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Prince Albert: About 20 CUPE members who lost their jobs last year when the city contracted-out the concession operation at its largest sports facility received an early Christmas present: an arbitration board ruled Tuesday the city violated their collective agreement when it contracted-out their work.

Fay Harelkin, the President of CUPE Local 882, which represents the concession workers, says members are ‘very pleased’ with the decision and are looking forward to returning to work at the Art Hauser Centre concession.

The dispute began nearly 18 months ago, when the Art Hauser Centre Board informed the union it planned to contract-out the concession operation. About 25 CUPE members lost their jobs.

The union filed a grievance in September 2005, stating the board’s actions violated the CUPE Local 882 collective agreement, which limits contracting-out of work to situations regarding periodic peaks in workload.

On Tuesday, the three-member arbitration board agreed. It instructed the parties to work out the details of the settlement agreement. In addition to getting their jobs back, the union wants the concession workers compensated for lost wages and benefits.

CUPE staff representative Bryan Brotzel says the arbitration board’s decision couldn’t come at a better time. “It’s great news for the concession workers – nearly all of whom are women. Many of them had worked for the city for more than 20 years and depended on this employment income.”

Brotzel says he wants to meet with the city as soon as possible to negotiate the details of the settlement.

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For more information contact Bryan Brotzel at 922-3895 or 961-8643 cope491