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November 4, l999, BurnabyO006e00200074he heels of a BC Labour Relations Board decision (BCLRB), disqualifying a strike vote in Cowichan, representatives of the 47 locals in CUPE’s K-12 Sectoral Bargaining Committee (SBC) are demanding that BC school boards that have been refusing to come to the table and bargain do so!

CUPE has already filed an appeal against the LRB’s decision in Cowichan,” said Gary Johnson, CUPE national servicing representative and co-ordinator for CUPE school bargaining in the province. “The real issue here is that school boards are refusing to come to the table and bargain with CUPE locals many of whom have been without contracts for a year or more.”

At a day long meeting, on November 3, 1999 attended by 22 representatives of 18,000 school workers from every corner of the province there was unanimous agreement that a public campaign will be mounted to ensure that British Columbians understand the games being played by school boards and the province through the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) when it comes to educational services that affect special needs of students, cleanliness, safety and financial accountability.

“There is so much ball tossing going on between one level of government and another,” says Johnson, “the result is that no one is focussing on the services being reduced and in some cases so badly eroded they are unrecognizable.”

CUPE members are unequivocally concerned about their jobs,” said Johnson. “Who would not be with hours whittled down to a point where the ability to do jobs, which entail the safety and security of our children, is at stake.”

CUPE representatives across the province have tried, for months, to resolve issues through negotiation, legislation and dialogue with politicians at the local and political level. Every attempt has resulted in dismal disappointment.

Information: Gary Johnson or Louise Leclair

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