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GUELPH, ON – University of Guelph trades, maintenance and service workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are set to go on strike on October 25, 2005, at 12:01 a.m., over the university’s unfair demands for benefit concessions and unresolved pension issues, if mediation talks fail.

Our members are united and ready to fight benefit cutbacks and defend our pensions,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, president of CUPE 1334. “We have started a work-to-rule campaign to put pressure on our employer in order to achieve a settlement without a strike.” The workers are seeking greater input into how their pension funds are managed. Wages are also unresolved.

The 280 workers’ last contract expired on April 30th, 2005. They provide custodial, trades and maintenance services at the university. The workers voted 91 per cent in favour of strike action if a negotiated settlement is not reached. Mediation talks are scheduled for October 24, 2005.

It’s ironic that our voices are not heard in an institution that teaches students how to voice their opinions,” said Folk-Dawson. “If management had listened to any of our concerns, we would not be on the brink of a strike, fighting to have a voice to ensure our pension funds are being managed properly.”

Our members go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure the campus is running efficiently,” said Folk-Dawson. “Our work-to-rule campaign will show that without the full support of our members, Guelph University will experience big gaps in the delivery of educational services.”

We are hoping that our issues will be resolved in mediation,” said Folk-Dawson. “A strike would hurt the students and disrupt their education. Hopefully, we will not have to take that route.”

For further information, please contact:

Janice Folk-Dawson
CUPE 1334 president
(519) 766-8376 (cell)

Jill Smyth
CUPE national representative
(519) 743-7781

James Chai
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999