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NELSON The lockout in Nelson has officially ended as city workers voted this morning to accept a contract that keeps city services public. The city of Nelson locked out its workers two and a half months ago in an attempt to eliminate contract language that protected city services and jobs from being contracted out.

This victory for public services is a victory for Nelson and a victory for municipal workers and their communities everywhere, says Bev LaPointe, CUPE 339 President. We stood strong and our community stood strong behind us we will never forget.

As part of the agreement, the city of Nelson finally accepted the same proposal CUPE 339 offered them prior to the lockout namely, contract language, known as the minimum staffing clause that protects 55 public city services from being contracted out. The workers will also be compensated for lost vacation time during the lockout.

Its a shame the city had to put its workers on the street and hold a whole community hostage for ten weeks to realize that what we offered them prior to the lockout was fair, LaPointe says. Finally the city heard that Nelson residents want their services to remain public.

During the lockout, CUPE 339 led an extensive outreach campaign in their community that won them broad public support. Nelson residents joined the picket lines, spoke out at city hall, joined in on rallies and marches, organized a town hall meeting, planted 2,000 Strong Communities Stay Public! lawn signs, and wrote countless letters to the editor in support of the workers.

Even the media joined the search for a community solution to the lockout, with on-air and printed proposals in the Nelson Daily News and on Kootenay Co-op radio that called for the city to be transparent and involve Nelson residents in any changes to city service delivery.

This lockout of Nelson city workers was a huge mistake. It represents the greatest failure of civic leadership in Nelsons history, says LaPointe. Now we will focus our attention on getting back to work, restoring city services and making sure we have in place the kind of mayor and council necessary to ensure this never happens again.

CUPE 339 represents the city of Nelsons 74 city workers who provide quality public city services to the community. -30-

Contact: Bev Lapointe, President, CUPE Local 339, (250)354-7975; Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778)229-0258.