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GRAND FORKSCUPE 2254 members got long distance support today on the picket line from CUPE National president Paul Moist. The five Grand Forks & District Public Library workers were locked out Monday morning by the Library Board and have been on the picket line since.

Moist called to offer the workers solidarity from 570,000 CUPE members across Canada. “The Library Board has completely underestimated the resolve of your members,” he told CUPE 2254 president Steve Crossman, adding that “when an employer takes on one CUPE local, they take on over 2,000 locals who will not sit by and let an employer steal seniority, job security, hours of work, or anything else that protects your working conditions.”

“We are very proud of your commitment to protect the gains you’ve made for fair and just working conditions. Please know that we will be there with you until all concessions are off the table and you can return to work with the collective agreement you deserve,” Moist said.

Library worker Leanne Strang said the call from Moist meant a lot. “We’re ecstatic to feel that support from across the country - we’re just five little members, but it makes us feel so strong.”

Support came from as far away as Fredericton, N.B. in a letter from CUPE 3372 food service member Joanna Price. Price wrote that “Although your group may be few in number, you have the support and good will of many other CUPE members as you continue in your negotiations. I encourage you to continue your fight! You provide a valuable service to your community and deserve the respect of your employer and the benefits and security of all your years of collective bargaining. A victory for one Local is a victory for all.”

The contract at the public library expired on June 30, 2008 and the two sides started bargaining on October 5, 2008. The latest proposal from the employer attacks seniority, wage rates, sick pay, vacation time and job classifications and jurisdiction.

Contact: Murray Bush, National Communications representative 604.291.1940 ext 258 mbush@cupe.ca