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Wadena: School support workers in the Wadena School Division returned to work this morning after three consecutive days on the picket line.

The job action involves schools in Kelvington, Rose Valley, Quill Lake, Archerwill, Wadena, Lintlaw and the Lakeside Hutterite Colony.

The 80 education workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, began rotating strike action on April 9 to pressure the employer to drop its demands for concessions and negotiate a fair agreement. The employer wants to reduce workers seniority rights and job security protection.

The Wadena school support workers also are seeking a significant pay increase to bring them up to the provincial average earned by other unionized education workers. The starting wage for a teaching assistant in the Wadena School Division, for example, is 16% less than the provincial average.

,p> The CUPE members are employed as teacher assistants, secretaries, caretakers, library assistants and other positions in the school division. They have been trying to achieve a new agreement with the school board for more than two years. The last contract expired on December 31, 2000.

CUPE local president Donna Zarowny says, Until the employer removes its demands for concessions and demonstrates it is prepared to negotiate a reasonable agreement, more job action is planned.

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For more information call:
CUPE communications Representative Beth Smillie at 539-8597