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CORNWALL, ON – Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario support staff have voted 92 per cent in favour of a strike if talks between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 500 education workers, fail to reach a fair contract settlement with board management.

This decisive strike mandate shows that our members are united in their frustration and are prepared to strike if we are not offered a fair deal,” said Liz Harrison, president of CUPE Local 4154. “Our employer has failed to show us respect in bargaining, and this continues to be reflected in management’s daily interactions with our members.”

CUPE 4154 represents full-time, casual, and temporary workers offering clerical, technical, custodial and maintenance services, as well as educational assistants. Their last contract expired on August 31st, 2004. The workers serve schools in a vast territory of Eastern Ontario that extends from the Quebec border to cover the regions of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. The Board’s head office is located in Kemptville.

We are frustrated with management’s lack of understanding of our issues, and their unwillingness to negotiate a fair contract that would improve morale among our members,” said Harrison. The two sides have yet to discuss any monetary issues. Some members have not seen a salary increase in more than a decade. “We are asking parents and community members to urge their trustees to make sure the board improves their approach in upcoming conciliation talks – otherwise we will be faced with a strike that will hurt education in our communities.” Conciliation is scheduled for January 31st and February 1st.

We will do our best to achieve a deal in conciliation, but we are preparing for the real possibility of a strike,” said Harrison. “We are committed to achieving a fair deal for our members – a deal that reflects the respect we deserve.”

For further information, please contact:

Liz Harrison
CUPE 4154 president
(613) 222-0569 (cell)

Joanne Harvey
CUPE national representative
Cornwall Office
(613) 933-5515

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999