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NEEPAWA, MANITOBA CUPE members who work at Touchwood Park group home for mentally challenged adults in Neepawa have voted overwhelmingly to accept a tentative agreement with an eight per cent wage increase over three years.

While our members are happy to see a wage increase, everyone was disappointed that it took us a year and a half after the contract expired to get this agreement, said CUPE Local 4132 spokesperson Betty Walker.

Most of the thirty-nine CUPE members employed at Touchwood Park work part-time. Eighty per cent of the workers are women. Their contract with their employer expired in October 1999.

CUPE staff representative Doug McLaughlin said the new agreement formalizes pay scales with defined wage rates for job classifications a first for the CUPE employees. Though it is basic to most collective agreements, Touchwood Park had balked at including a wage scale.

These employees perform very demanding work and they more than deserve this wage increase and a standardized wage scale, said CUPE representative Doug McLaughlin.

McLaughlin said increased supplemental funding to Touchwood Park from the Department of Family Services specifically for direct service staff wages helped make a settlement possible.

In Manitoba, CUPE represents 23,000 members who work in health care, education, municipalities, social services, utilities, libraries, and emergency services.

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For more information, please contact:

Doug McLaughlin, CUPE staff representative
Brandon (204) 725-8888