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September 24, 2003 (Moncton) There is another strike brewing in New Brunswick over pay equitywage parity.

Last week, members of CUPE 1251, which represents Correctional Officers, Custodians, Human Services Counselors, Lab Assistants and Food Services Workers voted in favor of a strike action.

Our members came out in force to exercise their right to vote last week, said Danny Lgre president of CUPE Local 1251. The members gave us an overwhelming strike mandate, 90 per cent of the members that cast their ballot voted yes to a strike action.

Our contract expired in December 2002. We have negotiated for 9 days. Since the negotiations were going nowhere, we went into conciliation but the employer has not changed its position, said Lgre.

It was evident the government did not want to resolve the key issue in this negotiation, which is pay equity, said Danny Lgre.

The Correctional Officers who work in our provincial jails and youth centres are the lowest paid in Canada. The training requirement for the job is higher in New Brunswick than in our neighboring provinces, but Correctional Officers here earn almost $2 less an hour.

Human Services Counselors are in a similar situation, earning less than their provincial counterparts with comparable specializations.

How can the government justify that the custodians who work in a community college, take less money home than custodians who do the same work in other government departments? asked Danny Lgre.

The Lord government has failed miserably to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate in good faith,” said Lgre. “Equal pay for equal work is what we are asking for.

We have set up strike headquarters in every region of the province. Our members are ready to walk off the job unless the government demonstrates a will to negotiate in good faith, said Danny Lgre.

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For more information:

Danny Lgre, President CUPE 1251 (506) 874-0819
Lorne Saunders, CUPE Representative (506) 635-1622

The CUPE Local 1251 provincial strike headquarters will be at the Fredericton Inn.