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May 22, 2000, BurnabyDespite long hours of mediated negotiations, orchestrated by the government-appointed Industrial Inquiry Commission (IIC), no deal was reached in the ongoing dispute between K-12 School support workers and their employers, the BC Public School Employers Association. CUPE, BCPSEA and representatives from Districts involved in the Vancouver Island Labour Relations Association (VILRA) met in Nanaimo over the weekend.

“It was pretty much business as usual in bargaining with the employers,” said Gary Johnson, “and while some limited areas of agreement were reached there are still important issues to be ruled on by the IIC.”

CUPE has indicated that its members will vote on the IIC recommendations.

“Were hoping that the IIC recommendations will contain enough of what our members have been bargaining for all these months to allow the Bargaining Committee to recommend ratification to locals. That is now in the Commissioners hands.” said Johnson.

Johnson indicated that once the IIC report is delivered, CUPEs bargaining committee will meet to review and recommend acceptance or rejection to its members.

CUPE K-12 support staff, in 40 locals across the province, were legislated back to work on April 2, 2000 after one week on the picket line. The special needs assistants, custodians, school secretaries, maintenance, bus drivers and school monitors among others have been demanding a return to free collective bargaining ever since.

“For CUPE members, the return to mediated bargaining was a good signone that CUPE felt was necessary.” said Barry ONeill, President of CUPE BC. “Now in order for CUPE members to accept the IIC recommendations their key issues must be addressed.”

CUPE members, including National President Judy Darcy and others, will rally in Kamloops, BC on Saturday, May 27 where the NDP Provincial Council will meet. One item on their agenda is a resolution from the BC Federation of Labour condemning Bill 7, the legislation that ended CUPEs strike. The NDP executive has already voted to recommend the resolution.

Louise Leclair, Communications Representative
291-1940 or 454-4711

Regular information updates regarding CUPE K-12 Sectoral Bargaining can be found at www.cupe.bc.ca/sbc.