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Members of Local 2128, support workers in the Biggar School Division in Saskatchewan, have a collective agreement after being on strike for 29 weeks. The settlement includes a 12.5% wage increase over four years and 1.5% in enhancements to health benefits.

With this strike, members of this local showed their employer how dedicated they were to protecting their collective agreement and improving their rights.

Provincial back-to-work legislation ended the 16-day strike by CUPE 416 and the eight-day strike by Local 79, the largest municipal strike in Canadian history. The two locals represent 22,000 members. The union contracts are now being decided at mediation and arbitration. Our locals are trying to prevent the privatization of services and protect job security. The Ontario NDP fought to have most of the Draconian elements of the proposed back-to-work legislation amended or deleted, so we are hoping that Locals 79 and 416 achieve fair contracts.

Other strike settlements since my last report include:

Local 108-5, Cole Harbour Place, Nova Scotia, after a two-week strike. These recreation workers won a wage increase of 8 per cent over one year and converted six employees to permanent jobs.

Local 374, District of Metchasin, British Columbia: The members won a first agreement following a two-week strike.

Local 1691, Ville de Saint-Basile-Le-Grand, Quebec: Our members improved workload problems, won a 6 per cent over two years wage increase and also won a 25 per cent retroactive increase for students who help out from time to time following a 7-day strike.

Local 301-05, La Socit du Parc des les, Quebec: Workers won job security for all employees, the conversion of 21 seasonal jobs to year-round jobs, a shorter work week, and a huge wage increase following a strike that lasted from May to August.

Local 1028, Halifax County Regional Rehab Centre, Nova Scotia: members ratified an improved agreement after being on strike from July 5 to August 24.

Local 218, Durham Catholic District School Board, Ontario, ratified an improved agreement after a fifteen-day strike.

We have good news from Manitoba. We were preparing for a strike of over 5,500 health care support workers at 13 facilities in Manitoba but we have just received news that they have reached a tentative agreement.

Current strikes include:

The CUPE Local 1417 and Local 2815 strike against Vido0074ron has become a long and bitter dispute. The stakes are high. Vido0074ron wants to sell 650 employees, our members, to another company, increase weekly hours from 35 to 37.2 without any salary increase and freeze all wages. The locals, representing 2,200 members, have been on strike since May 7th. In August, 99.8% of the 1,519 members present at a general meeting of Local 2815 soundly rejected managements latest offer.

On September 4, New Brunswicks more than 1,200 front-line professionals (including social workers in CUPE Local 1418), walked off the job after failing to reach a negotiated contract with the provincial government. The most recent round of bargaining had broken off the week before, after the government returned to the table with an offer identical to the one the union had rejected last June. Local 1418 members are taking part in special regional meetings this week to discuss ongoing strategies to protect their right to free collective bargaining.

Members of Local 72, North Bay Hydro, Ontario, are into their third month of a strike that began early in July. The issues include wages and a proposed claw-back of retirees benefits.

Local 3373, Southern Kings Group Home in PEI, has been locked out since May 29th and all of CUPE PEI, and other parts of the country have been supporting them, adopting strikers and giving other financial and political support.

Local 3434, Socit de transport de Sherbrooke, Quebec, has been running a rotating strike since early June. This local did a two-day strike but are now back at the table fighting for wage and working conditions parity with Montreal bus drivers.

Local 3812, Sc0075r, Quebec, has 892 members in a bitter battle that began July 2nd. This security company is owned by Desjardins, a giant Quebec co-op. The workers are fighting for their first collective agreement as a merged local. They are looking for wage harmonization and increases and improved scheduling.

Members of Local 4224, Ville de Malartic, Quebec, have been locked out since April 29th in a struggle over job security.

Local 181, Brantford Public Library workers, went on strike on September 12th for language to prevent contracting out and improved scheduling for part-time workers.