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Dauphin - Yesterday CUPE members who work for the Dauphin-Ochre School Area #1 voted to accept a new deal that increases wages by 10 percent and in addition slashes in half discriminatory increment steps which exist only in job classifications held by women workers.

“I think this agreement is tremendous for our Locals members,” said CUPE Local 3305 President Wendy Wellborn. “Though we still have a long way to go, its a big breakthrough for the women in our workplace.”

The new agreement cuts in half the number of years it takes to reach the maximum pay scale in positions held by 90 per cent of the CUPE Locals members who are women and work as clericals, education and library assistants, dietary assistants and bus drivers. Instead of six increment positions spanning a six-year scale, the new contract cuts the steps in half to three. Positions traditionally held by men (mechanics, carpenters, custodians) have no increment steps.

CUPE staff representative Doug McLaughlin said the breakthrough will help other union members throughout the province in eliminating similar discriminatory wage rates.

Increment steps have been ruled discriminatory in a decision by a Quebec human rights tribunal case involving CUPE members at Laval University. Last Labour Day, CUPE launched its Up with Womens Wages campaign to raise womens wages and fight discriminatory practices like lengthy increment wage systems usually found in womens jobs classifications as opposed to mens.

The new contract is retroactive to January 1st and expires on December 31, 2004. CUPE Local 3305 has 110 members.

CUPE is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men across the country. In Manitoba, the Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 24,000 members.

For more information, contact:

CUPE Local 3305 President Wendy Wellborn
Cell: (204) 638-0236

CUPE Staff representative Doug McLaughlin
Brandon: (204) 725-8888