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KINGSTON Queens Universitys 430 unionized workers voted overwhelmingly last night to give their bargaining teams a strong strike mandate. Almost 90% of the total membership of CUPE Locals 229, 254 and 1302 voted, handing in strike votes of 91%, 85%, and 81% respectively. The library and lab technicians, trades and custodial staff are fed up with years of disrespect by Queens management and are demanding a Collective Agreement free of concessions that includes contract language guaranteeing management act in good faith.

The membership has spoken, said John Lepine, CUPE National Representative and chief negotiator for the Union. We are ready to strike for respect and an end to the attacks against job security and benefits. Over the next three days, well work hard to get a negotiated settlement through mediation but an agreement depends on managements willingness to leave their old ways behind and move forward towards the future. Mediation begins today and ends on Friday, January 16th, 2004.

The parties will be in a legal lockout or strike position as of Saturday, January 17th, 2004, at 12:01am.

Prior to the strike vote, the Locals joined together and launched an Act in Good Faith Treat University Workers with Respect ad and flyer campaign, which still continues, directed at building campus and community support. Supporters are asked to distribute the flyer as widely as possible. It can be found at http://www.cupe.ca/www/57/strikeforrespect.

The ads and flyers also ask faculty, students, staff and community members to visit the Comments section on the Queens University website at http://www.queensu.ca/qsite/forms/comments.shtml and demand that management treat university workers with respect to be guaranteed with a good faith clause in the Collective Agreement.

CUPE 229 (Trades, Custodial and Maintenance), CUPE 254 (Technicians) and CUPE 1302 (Library Technicians) represent 430 workers at Queens University. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents 530,000 members across Canada.


For more information, please contact:
John Lepine, CUPE National Representativec: (613) 540-2863
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communicationsc: (647) 224-0662