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MCCREARY, MB. – Turtle River School Division support staff rejected the employer’s contract offer yesterday, putting union members into a strike position.

We have been talking, bargaining, and in conciliation and still the employer is not budging an inch. We just don’t have any other option but to exercise our right to strike,” said CUPE National Representative Doug McLaughlin.

The main issue holding up agreement is wage parity with similar workers in neighbouring divisions. The workers for Turtle River are getting paid as much as $2 per hour less than their counterparts in other divisions. The union representing the workers, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), is trying to correct this imbalance.

The division uses comparisons with neighbouring divisions when they want to justify mill rate increases for school taxes, but not for salaries,” said McLaughlin.

We do the same work as staff in the other divisions, the taxes are about the same and yet we’re treated so differently,” said Diane Cabak, President of CUPE Local 1897.

CUPE represents the approximately 100 workers who are teaching assistants, secretaries, librarians, custodians, mechanics, and bus drivers. They have been in bargaining for a new collective agreement since January.


The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, child care centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. About 4,000 of these members work in 25 of Manitoba’s school divisions.

For information, contact:

Doug McLaughlin
CUPE National Rep.
(204) 725-8888

Dennis Lewycky
CUPE Communications Rep.
(204) 223-6805