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WINNIPEG The Canadian Union of Public Employees says a smooth transition that both protects workers rights and improves education for students is key to the success of Bill 14, the Public Schools Modernization Act, which will pave the way for school division amalgamations.

One of the reasons for amalgamations is to improve the quality of education delivery, says CUPE representative Sandra Oakley. Improving staffing, wages and working conditions will go a long way to improving the quality of education in Manitoba.

CUPE will make a presentation to the public hearings on Bill 14 tonight at 6:30 pm in Room 255 of the Manitoba Legislature.

We hope that the Manitoba school board amalgamations will provide the rest of the country with an example of how regular negotiations can be ongoing through a restructuring process, says Terry Egan, Chair of Manitobas School Division Sector Committee.

Oakley says CUPE has extensive experience with health care restructuring and school division amalgamations across the country that can help make the transition process a smooth one for Manitobans. CUPE says the amalgamations should happen in a timely fashion with no adverse effects for workers and that the process should be open so the community can become involved in the process at any point.

About 3,800 CUPE members work in school divisions across the province.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members in health care, education, municipalities, social services, child care, utilities, libraries and emergency services.

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For more information, contact:
Sandra Oakley, CUPE staff representative

(204) 942-0343 ext. 211