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(Corner Brook) The union representing close to 400 school board workers in three school districts across Newfoundland and Labrador has applied for conciliation, saying contract talks have stalled.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees says there are three outstanding issues standing in the way of an agreement between CUPE Local 2033 (Burin School District), 2212 (Northern Peninsula/Labrador South School District) and 3148 (Corner Brook/Deer Lake/St. Barbe).

The issues are: an employer demand for concessions to hours of work for school bus drivers, job classifications, and a union request to have a study conducted on workload and staffing levels for school janitors and secretaries.

CUPE National Rep. Ross Grimes says, Part of the problem with resolving this dispute is that the school districts are telling us they dont have the authority to address the workload issue.

Well, we dont think its too much to ask that the boards and the provincial government figure out who our boss is, and then get back to us so we can get this contract negotiated, says Grimes.

The CUPE school board contracts expired on March 31, 2001. Wages are not an issue, since they were part of the provincial agreement covering CUPE and NAPE.

The school districts in question are Districts #2, #3 and #7. CUPE school board workers are janitors, secretaries and other support staff, computer technicians, bus drivers, maintenance staff, trades and mechanics

Opeiu 491

For information:

Ross Grimes, CUPE National Representative, (709) 639-8947 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (o)