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(Halifax) Instructional support staff with the Halifax Regional School Board have filed for conciliation, after this weeks contract talks ended in a stalemate.

The 700 EPAs (Educational Program Assistants), Library Staff and Student Support Workers have been working without a contract since July 31, 2003. They are represented by CUPE Local 108.

CUPE National Representative Larry Power says, This employer introduced us to a new form of negotiating this week it was called, no, no and no. They informed us that, while they didnt accept any of our proposals, theyd like to continue dialoguing. We said, whats there to dialogue about? Well see you in conciliation, says Power.

There are several, major outstanding issues including:

  • A Board strategy to continually reduce the number of employees who have full-time positions, and replace them with part-time positions.

  • Increased use of volunteers, in violation of the boards own policy.

  • Changes to a lay-off and recall process that does not recognize seniority and severely limits employees ability to post into job openings.

  • A significant wage increase. When cuts in hours and other reductions are taken into account, no one has actually seen a real raise in eight years.

  • A commitment from this employer to show instructional support staff that they are a vital part of education and deserve to be treated with respect.

For information:
Larry Power, CUPE National Rep.
454-6369 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
455-4180 (o)