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FERGUS After a difficult round of bargaining, and averting a labour disruption, the Upper Grand School Board custodial, trades and maintenance staff, have ratified a new contract with the board.

On the weekend, members of Local 256 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) voted to accept a settlement that includes a 4.5 per cent wage increase over twenty months and moderate improvements to sick leave provisions. Although the contract was ratified, it was not an overwhelming acceptance by the membership.

Initially, the Upper Grand School Board had offered the 230 custodians, maintenance and trades people who clean and do repairs at 70 public and elementary schools across the region, only a half of one per cent wage increase.

This salary increase is a start to wage parity with custodians, maintenance and trades people doing similar work at neighbouring school boards, who on average earn $1.50 an hour more, says Jill Smyth, CUPE national staff representative.

The negotiations highlighted a consistent pattern by the board administration of undermining the value of the work done by custodial and trades workers. A campaign to raise awareness about the important work CUPE Local 256 members do in the schools will continue.


For more information, please contact:
Jill Smyth
CUPE National Representative
(519) 502-6806

Stella Yeadon
CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774