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Carman Striking bus drivers in Prairie Rose School Division will be back in their buses by Monday. Last night, the CUPE members voted and approved the contract offer they received from the Trustees.

According to Local 4458 President Peter Dyck, we’re satisfied with the agreement, it gives us the wage parity we deserve. There is more we wanted to deal with, but we feel the deal is fair and what we have been trying to get for some time.

The agreement reached after conciliation earlier in the week gave the drivers a wage increase to bring them in line with bus drivers in the northern part of the Division. Those drivers were formerly in the White Horse Plains Division, and have been part of Prairie Rose Division since amalgamation last year. The wage agreement will be phased in over two years.

We didn’t agree on how to handle the pension plan issue. We still think changing pension plans is good for the members and will save the Division money, but they just refused to move on this. So when we go back to bargaining next year we’ll make sure this is on the top of the list of what we need to resolve, according to Dyck.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has been promoting a change in pension plans for school division employees. They have done extensive research and say that a move to the Municipal Employees Pension Plan from the current plan run by the Manitoba Association of School Trustees would lead to better retirement benefits at less cost for both employees and school divisions.

The 32 bus drivers have been on strike since September 15th. We really appreciate the support we got from parents and the community, said Dyck. We didn’t want to be on strike but it really did let us know how many people understand what is going on and how much they want to support people who are standing up for their rights.

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The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canadas largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care facilities, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services.

For more information, contact:
Peter Tartsch, CUPE National Representative: (204) 942-0343, x.215
Peter Dyck, President of Local 4458: (204) 828-3532
Dennis Lewycky, CUPE Communications: (204) 223-6805