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Yorkton, SASK. - The Yorkton School Division Board must make contract negotiations with its high school support staff a priority so an agreement can be reached before the board’s term ends on December 31.

That’s the message the union representing education workers intends to deliver to school board members at a division meeting on November 21.

We’ve been trying to conclude a fair agreement with the division board for nearly a year,” says Cathy Wilson, president of CUPE Local 2520, which represents 35 support staff. “But it has been a frustrating experience; the board has not taken contract negotiations seriously.”

Although the union began contract negotiations with the employer in March, board members assigned to contract negotiations either didn’t show up or had to leave the meetings early. “That’s why we still don’t have a contract, with only six weeks left in the board’s mandate,” Wilson says.

Last week, CUPE Local 2520 members voted 86 per cent in support of taking job action to achieve their goal of wage parity with elementary school workers in the city.

Although support staff at the two schools perform the same work for the same employer, the non-unionized staff at the elementary school are paid as much as two dollars more an hour.

We are tired of being treated as second-class,” says Wilson. “The board has been aware of this problem for years. We want it addressed.”

Wilson is pleased the union negotiating committee has been invited to meet with the full board on November 21. “We are anxious to get back to the bargaining table and negotiate a fair pay plan – one that treats all school support workers equally,” she says.

The CUPE high school workers have been without a new agreement since December 31, 2004.

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For more information contact:

Cathy Wilson at 786-5560.