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CUPE 523 strike averted

The K-12 bargaining committee for the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 523 announced late Monday that a tentative agreement has been reached between the local and its employers.

Information meetings will be scheduled over the next week in each unit.

"It was a long, hard day, but both parties worked hard to find a compromise," said CUPE spokesman Rob Hewitt. "And we are absolutely pleased because no one wants to have a strike."

Both the employer and the union now have to go through a ratification process, which means travelling the valley for union members to vote.

CUPE Local 523, which represents support staff at three Okanagan school districts, served 72-hour strike notice late last week.

The potential job action would have occurred in School District 53 (Okanagan Similkameen), School District 67 (Okanagan Skaha) and School District 83 (North Okanagan Shuswap).

In the information released last Thursday, the committee said it was frustrated that the employer group demanded a concession to claw back long term disability savings.

Prior to Monday's announcement,  Leslea Woodward, president of the Okanagan Skaha Teachers Union, said there were a lot of anxious teachers wanting to know what is going on. Teachers support CUPE and would not have crossed the picket line, she said.

Like others, Woodward hoped for a positive outcome.

Parents were also notified of the possibility there might not be classes this week. One parent who declined to give her name, said she supported CUPE, but hoped an agreement would be reached so her children could go to school.

Read more Penticton / S. Okanagan News

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