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McCREARY, MB – After two months on the picket line, the 100 support workers in the Turtle River School Division are back at work.

An agreement to go into mediation was reached late last week after the union suggested a way to resume negotiations. Mediation does not mean there is a settlement to their contract negotiations, but a way for both parties to work out their differences.

According to Diane Cabak, President of CUPE Local 1897, “we are really pleased to be going back to work. While we don’t have a new contract, we are now optimistic that we can get one settled very soon.”

As part of last week’s agreement, the union agreed to go back to work. The school trustees agreed to withdraw the two applications they had made at the Manitoba Labour Board.

If mediation does not come up with an agreement very soon, the parties agreed that an Arbitrator would then have the power to settle the terms of a new collective agreement.

The union and the employer started bargaining early in 2005. A Conciliation Officer of the Department of Labour was involved in June but no resolution could be reached on key wage requirements. The union decided to go on strike November 4th after being unable to communicate with the employer and when no resolution appeared possible.

The main issue that the union wanted dealt with was wage parity with other school divisions in this part of Manitoba. While some progress was made on this issue, the two parties involved could not reach an agreement on the amounts support staff would receive.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is Canada’s largest union representing more than a half-million women and men. In Manitoba, CUPE represents 24,000 members working in health care, school divisions, municipal services, social services, childcare centres, public utilities, libraries and family emergency services. CUPE represents workers in over 20 school divisions across Manitoba.

For information, contact:

Doug McLaughlin
CUPE national representative
(204) 725-8888

Dennis Lewycky
CUPE communications
(204) 942-0343 ext. 207
(204) 223-6805 (cell)