cupe ads 

CUPE radio ads urging parents to call school district officials with regard to contract negotiations with school support staff have been causing a stir among parents. The District Parent Advisory Council this week cautioned parents that the "announcements" on Mountain FM in which woman urges concerned people to telephone their trustees are paid advertising. They are not supported by the District Parent Advisory Council. CUPE negotiator Gary Johnson says he will make no apologies for the ads. Support workers — 160 teaching assistants, janitors, clerical workers and bus drivers represented by CUPE — in the school district voted in favour of strike action after the school board asked them to make concessions in contract negotiations. The two sides were scheduled to meet again Thursday. CUPE is in a legal strike position and could strike following the meeting but has advised it will give 24 hours notice before taking any strike action. The support workers contract ran out on Dec. 31. The school board has been told to reduce its budget by $750,000 this year. Approximately 92 per cent of last year’s $24 million budget went to wages and benefits. Education Minister Art Charbonneau has refused to release budgets for the school boards until the NDP leadership campaign is wrapped up. However, this week he said school boards know within 1 per cent what their budgets will be.

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