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Municipalities and school boards will feel the effects of proposed Employment Insurance changes that make qualification harder for seasonal workers, says CUPE National President Paul Moist.

Moist said CUPE will be reaching out to municipalities and school boards about the negative impact of the Harper government’s proposals.

“Many municipal workers are seasonal, and school board employees are laid off every summer,” Moist told a gathering of about 100 delegates to CUPE’s Western Municipal Workers Conference in Edmonton, Alberta. “Employment Insurance allows those employers to maintain a ready-made, trained workforce.”

Moist told delegates that almost ten per cent of CUPE members fall into the category of seasonal workers.

“As it is, only 40 per cent of unemployed Canadians even qualify for EI, that’s the scandal.”

Earlier in the day, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury addressed the conference and urged delegates to support efforts to keep water in public hands.

“Access to safe water is an international issue,” said Fleury. “Activists around the world are fighting the corporatization of water – that’s why meetings like this are so important.  It’s the work of all of us; we are seeing privatization of water in many cities and towns around the country.”