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Saskatoon: The 120 unionized staff members employed by the Saskatchewan Legal Aid Commission have achieved a new agreement, averting possible job action.

It was a difficult round of bargaining, but we eventually secured a fair monetary offer – one that mirrored the recent SGEU public service settlement,” says CUPE staff representative Rhonda Heisler.

The sacrifice our SGEU sisters and brothers made during their rotating strike made our tentative agreement possible. We are happy – and grateful – that we reached this agreement without being compelled to walk a picket line,” she adds.

The legal aid workers, members of CUPE Local 1949, provide legal advocacy and advice to low income families across the province.

For the last four years, members of CUPE Local 1949 have been lobbying the federal and provincial governments for improved program funding so more people with low incomes can access their legal services. The legal aid program, which helps about 20,000 families last year, is restricted to limited criminal and family law matters.

CUPE Local 1949 wants the program expanded in the future to include immigration issues and civil law – wrongful evictions, child custody, the denial of social assistance/ employment insurance benefits – areas that currently fall outside the scope of Saskatchewan legal aid.

The legal aid commission and cabinet are expected to ratify the agreement this month.

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For more information, contact: Rhonda Heisler at: 382-8262