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TORONTO Ontarios education minister, Gerard Kennedy, will speak to more than 200 union activists at the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario School Board Co-ordinating Committee annual conference, which opens at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 21 in London, Ontario.

Kennedys speech is scheduled for 10: 30 a.m. on Thursday, April 22 at the Sheraton Four Points, 1150 Wellington Road South.

Sid Ryan, president of CUPE Ontario, will be among the speakers kicking off the conference on Wednesday evening. He speaks at 7:30 p.m.

CUPE is the largest union in both Canada and Ontario, representing more than 45,000 school board custodians and stationary engineers, administrative assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria employees, education assistants, English as a second language and literacy instructors, community advisory and clerical staff in this province.

School board workers are keenly interested in hearing from the education minister, said Ryan. They have seen their workloads increase and, in many cases, their jobs contracted out under the previous governments funding formula, which has an inherent bias against support staff and other non-classroom costs.

The conference will also launch the unions campaign aimed at reducing violence experienced by educational assistants, whose numbers have decreased and workload increased under the funding formula. A special workshop and educational materials have been developed with the theme: Safe Schools. Safe Workplace. Its our right!

CUPE Ontario School Board Co-ordinating Committee Annual Conference

Sid Ryan, CUPE Ontario President, speaks at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Gerard Kennedy, Ontario Minister of Education, speaks at 10:30 a.m., Thursday, April 22, 2004

Sheraton Four Points, 1150 Wellington Road South, London, Ontario


For more information, please contact:
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications
416-299-9739 ext 264
416-616-6142 (cell)
Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario
416-209-0066 (cell)