal assistance, friendly visitors and a host of other services to Winnipeg’s seniors.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest Union representing more than 485,000 women and men across the country. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 23,000 members in health care, education, municipalities, social services, utilities, libraries and emergency services.

For more information, contact:
Maria Wasylkewycz, CUPE Local 2348
Phone: (204) 956-6449
Brian Ellis, CUPE Representative
Phone: (204) 942-0343

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