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Brantford, Ont. Grand Erie District School Board workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), could be on strike as early as next month, if a contract cannot be reached between the school board and the union.

This is a fight to protect our rights, said Brenda Savoie, president of CUPE 5100. Our members work hard and they deserve respect and recognition.

Seniority and job protection rights are the main outstanding issues for the over 300 school board workers, who provide office, clerical and technical services in 85 schools in Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk counties. The workers recently voted 88% in favour of a strike, if a fair contract is not reached.

Some of our members have been serving this community for over 25 years, said Savoie. Now the board wants to take away our hard-earned seniority rights.

The workers will be in a legal strike position on March 26th, at 12:01 am, but will wait for the outcome of final mediation talks, scheduled for April 1st, to decide on strike action. Their last contract expired on August 31, 2004.

Educational Assistants, Communicative Disorder Assistants and Food Technicians, also represented by CUPE 5100, will enter conciliation talks with the school board on the same day. They have also given their negotiating committee a strong strike mandate to back up contract demands.


For further information, please contact:

Brenda Savoie, President CUPE 5100, 519-752-3286

Bridget Pridham, CUPE National Rep, 905-575-5411

James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999