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The strength and solidarity of 560,000 members  was felt at the Western Municipal Conference this week in Manitoba. 140 delegates from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC – as well as guests from Ontario – pledged their full support to the 12,000 CUPE members in BC’s Lower Mainland who are battling concessions from employers throughout this densely populated belt of British Columbia.

Speaking to delegates today, CUPE National President, Paul Moist was clear.  “Lower Mainland employers need to know that Canada’s largest union will support fully, the 12,000 Lower Mainland Civic Employees in their fight for concession free agreements that improve wages and working conditions.”

The delegates to the Winnipeg conference have pledged to promote CUPE’s Fairness for Civic Workers campaign to their own respective members. In addition, they are demanding that Lower Mainland employers remove all concessions from the table, return to the bargaining table with a desire to make progress and to respect civic workers and the vital services they provide, by negotiating fair contracts.

Barry O’Neill, President of CUPE BC and a member of CUPE’s national executive board reminded delegates that, “ Lower Mainland civic workers are currently on the job 24 - 7, protecting communities from flood threats. They deserve fairness from their employers. And we’ll be supporting them in every way possible until that fairness is restored.”

For his part, Claude Genereux, CUPE’s national secretary treasurer pledged the financial support to these civic workers. “We’ll be there to support your bargaining efforts,” said Genereux. “And we’ll be there to support you as you protect your communities from the potentially devastating damage we are hearing about all along the Fraser River.”

CUPE’s Western Municipal Conference continues until June 9, 2006.

Information:  Louise Leclair National Communications, Ottawa 613-237-1590 ext. 264,  Dennis Lewycky, National Communications, Manitoba, 204-333-5065 (cell) 
Diane Kalen, National Communications, B.C.  778-229-0258 (cell)