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BIGGAR: In a vote held yesterday, striking education workers in the Biggar Public School Division voted 80% to reject a management bargaining package that would have required numerous contract concessions and takeaways.

Our members have soundly rejected the employer’s attack on our seniority rights, job security and other contract provisions that took thirty years to build,” said Bea Devenny, spokesperson for CUPE Local 2128, which represents the 46 teaching and library assistants, secretaries and caretakers. “This proves that our members have been informed all along, contrary to the assertions the employer has made throughout our communities.”

The support workers began their strike on February 4, rather than accept the employer’s “final offer.”

The union did not oppose the Division Board’s use of a seldom-used provision of the Trade Union Act to force a vote on their final offer. However, Devenny said the move was just another stalling tactic by the Division Board, which has also recruited more scabs each week in an attempt to break the strike.

We would like the employer to get back to the bargaining table, get rid of the takeaways, get rid of the concessions, and negotiate a fair, respectable agreement,” said Devenny. “It’s time to stop sacrificing students, their parents and our communities.”

However, Devenny said negotiations could only succeed when the Division Board realizes that the union will never sacrifice their seniority rights and job security.

The school employees work in the communities of Biggar, Cando, Sonningdale, Handel, Landis and three Hutterite colonies.

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For more information contact:
Bea Devenny in Biggar at 948-7757
or Staff Representative Bill Robb at 222-5594.