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WADENA What do you call a director of education who tells the public a contract settlement is near, when more than 40 outstanding issues remain? The short answer is John Treso.

Striking school support workers want to know why the Wadena School Division continues to allow their spokesperson to mislead the public.

Yesterday, Mr. Treso told a radio station that many outstanding issues have been settled in the contract dispute and the two sides are close to a settlement.

The comments came only hours after the union received the employers latest offer, which contained very little change from the employers previous offer in June.

Although we wish Mr. Tresos statements were accurate, the truth is we are miles apart says union spokesperson Sheila Bindig, CUPE 3078 vice-president. The employer did nothing to settle this dispute over the summer and there are 42 outstanding items on the bargaining table in addition to the wage issue, she says. Its hard to imagine how the employer honestly can claim were close to a settlement.

In addition, the school board is showing little interest in negotiating an end to the contract dispute. They wont even give us bargaining dates, she says.

Clearly, if a settlement is going to be achieved, the employer will need to agree to bargaining dates and take negotiations seriously. So far, we havent seen any evidence of that, says Ms. Bindig.

Wadena school support workers began rotating job action in April and resorted to a full-blown strike on August 25.

The workers are seeking an optical plan and extended health benefits. They also want a significant wage increase to bring them up to the average wage in the province.

A membership vote will be held once the employer presents an offer that addresses these issues, she states, but the employers most recent offer doesnt come close.

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For more information:
Sheila Bindig Vice-President
CUPE 3078
(306) 338-7220 (c)