BURNABY—CUPE National president Paul Moist and CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill had the same message today as they visited picket lines and met with hundreds of striking civic workers in Vancouver and North Vancouver: stay the course and stick together, because your cause is just and a fair deal is on the way.
“I’m a municipal worker too, and I know that our work is what makes cities like Vancouver and North Vancouver great places to live,” said Moist, who accompanied O’Neill on a one-day tour of striking municipal locals.
“The public appreciates our work, so the pressure is on the employer to get back to the bargaining table.”
The day began with a stop at the Vancouver Public Library’s Mount Pleasant branch, where members of CUPE 391 were holding a study session. Following a media scrum there, the two leaders headed to City Hall and spoke with members of CUPE 15, then drove to North Vancouver where they met with members of CUPE 389 at the District hall and the North Vancouver Works yard.
Throughout the day, the two CUPE leaders heard from members about the important issues on the bargaining table. Workers in Vancouver expressed frustration at the attitude of Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan.
“It’s really the height of arrogance, and quite shocking, that Sullivan appears to be dismissing the importance of getting a resolution,” O’Neill said, commenting on media reports that the mayor doesn’t see resolving this dispute as a priority.
During the library visit, Moist noted that CUPE has led the fight for pay equity throughout the country and has won the battle repeatedly.
In North Vancouver, as at the other locations, Moist and O’Neill congratulated members for their solidarity and strength in taking a principled stand to get fair collective agreements.