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March 3, 2000, Richmond - With 21 successful strike votes in hand and an additional 15 potential strike votes, the CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining Committee (SBC), a coordinating committee for 47 CUPE locals, today announced that March 27 is the deadline date for locals and their school districts to reach satisfactory settlements. Locals will take strike action unless their demands are satisfied at the bargaining tables. The key issues that have been stumbling blocks at the bargaining tables are job security, pay equity, benefits and pensions.

Gary Johnson, CUPE national servicing representative and spokesperson for the SBC said, “The locals have decided to put off any strike action until Monday, March 27, 2000. This gives the government, the school districts and the CUPE locals a full three weeks to focus on the issues at hand and to find a means for resolving the kinds of serious problems CUPE support staff are confronting on a day to day basis.”

Johnson said, “Its time school districts across this province stop playing petty politics with the future of public education. Its time for them to sit down with the government and the CUPE locals and resolve these disputes. We invite school districts to do that now.”

Johnson is calling upon the government and the school district “to consider the short and long-term impact on BCs education system, of the chronic shortages of staff and huge workload problems experienced by school support workers. Students deserve better. There are many things that can be resolved for students at the bargaining table, while still improving conditions for CUPE members.”

March 15, 2000 is the deadline for negotiations on accord issues to be finalized.

“While CUPE locals are not prepared to bargain details in the media,” said Johnson, “we will do everything possible to keep our communities, including students, parents, teachers and all interested parties, informed during the next several weeks.”

CUPE locals listed on the attached document have taken successful strike votes and served 72-hours notice. Their actions mean that each will be ready to strike on March 27, 2000 barring contract settlements.

Gary Johnson, CUPE national representative,
(604) 219-3703
Louise Leclair, CUPE communications representative,
(604) 291-1940 or 454-4711 (cell)

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