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Regina: The Premier Express Courier service hit the road today, collecting messages from workers in community-based agencies in the Premiers home town of Moose Jaw. The courier will make a pit stop outside MLA Glenn Hagels constituency office at 2:00 p.m., before heading east to Melville, Yorkton and Preeceville.

The courier van, custom decorated with slogans proclaiming Poverty Wages Dont Pay the Bills, 2% is a milk product, not a wage increase, and Up with Womens Wages, is criss-crossing Saskatchewan gathering letters, petitions, and messages to hand-deliver to the new Premier on February 20th in Regina.

Employees in group homes, vocational training centres, womens shelters, day cares and other community-based organizations (CBOs) are campaigning for better wages and benefits. Most, if not all of the funding for these agencies, is provided through the provincial government.

We want the new Premier to take immediate action to end years of government-under-funding of these agencies, says spokesperon Doug Taylor, who is travelling with the Premier Express Courier in Moose Jaw. Workers in these agencies are worth more and theyre demanding to be paid more.

Community events are being organized in many centres to mark the Premier Express Couriers arrival. In Prince Albert, workers from community-based agencies have invited the courier drivers and local MLAs to join them for macaroni dinner; in North Battleford they are delivering their messages to the Premier Express in milk cartons; and in Saskatoon they are planning to escort the courier through the city in their cars in a Caravan of Clunkers.

The workers, members of CUPE, SEIU and SGEU, are calling on the new Premier to implement a Four-Year Plan to improve wages and working conditions in the CBO sector. The plan would provide:

  • An immediate wage equity down payment, retroactive to April 1, 2000

  • Equal pay with provincial government employees within four years

  • Funding for CBO agencies to recruit, train and retain staff

  • Pensions for workers in day cares and early childhood development centres

  • Funding for sick leave and other basic benefits

The Premier Express will stop in Melville, Yorkton, Preeceville, Prince Albert, Nipawin, North Battleford, Rosthern, and Saskatoon, before heading to Regina. The messages will be hand-delivered to Premier Calvert on the steps of the legislature on February 20th.

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For more information call the Premier Express Courier:
Tuesday: 535-6956
After Tuesday: 536-9443