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FERGUS - Upper Grand District School Board custodians, maintenance and tradespeople have reached a tentative agreement, narrowly avoiding a strike/lockout deadline of April 27.

The 230 workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 256, who clean and do repairs to 70 elementary and secondary schools, will vote on the tentative deal on Saturday, April 24. The vote begins at 9 a.m. at the Fergus High School.

The negotiations exposed the consistent pattern by the Upper Grand board administration of undermining the value of the work done by custodial and trades workers.

The workers earn $1.50 less an hour than custodians, maintenance and tradespeople at neighbouring school boards. And while other Upper Grand workers got a 3 per cent raise, Local 256 members (who are among the lowest paid workers in the system) were offered only half of one percent pay increase. In addition, the board attempted to extract sick leave and benefit concessions from the group.

These workers want to be recognized for the valuable and quality work they do in our schools. They not only clean, repair our schools, they help keep our students safe. They are an important part of our school community and deserve respect, says Jill Smyth CUPE national representative.

She stresses that a community outreach campaign, focused on recognition and respect for the work custodians, maintenance and trades people do in our community schools, launched during negotiations, will continue.


For more information contact:
Jill Smyth, CUPE National Representative
(519) 502-6806
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications
(416) 578-8774