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MOOSE JAW: The union representing police communication and clerical employees at the City of Moose Jaw announced today that contract negotiations with management have come to a standstill.

Bargaining between the Board of Police Commissioners and CUPE Local 9, which represents the 22 workers, broke off after yesterday’s negotiating session. Contract talks began last May.

Police support staff contribute greatly to the security of the community, but the employer continues to undervalue their work, said union spokesperson Malcolm Matheson.

The civilian police employees are seeking wage parity with their counterparts in Prince Albert, who receive 12 to 33 percent more in wages.

The employees, who are predominantly women, include communication officers, forensic technicians, administrative assistants, information system and victim services co-ordinators, court services and criminal investigation section (CIS) assistants.

Our members perform a myriad of duties essential to police work, said Matheson. They take and refer emergency calls. They search female prisoners for weapons, needles and drugs. They organize court files and help prepare police budgets. They assist with fingerprinting and maintaining criminal record information.

Sometimes the work is unpleasant and the workload is staggering. But if a child goes missing or someone’s mother is being beaten, these workers are the vital link to the police.

But Matheson said the employer is refusing to address the union’s concerns about wage parity. Moose Jaw’s mayor has received parity with his counterpart in Prince Albert. We’re just asking for the same thing.

The union’s last contract expired on December 31, 2000.

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For more information contact staff representative Malcolm Matheson at 525-5874.