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(Sydney) The union representing over 1,300 school board workers with the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board (CBVRSB) is going to vote one more time on the boards final offer.

CUPE Local 5050 President Todd MacPherson says, The members have decided that a second vote is necessary after a review of the Local 5050 membership lists showed we have 158 members less than we thought.

The exact number is critical because under the Trade Union Act, 50% of the membership must cast a ballot for a strike vote to be legally binding, says MacPherson.

CUPE National Rep. Peter Baxter says the union today asked the board for access to conduct the second vote on school property. Says Baxter, Because we have so many workplaces 68 schools - and these workers are spread out across half of Cape Breton, this is the only way we can conduct the vote in a timely manner.

They have extended this same courtesy to the teachers union (NSTU) in the past, so we are hoping they see the sense in doing it this way, says Baxter.

The CBVRSB has made a final offer to the school board workers that contains a 7% wage increase over three years, but also contains a series of major concessions on everything from hours of work to job security provisions.

The school board workers have been without a contract since April, 2001. The second vote will contain two questions, the first pertaining to the boards final offer and the second regarding a strike vote.

Opeiu 491

For information:
Todd MacPherson, President, CUPE Local 5050
(902) 549-2873 (Cell)
Peter Baxter, CUPE National Representative
(902) 539-4933 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(902) 455-4180 (o)