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NORTH BAY, ON – Striking school transportation workers have had their benefits cut off by Student Transportation Services Nipissing Parry Sound, despite a verbal agreement with Local 1165-6 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) to pay for premiums and administrative costs since a strike began September 19th.

This move by management will only aggravate tension and prolong the strike,” said Michelle Loiselle, CUPE National Representative. “Instead of attacking three women and their families, the employer should be trying to get back to the negotiating table to bargain a settlement in good faith.”

It is a common practice for unions to cover the cost of premiums for benefit coverage during labour disputes. This allows workers and their families to continue to receive health benefits and prescription coverage, without cost to the employer. “Ironically, the employer could end up paying more in this case since there may be administrative costs associated with stopping and starting coverage once the strike is over,” said Loiselle. “It’s another indication of how irrational and heavy handed this employer has been in this round of negotiations.” CUPE had a verbal agreement with the employer to reimburse management for benefit premiums and administrative costs during the current labour dispute.

Three transportation technicians who normally plan and ensure bus routing and transportation services for the Near North District School Board, the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board, Le Conseil scolaire de district du Nord-Est de l’Ontario, and the Conseil scolaire Franco-Nord, went on strike September 19th to fight concession demands from a Near North District School Board negotiator.

Until local school boards take charge of this situation and return to the table with a fair settlement offer, it’s difficult to see how this strike can be resolved,” said Loiselle. “Stripping three women and their families of health benefits is not the way to do it. School children and the families of our communities deserve better.” CUPE is urging parents and residents to contact local school board officials, to demand that they get involved in negotiations and do what it takes to end the strike.

For further information, please contact:

Michelle Loiselle
CUPE national representative
(705) 474-9765 (o)
(705) 561-9076 (c)

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999