BELLEVILLE, Ont. – Members of local 907 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), City of Belleville municipal workers, are getting ready for what could be lockout action from their employer. Last week the local executive and CUPE staff met to prepare for a possible lockout, which could come as soon as the end of July.
The bargaining committees for the union and the city will meet with a conciliator from the Ministry of Labour on July 9th. Krista Cowan, President of CUPE Local 907, is worried that the employer will call for a “no board” report and then lock the workers out.
“Management walked away from the bargaining table and asked for conciliation,” explained Cowan. “They did not want to address the issues that were important to us, such as contracting out public services, as well as the introduction of night shifts and new flexible hours for workers. This is a very unusual way of bargaining.”
The members voted 95 per cent in favour of giving a strike mandate to their bargaining committee. “This strong mandate shows how important the issue of contracting out is to our members,” said Cowan. “However, our first intention is not to go on strike. We want to keep doing our job for the people of Belleville, and we also want to protect our public services. Let’s hope that the employer acts responsibly. We have a very good labour history in this city, the last strike was in the 80’s, but this new city administration has a totally different attitude.”
CUPE local 907 represents more than 250 workers with the City of Belleville, ranging from water treatment workers to clerical staff, IT staff, building inspectors, traffic technicians and engineers. The workers’ last collective agreement expired in March 2008.
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For more information, contact:
Krista Cowan, President, CUPE Local 907: 613-921 2040
Mike Decastris, Chair of the strike committee: 613-921-8889
Luc Tittley, CUPE Communications: 416-910-2389