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VANCOUVER CUPE presidents from across BC met today to plan their fight against the Liberal governments legislation making education an essential service.

The Liberal government has launched an unprecedented and ruthless attack against working people, said CUPE BC President, Barry ONeill at the close of the meeting. They are restricting our right to strike and undermining free collective bargaining in BC.

Essential services designation is a complicated, conflict-ridden process, ONeill added. Our experience in the health care sector has shown that it takes a long time. Its costly, its time consuming. Its bureaucratic.

The Liberal government promised open and democratic government. A cornerstone of any democracy is free collective bargaining. This freedom is now denied to school board worker.

CUPE presidents warned the legislation will create disruption and chaos in the collective bargaining process for teachers and support workers, creating disruption in BC school.

The government has done the exact opposite of what they intended to do, said ONeill. They rushed into this legislation without considering the consequences for children, teachers, and support workers.

CUPE, BCs largest union, represents more than 25,000 non-teaching staff in most BC school districts.

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Contact: Ron Verzuh 604-785-1422

Barry ONeill 604-916-8444