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CARMAN: About 32 Bus Drivers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees in the Prairie Rose School Division are on strike as of Monday morning.

The Negotiating Committee of CUPE Local 4458 decided last night to invoke their right to strike when there was no progress in bargaining.

According to the President of the Local, Peter Dyck, Weve not seen or heard any change in the Employers position since May. They obviously are not interested in negotiating so taking strike action is the logical next step.

We really regret the inconveniences this strike may create for students and parents. We thought of them throughout our bargaining. Unfortunately, the Trustees of the Division are not thinking of what a strike means and have forced us into this position, said Dyck.

The contract with the School Division expired in December 2002.

Contract negotiations took place for a number of months but could not resolve the key issue of wage parity with other bus drivers in the newly amalgamated Division. Drivers who were with the former White Horse Plains Division earn between 14% and 20% more than drivers doing the same work in the same Division who were in the Midland Division before.

The Union and the Employer then went into conciliation in May, but the Employer has not changed their position.

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

For more information, please contact:
Peter Tartsch
CUPE National Representative
204 942-0343 ext. 215
Peter Dyck
President of Local 4458
204 828 3532
Dennis Lewycky
CUPE Communications
204 223 6805