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More than 2,400 CUPE 1975 members at the Saskatchewan’s two major universities are on strike.

Picket lines went up at the University of Saskatchewan at 7 am, Nov. 2, and at 7:30am at the University of Regina.

“This strike could have been averted if the employers had shown a willingness to compromise,” says Brad McKaig, chairperson of the CUPE 1975 bargaining unit.

The union contacted the provincial conciliator Wednesday morning, but the conciliator would not reconvene talks, McKaig said.

The union’s request for a fair wage increase and improved funding to maintain their benefit plan “is more than reasonable,” says Don Puff, president of CUPE 1975-01 University of Regina.

CUPE 1975 represents cafeteria and food service workers, caretakers, security officers, clerical staff, library service workers, duplicating and printing staff, engineers and boiler operators, trades people, medical and lab technologists, nursing and dental assistants, farm workers and animal attendants.

The local’s current contract expired December 31, 2006.