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Winnipeg A conciliation meeting Friday night failed to produce an agreement between the 52 members of CUPE Local 796 and their River East School Division employer. The School Division rejected a proposal from union members that could have averted a strike.

Were disappointed, said CUPE representative Rik Panciera. We proposed contract language to address the School Divisions concerns and avert a strike. The Division not only rejected our offer but further withdrew everything that they had already agreed to.

The CUPE employees who work as bus drivers, mechanics and a storeskeeper are fighting to keep present contract language that prevents their work from being contracted out.

The School Division negotiators have made it clear that they dont intend to resolve the issue, said Panciera. Though they keep saying they wont use the language change to do away with these jobs, a strike now appears inevitable.

No meetings are scheduled and the employees are in a legal position to strike.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than 485,000 women and men across the country. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 23,000 members in health care, education, municipalities, social services, utilities, libraries and emergency services.

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For more information, please contact:
Rik Panciera, Staff representative
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Phone: (204) 942-0343 ex. 217

opeiu 491/pr