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OTTAWA The union representing over 650 administrative, technical and support staff at Carleton University will enter the final stages of contract negotiations with the help of a Ministry of Labour conciliator, on Friday, August 20th. The union hopes to avoid a strike that could disrupt the return to classes in September.

We hope Carleton University will take these negotiations seriously, says Karen Martin, president of Local 2424 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). If we reach an impasse, the start of the school year could be very bumpy for returning students. A potential strike could affect student and administrative support services when students return in September.

At this point, we are still very far apart, says Martin. We need to see substantial movement by Carleton University at the bargaining table, in order to resolve this crisis.

The issues in dispute are wages, pension claw-backs by the University, and several quality of life and respect issues related to workload.

The University reduced Pension Plan benefits, saving the University millions of dollars annually, in addition to more than $3 million in savings due to reduced contributions over the last 3 years, says Martin. Dental benefits for retirees is also an issue.

Were also dealing with excessive workloads, resulting in excessive amounts of overtime and increasing difficulties in the ability of members to take leave entitlements, says Martin. Its an uphill battle for workers rights.

Talks will be held at the Holiday Inn Select in Kanata this Friday.

For more information:

Karen Martin
President, CUPE 2424

Jean-Marc Bz0061ire
CUPE National Representative

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE Communications