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When two school districts in northwestern Saskatchewan amalgamated, Local 4119 represented 36 school bus drivers from one of the districts, while 29 drivers in the second district were employed by Hertz Bus Lines, a non-union firm.

The school board reviewed its options: maintain the status quo; contract out all the buses; or directly operate the buses.

Hertz made a strong pitch to take over the whole system, but CUPE’s arguments were stronger. Local 4119 president Colleen Leier outlined to the school board the risks of contracting out and convinced them their best option was to end the contract with Hertz and bring all buses and drivers “in house” as soon as possible.

“Even though the law requires that all drivers must now become CUPE members, we’re going to get the Hertz drivers to sign union cards as soon as possible,” Leier said.