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WADENA Striking education workers in the Wadena School Division took their picket line to Regina this week to publicize the destructive role the employers lead negotiator Bill Wells is playing in the protracted dispute.

Wells, a negotiator with the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association (SSTA) based in Regina, is refusing to allow the school division to resume bargaining with the union.

Last week, the Wadena director of education said the division was prepared to return to the bargaining table for face-to-face meetings with the union. But when the provincial conciliator contacted the SSTA representative to arrange dates, Wells refused to meet. The conciliator has been trying to get the employer to return to the bargaining table for the past three months.

About 50 labour activists and other supporters joined the striking workers on the Regina picket line on September 17 to voice their disapproval of Wells, who played a major role in the six-month strike in Biggar last year.
SFL President Larry Hubich urged the Wadena division board to fire Wells and negotiate a made-in-Wadena settlement that values and respects its support staff.

The 80 school support workers, members of CUPE 3078, are now in their fourth week of a full-scale strike to achieve a fair collective agreement. They have no dental plan, extended health, or optical coverage and they are paid much less than other unionized education workers in the province.

Send messages of support to CUPE 3078 vice-president sheilabindig@canoemail.com or contact president Donna Zarowny at 338-7220 (c).