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Renfrew County Office, clerical and technical workers with the Renfrew County District School Board voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike, after negotiators for the school board walked away from contract negotiations after one day of talks.

Our members voted 92% in favour of strike action if an agreement cannot be reached, says Colleen Schutt, president of Local 1321 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 83 workers in schools throughout the board and at board headquarters. This employer walked away from talks after only one day, saying we had reached an impasse. They made no serious attempt to settle our core issues.

CUPE has filed for conciliation talks, the next stage in an escalating process that could lead to a strike if talks fail.

We are fighting for equality, says Schutt. We have an inferior benefit arrangement, compared with other employees at the board, and weve had inferior wage increases in past negotiations its time for us to catch up.

This employer likes to play divide and conquer, says CUPE National Representative Jim Squires. With this strong strike mandate, were putting the school board on notice were not going to let them play that game. Its time for them to rectify past inequalities.

The last thing we want is a strike, says Schutt. But this employer needs to come back to the table and put some benefit improvements on the table, and they need to address wage inequality.


For further information, please contact:
Colleen Schutt
CUPE Local 1321

Jim Squires
CUPE National Representative
613-330-1527 (cell)

Robert Lamoureux
CUPE Communications