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ESTERHAZY, SK - Education workers employed by the Potashville School Division are holding an information picket line today in Esterhazy to demonstrate their resolve to achieve a fair contract settlement. The picket line will be up from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. outside the school division office on Main Street.

The 32 members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3681are seeking a modest wage increase of 7% over two years. The employer wants the employees to accept 5.5% over the same period.

The education workers, all of whom are women, earn $10 - $16 an hour. Most work less than full-time hours and many need more than one job to make ends meet.

Unlike teachers, the CUPE members in Potashville School Division don’t have an extended health benefit plan, a dental plan or an optical plan. “That’s why a fair wage increase is so important to our members,” says CUPE Local 3681 President Lori Sutherland.

The CUPE education workers are employed as teacher assistants, secretaries, and library technicians.

They work in schools in Stockholm, Churchbridge, Langenburg and Esterhazy and perform a variety of tasks, ranging from collecting student fees and calculating GST reimbursements to performing physiotherapy and assisting with tube feeding for special needs students.

“Although we play an important role in our school division, our contribution is not reflected in our salary or benefits,” says Sutherland. “That has to change in this round of bargaining.”

Sutherland says if the school division can spend $500,000 upgrading computers, it can find the extra $9,000 to give 32 CUPE paraeducators a 7% increase over two years.

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For more information contact Lori Sutherland at: 306 745-6618