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September 14, 2011

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PNE workers vote 92% in favour of strike

VANCOUVER—CUPE workers at the Pacific National Exhibition have given their bargaining committee an overwhelming 92-per-cent strike mandate.  The vote was taken Sept 12-13.

CUPE 1004 Business Agent Steve Varty says the result reflects the frustration that a deal has not been reached.  This is the first time in 25 years an agreement was not signed before the Fair. 

Contract talks broke down between the PNE and CUPE Local 1004 three weeks ago, but more talks have now been scheduled for next week.  The workers have been without a contract since Jan. 1.  The PNE workers decided to wait until after the Fair to take a strike vote. 

The CUPE bargaining team says the outstanding issues are job security, cost of living increases to keep up with inflation and equity for the lowest paid employees, some of whom are making less than $10/hour.

CUPE employees at the PNE and Playland include ushers, ticket takers, security, bartenders, ice makers, carpenters, painters, gardeners, mechanics, plumbers, labourers, concession employees, ride technicians, ride operators, games operators, cleaners, administrative workers, parking employees and many others. They work in Playland, on the PNE site, at the Pacific Coliseum and in the other PNE buildings. During the PNE there are close to 4,000, Fairtime, part-time and full-time workers.

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