Members of Local 191 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are set to strike on Monday, January 28.
Members voted against a final city contract offer last week. “Our members are extremely frustrated,” said CUPE representative Jerry Lava. “They have been without a contract for over two years and have had no wage increases during that time even though the cost-of-living has risen 5.5 per cent since their last raise.
“We asked for a mediator and one was available for January 21, but council turned down our request. I have told the city that we are able and willing to go back to the table and work out a fair deal so that the community will not lose the services we provide, but so far, we’ve heard nothing.”
In case of a strike, service losses would include city hall, sewer and water, snow removal, garbage collection, sewage treatment, Ontario Works, recreation centres, cemetery, and day care.
Pickets will be set up at all facilities where CUPE 191 members work, including Kenora and Keewatin recreation centres and King George School day care centre.
“One of our concerns is that the recreation centres and the arena will be closed,” Lava said. “That means the planned hockey tournaments and swim meets will be cancelled, affecting not only the players and their families, but also the economy of Kenora. Out-of-towners will not bring the traditional influx of cash to the economy.”
In the 17 years that Lava has been a CUPE representative in Kenora, there has never been a strike.
“Our members believe that city council is not listening to their concerns and is willing to sacrifice community services rather than ensuring our members make up the money they have lost in the past two years.”
No talks have been scheduled at this time.
For further information, contact:
Jerry Lava Wendy Forbes
CUPE National Representative CUPE Communications Representative