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Wadena: The school year is over today, but Wadena School Division board members still have an important assignment to complete before taking holidays: they need to conclude a collective agreement with school support workers.

We are urging board members to return to the bargaining table and negotiate a settlement to this lengthy contract dispute, says CUPE local president Donna Zarowny, adding there is nothing to be gained by waiting until the fall. Parents, students, teachers, CUPE support workers everyone wants to see this matter resolved.

The 80 school support workers began rotating strike action on April 9 to emphasize the employer must drop its demands for reduced seniority rights and other concessions. Unless a settlement is reached, more job action is expected in the fall.

Division board members are responsible for contract negotiations with school support workers. But so far the board has spent more than 30 months negotiating a contract that normally takes six months to complete.

Until there is a settlement in place, division board members should not be taking summer holidays, says Zarowny. Students must complete all assignments before they can finish the school year and division board members should be held to the same standard.

The CUPE negotiating committee is ready to return to the table immediately to conclude a settlement. There has been no response from the board.

Parents and other residents in the Wadena School Division should insist board members return to the bargaining table and get the job done, says Zarowny.

The division includes schools in Kelvington, Rose Valley, Quill Lake, Archerwill, Wadena, Lintlaw and the Quill Lake Hutterite Colony.

The support workers are employed as teacher assistants, secretaries, caretakers, library assistants and other positions in the school division. Their collective agreement expired on December 31, 2000.

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For more information contact:
To leave a message for Donna Zarowny call 525-5874